1970s and 1980s Kroger store layouts

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Andrew T.
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1970s and 1980s Kroger store layouts

Post by Andrew T. »

Kroger, I've noticed, tended to follow a pretty standard interior layout for its superstores in the 1970s. Practically every store of this vintage I've seen was arranged in this fashion, more or less:

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In the greenhouse era of construction, they essentially flipped the layout around left-to-right and (usually) made the stores bigger.

Here's a drawing of what the arrangement of the Princeton, WV store (#316) was like before it was renovated upside-down in 1999. (I'm not entirely sure which aisle was which, but I definitely remember that there were 18 of them.) How representative was this layout of greenhouses as a whole?

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krogerclerk
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Post by krogerclerk »

Your layout is more typical of the 1980-1983 version of the greenhouse with a pharmacy. The greenhouse came in many sizes including at two smaller sizes, 31000 s.f and 35000 s.f. without the pharmacy and less general merchandise, basically a greenhouse version of the superstore. This seems to be 42000 s.f. version, the most common in the early 80's. It differs from a now closed greenhouse here in that the frozen food was down the middle, where you have books/magazines and there was a seafood counter where the luncheon meat is shown and full service meat counter near the middle of the meat. A cheese shop was in the corner in front of the deli and bakery and a cosmetics/fragrance counter was located across the main perimeter corridor from the pharmacy. A natural foods department was latter added between the floral shop and back perimeter. Some versions had an instore bank with less space for the pharmacy and restaurant. Also, some locations had a video rental in tandem witht the fragrance counter. The left-to-right and right-to-left configurations were used in both greenhouse stores and superstores and seems to be an accommodation to the plaza or strip layout. Larger versions existed and later greenhouses had several modifications. The greenhouse structure grew wider with the support structure having a flush slope with the greenhouse rather than the pylon style structure. Earlier greenhouse stores were either white or beige and constructed of busted block while most later greenhouse strore were brick, usually red, but occasionally beige. Beige seems to be the primary color on locations bannered Kroger Sav-on rather than Kroger.
rich
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Post by rich »

There's another greenhouse layout that, oddly, has a solid wall separating produce from the rest of the store. The wall ends near the back of the store to traffic allow circulation and stops short of the front but effectively separates produce from everything else. I've only seen it in a few stores--the one on Ponce de Leon in Atlanta and another just outside of Toldeo on Airport Highway. The latter is from the mid-80s; the one on Ponce probably is from that era, too, it has space that probably had been a "Barney's Cafe". Given the inflexibility of this design and that produce has long been a Kroger weakness, this seemed like an odd design.

I seem to recall a variety of configurations for greenhouses. Some had produce and the cheese shop on the Left as you entered, some on the Right. Sometimes the produce was in front, sometmes toward the back. The superstores also did this--sometimes the deli was in front, sometimes in back. The restaurants were rather shortlived and only some stores had them as original installations---they seemed to mostly go into freestanding locations, esp. if there wasn't much fast food around them.
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Andrew T.
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Post by Andrew T. »

rich wrote:There's another greenhouse layout that, oddly, has a solid wall separating produce from the rest of the store. The wall ends near the back of the store to traffic allow circulation and stops short of the front but effectively separates produce from everything else. I've only seen it in a few stores--the one on Ponce de Leon in Atlanta and another just outside of Toldeo on Airport Highway. The latter is from the mid-80s; the one on Ponce probably is from that era, too, it has space that probably had been a "Barney's Cafe". Given the inflexibility of this design and that produce has long been a Kroger weakness, this seemed like an odd design.
Do you believe these layouts were original with the stores?

This sounds similar to the layout of the Princeton, WV store after its 1999 renovation: They built an addition (with unfinished ceiling) onto the right side of the store, and moved the produce department, deli, and bakery there. Part of the original wall was retained within the store, and effectively separates the produce department from what are now the bread and beverage aisles.

In any case, it's interesting to hear about the diversity of greenhouse interior layouts: It's almost as if no two were quite alike. The restaurant idea did seem to be a fizzle: I don't recall ever seeing anyone other than an isolated employee or two eat there!
rich
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Post by rich »

The Airport Hwy store was built new as a greenhouse (I used to pass it daily when I was doing a research project in Toledo) and has a 20 year old interior decor with the "colorful" graphics of that era. The Ponce store appeared to have been built as a greenhouse, altho somewhere on this site it is attributed to being an old Big Star (actually the A&P down the street, which was demolished and replaced by a Publix was the Big Star on Ponce). Until a recent major renovation, the Ponce store also had an original interior with the cheap looking wallpaper from that era. Kroger was loathe to do much with stores other than replace them until maybe 10 years ago. They did enlarge a few stores in the early super store era and made over a few super stores in the greenhouse era, but Kroger's previous strategy, over many decades, was to simply build new even if it was next door and their old store stood empty for years.
Kroger472
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Re: 1970s and 1980s Kroger store layouts

Post by Kroger472 »

Even though this thread is old I think it bears mentioning that there was one other design of superstore. The one I worked in a few years back had the carts and produce straight ahead, the service desk to your left as you entered (with the manager's office above it). Also the bread was right next to dairy and the Deli/bakery was on the opposite wall and Ice Cream was right next to the managers office. With an open area between that and the registers. It was also 10 aisles and 5 registers. Also you came in from the left.
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