King's Supermarkets in Georgia

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krogerclerk
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Posts: 274
Joined: 05 Nov 2005 01:47
Location: Northwest Georgia

King's Supermarkets in Georgia

Post by krogerclerk » 24 Jan 2007 21:31

I've been looking for info on the web regarding the King's supermarket chain that was absorbed by Winn-Dixie in 1956. The history section of WD's website doesn't contain any information about the geography and size of the chain. Winn-Dixie had acquired Hill's stores in Alabama around the same time. Hill's was basically the genesis of WD's presence in Alabama and was related to the H.G. Hills chain in Nashville. Also Ketner-Milner in North Carolina was acquired, and the founders went on to start FoodTown, now known as Food Lion. Dixie Home Stores in the Carolinas was acquired and the corporate identity was changed from Winn and Lovett to Winn-Dixie. It's safe to assume King's was a smaller operation, like Ketner-Milner was. The picture of the former King's/Kwik Chek/Winn-Dixie in Columbus is the first geographic clue I have as to their presence. They were evidently well established in Columbus, as the area is the largest remaining Winn-Dixie market in Georgia.

A Google search yielded only one Georgia match, oddly in Northwest Georgia, Dalton. A King's is pictured in the Vanishing Georgia section for Dalton and dated 1951, five years prior to WD's acquisition. No information is given as to whether this is the chain or a local independent and the store itself is small and non-descript. However, the logo on the side is King's written in ball similar to the Winn-Dixie/Kwik Chek ball. The location is given as East Morris Street which would have been US 76 at the time. The Winn-Dixie banner first appeared in Dalton in 1961 with the opening of Bry-Man's Plaza. The North Georgia stores were operated as part of the Greenville division until the Atlanta division was organized in the early 70's and the Columbus and much of Southwest Georgia was and still is part of the Montgomery division. Most metro Atlanta stores were divided between Greenville and Montgomery until the Atlanta division was established, east and northern suburbs being Greenville and west and southern suburbs being Montgomery.

I was always under the impression that Winn-Dixie's presence in Atlanta was from expansion of the Winn-Dixie chain into the market, and was one of the reasons the chain was a market laggard until the late 70's. But King's could have been a minor player or present in the hinterlands, which have since succumbed to the metro's sprawl. Douglasville and Newnan had an early Winn-Dixie presence in the Atlanta region and the proximity to Columbus would make this a reasonable market for King's, and if King's reached as far north as Dalton, then the region would have been a connective territory.

Vanishing Georgia is part of the Galileo network of the University System in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Archives. Supermarket pictures seem to be few in number, put Colonial and A&P pictures are archived in the system as well as some old Belk's and old gas stations.
A lot of 1930's-1960's retail can be found in the site and provide clues to any retail archeologists among the forums.

Swifty
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Location: Charleston, SC

Post by Swifty » 25 Jan 2007 11:18

The vanishing Georgia site is great. Thanks.

I've mentioned this before, but I think at least part of the reason W/D didn't exit Columbus is because it, Publix, and to a much lesser extent, Piggly Wiggly are the *only* viable grocers left in town. No Bi-Lo, Kroger, Ingles, or Food Lion. Publix & W/D pretty much have a lock on the more affluent areas, whereas Piggly Wiggly is in the less-affluent areas. The more well-established Winn Dixie wasn't about to cede the entire Columbus market to relative newcomer Publix.

(Side note: Wal Mart is building 3 Supercenteres in Columbus - the first of which opened around the first of the year. This is certain to have an impact on the Columbus grocery market in the years to come. But that's a rant for another day.)

Here's a page I found on Hill's while I was researching Kwik Chek's relation to Winn Dixie. It has some interesting photos and old logos:
http://www.birminghamrewound.com/hills.htm

I still haven't found much else on King Stores. Thanks for the tip about the Dalton store.

krogerclerk
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Posts: 274
Joined: 05 Nov 2005 01:47
Location: Northwest Georgia

Post by krogerclerk » 27 Jan 2007 20:41

Thanks for the link, the Hills section and the old Bruno's logo was interesting.
Again, I'm not sure that this King's was part of the chain that Winn-Dixie bought or a local independent. I'll be asking older relatives and friends about this store as well as checking out microfiched copies of the local papers for more background. There was a local independent, King's Food King, that was about a 1/2 mile away and survived until the late 60's based on local phone directories. The logo of the King's supermarket and the lack of a cola bottler supplied sign indicates this may have been part of the chain as apposed to the King's Food King that was part of a cooperative to which two other area independents once belonged. I haven't found any 1950's directories that may
confirm or deny any relation between this King's and the one in Columbus.

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