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A&P photo found on flickr, Worthington, OH

Posted: 09 Dec 2007 13:50
by drpep

Posted: 09 Dec 2007 18:36
by krogerclerk
I suspect the structure was built later than 1959, the date stated in some of the captions by the account holder due to the larger size of the building and greater use of structural steel than was typical in 1959. I suspect the building was built closer to 1969. The drop ceiling was used later, many early centennial, and retrofits, often had a pressed tin ceiling which was still common in the 1950's.

The odd thing is the building unintentionally conformed to Worthington's desire for a New England village appearance, if a somewhat more mid-century modern interpretation as opposed to a current attempts which often look too contrived. It was in need of cosmetic work, but otherwise appeared structurally sound.

Posted: 09 Dec 2007 21:58
by Toby Radloff
I was in Columbus a few weeks ago...seems like Jubilee closed not too long ago.

Posted: 10 Dec 2007 01:37
by rich
I don't recall tin ceilings in A&P centennials. Dating these stores is difficult because some of the late 50s stores A&P built were larger than many of the centennials. The largest A&P near where I grew-up opened a few years before the centennials went-up.

Posted: 10 Dec 2007 10:54
by Swifty
This appears to be a store that was expanded and retrofitted into a centennial. Centennials usually had an entrance on the front of the store. This one has the entrance on the side - which was common for pre-centennials. My guess is the expansion was the area to the right of the front display windows. The store being a retrofit would also explain the tin roof on the interior.

Posted: 10 Dec 2007 17:18
by rich
The placement of the entrance for centennials may have varied by region. In Cleveland, the entrance was usually on the far end of the front, as it was here. In Cleveland there often was a vestibule/breezeway for the exit (so that it wasseveral feet to the left of the entrance and often required a left turn in order to leave), which was a regional pattern that most chains in Cleveland used until the late 60s.

Posted: 10 Dec 2007 23:16
by krogerclerk
Judging from the photos of the demolition, there is no evidence of expansion in the bare cement floor that was exposed or overhead where the roofing beams are shown.

The Cherokee Plaza A&P in Brookhaven(Atlanta) was a rare centennial design with a pressed tin ceiling that made the store look dated despite the "Food Emporium" graphics from its last remodel. It was one of the Atlanta areas first centennials and not a retrofit to the format. It was razed shortly after the Harris-Teeter opened and a new A&P was built in Cherokee Plaza, which was originally co-anchored with Eckerd, who had crossed the street for a free-standing location next to Harris-Teeter. I believe this would have happened before you lived in the Atlanta area.

One thing noticible about A&P in the south, was that areas which had few to no centennials were among the first markets A&P abandoned-Florida had few centennials, Chattanooga had none. Most retrofits were way too obvious-FortPayne, AL had a false facad without the roof, Scottsboro, AL seemed out of proportion, with the centennial roof making the small store too tall in relation to its width and depth. Throughout the Midwest, A&P was generally an "also-ran" even in areas such as Chicago and Detroit were its store counts were usually higher than the higher volume regionals, Farmer Jack and Allied in Detroit and Jewel and Dominick's in Chicago. A&P trailed Big Bear, Kroger and Colonial/Alber's in Columbus, but managed to outsurvive Colonial due its own financial problems. A&P probably had little to differentiate itself from Kroger which had the advantage of being an Ohio company, other than the centennial store design.

Posted: 11 Dec 2007 12:25
by rich
A&P and Kroger were erratic operators in the Midwest. A&P tended to have an edge in meat and produce, but neither really could compete with well-run local chains in perishables. Both operated a combination of clean, well-run stores, as well as those that were not. In the centennial era, A&P moved away from locating in major shopping centers and wound up with second rate locations. Kroger seemed to do much the same, outside of markets where it had some dominance. Kroger started opening superstores a couple years ahead of A&P and had more resources for quickly rolling them out.

A&P had many troubles--they were behind the curve with every retailing trend from the mid-50s onward. Their stores became heavily stocked with store brand merchandise (to compensate for their often uncompetitive pricing) which made them inflexible in taking on new products. A&P's problems often were blamed on their large number of inner city locations. OTOH, they had been one of the first chains to go into sububs and shopping centers, but failed to update these operations in the 60s and 70s. They had little competition in many inner city areas and a loyal clientele, so they probably ran decent volumes, if not profits in those places.

Kroger has long been a defensive operator and made many of the same mistakes as A&P, plus some of its own (like selling prepackaged produce for many years). OTOH, they tended to be more competitive on price, got into trading stamps at a reasonable time, kept developing new locations (they tended to abandon rather than update old ones until very recently), and used their private label merchandise more strategically. They also had places like Toldeo where their main competition (Foodtown) stuck with small stores or Columbus where there was only one strong competitor (Big Bear).

Floundering chains like National could beat A&P and Kroger where they made significant investments (Chicago, St. Louis), but not where they ignored the competition (Indianapolis).