Former A & P in my area

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TenPoundHammer
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Former A & P in my area

Post by TenPoundHammer » 08 Feb 2007 09:23

Below is a picture of a vacant Carter's Foods (former A & P) in my town of Oscoda, MI. The store opened in the 1970s as an A & P, with Cunningham Drug (later Perry Drug, then Rite Aid, now vacant for 10+ years) next door. A & P closed when the A & P name disappeared from Michigan around 1992; most of the locations were converted to the existing Farmer Jack chain (also owned by A & P), and some were closed.

This location in my town was converted to "Big Valu" about a year after closing. It was Big Valu for about another year, before converting to Carter's (a now-defunct chain based in Charlotte, MI). Last summer, Carter's remaining locations were shuttered due to financial problems at the corporate level. I took this shot after the store was shuttered. I should point out that all of the non-perishable merchandise was STILL IN THE STORE for about two months afterward - in fact, I attended a "cleanout" sale in which the store sold off the remaining non-perishable merchandise and auctioned off fixtures.

I should also note that this is EXACTLY what the store looked like when it was an A & P. I have never seen another A & P that looked even remotely like this. Anyone know if this prototype existed elsewhere? What was it called?

http://s165.photobucket.com/albums/u68/ ... arters.jpg

EDIT: Arrrrgh! Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong with the image tag? It won't work!

rich
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Post by rich » 08 Feb 2007 09:54

The exterior with the mansard roof could have been just about any chain from the late 60s through the 70s. National, Jewel, Acme, and many others used this, so it would have been a common design. One of the first to use something like this was the Fazio's chain in Cleveland, which used a shingled mansard roof--although it usually wasn't across the full front of the store. The metal version like the one in the pic was more common. It's very possible that the store was built for someone else, but that A&P took on the lease. OTOH, A&P built very generic stores during the mid-to-late 70s. I don't remember the full mansard roof, but I do recall partial marsards (the Byrne Road store in Toledo was like this) and corrugated metal fronts above the sidewalk that were flat. Given that they didn't have anything as standard as the centennial, it could simply have been a one of several variations on their normal store. This was an era where they finally began building stores in the 30K range (rather than the 16-19k sf range; exc for a few chains like Kroger & Acme, their northern competitors had been building stores this size for quite awhile). The real prototyping would have been inside.

TenPoundHammer
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Post by TenPoundHammer » 08 Feb 2007 10:13

rich wrote:It's very possible that the store was built for someone else, but that A&P took on the lease.
I kind of doubt that, seeing as there pretty much weren't any other grocery chains within 50 miles except IGA and a dwindling supply of Krogers - we had an IGA downtown (now Dollar General), and this ex-A&P obviously was no Kroger.

One of my mom's friends told me that A & P actually started out in the empty brown-front store to the left (this is the former Cunningham's->Perry->Rite Aid), and that Cunningham's was originally one slot to the left (a former carpet store, later a health center, now vacant). If this arrangement were true, then there's the possibility that the now-vacant Carter's space was originally something else before it was A & P, but in a town with about 7000 people in the 1970s, what could have filled 20,000 square feet? A very tiny WT Grant perhaps?

By the way, the entire plaza is vacant. The health park moved five years ago, and Rite Aid closed 10 years ago when a new Rite Aid was built down the road. My town isn't exactly booming right now, so it'll take some creativity to re-fill the plaza.
rich wrote:The real prototyping would have been inside.
I'm trying to remember what it looked like when it was A & P; I seem to remember a LOT of green (a color scheme that did carry over to Big Valu and Carter's, although they did give it a new paint job). I also remember it getting remodeled about a year before it closed - and it closed in 1992, when I was 5, so I can't tell you much.

One other thing I forgot to mention. This store was purchased by Family Fare, which is owned by Grand Rapids, MI-based Spartan Foods. Spartan Foods also owns Glen's Market, whose Oscoda location is the only supermarket left in town. Hmm....

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Groceteria
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Post by Groceteria » 08 Feb 2007 12:56

TenPoundHammer wrote:I'm trying to remember what it looked like when it was A & P; I seem to remember a LOT of green (a color scheme that did carry over to Big Valu and Carter's, although they did give it a new paint job). I also remember it getting remodeled about a year before it closed - and it closed in 1992, when I was 5, so I can't tell you much.
The green, along with the closing date, suggest that it was converted to a Sav-a-Center prototype (even if they didn't use that name on the sign). As to the exterior, it may just have been a function of the shopping center design. A&P has always been more inclined to lease than to own. The whole thing could have even been built on spec.

TenPoundHammer
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Post by TenPoundHammer » 09 Feb 2007 01:25

Groceteria wrote:The green, along with the closing date, suggest that it was converted to a Sav-a-Center prototype (even if they didn't use that name on the sign). As to the exterior, it may just have been a function of the shopping center design. A&P has always been more inclined to lease than to own. The whole thing could have even been built on spec.
The rest of the shopping center has a plain, brown trim, and I seem to recall it being brown the whole time. I also seem to remember the front of the store being green even with the old red, yellow, and orange A & P sign (although I seem to recall the sign being green later on).

I'll probably check at the township hall sometime soon to see if they have any older photos.

Duane Boda

Oscoda - No Grants there.

Post by Duane Boda » 10 Jul 2007 17:24

Ok.....
Grants had stores in the following Northern Michigan towns.

A. Petoskey
B. Traverse City (their biggest store) now a Meijers
C. Ludington
D. Manistee
E. Big Rapids
F. Cadillac
This is how I recall the names of the towns listed as they showed their
commercials on local TV stations in the 1970's. They showed towns in a
vertical fashion (listing)
Its strange....the Petoskey store had lit globes and flags on the exterior of
their stores along with small stones (of all things) glued onto the outer wall.

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Andrew T.
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Re: Former A & P in my area

Post by Andrew T. » 02 Sep 2019 21:03

Yes, I know I'm necroposting on a 12-year-old thread. But I have a reason. Here's a picture of the A&P that's the subject of our thread (#541 in Oscoda, MI) from a 1991 Farmer Jack-A&P employee newsletter:
ap-oscoda.jpg
The store in question was going through a "grand re-opening" in 1991*, complete with ribbon-cutting ceremony. Perhaps the odd green sign was added then?

*Yes, this would have happened just one scant year before A&P closed the store, which makes it all the more bewildering.
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

rich
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Re: Former A & P in my area

Post by rich » 04 Sep 2019 10:12

Sometime after this, they bought and also built a bunch of stores in Toledo as Farmer Jack only to close them a short time later (maybe a year or two). No one said they were very good at running anything.

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