Trading Stamp Memories

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Trading Stamp Memories

Post by jamcool » 23 May 2006 15:48

Any rememberances on trading stamps? And the grocery chains that preferred one stamp co. over another?

S&H was everywhere, there was also Gold Bond, Blue Chip, and 100s of others. S&H and Gold Bond are now Greenpoints and Gold Points, and Blue Chip became a part of Warren Buffett's Berkshire empire.

I have a few questions about trading stamps. Was Gold Bond nationwide like S&H? I don't remember seeing Gold Bond signs in Calif. And was Blue Chip exclusively California? I remember they were offered very briefly in AZ, but were available all over Cali.

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Post by runchadrun » 23 May 2006 16:05

In the mid to late 80s my mom was a sales rep for a company that used Blue Chip Stamps as incentives. They weren't actual stamps, but certificates worth a certain numbers of stamps I think in denominations of 100. She worked for a nationwide company and I think the promotion was for all of their sales reps nationwide.

IIRC, we went to a Blue Chip Stamp store in Montebello, CA (we lived in San Gabriel). As an even younger kid when we got the stamps at the grocery store (Boys Market) we redeemed them at a store in Santa Monica on Lincoln Blvd and the place is now a shoe store.

Interestingly, Blue Chip has turned into a cash cow for Berkshire Hathaway because of its ownership of See's Candy.

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Post by terryinokc » 23 May 2006 17:12

One of my hobbies is collecting old trading stamps. I have probably got about 200 or so different books of them.

Gold Bond's headquarters was in Minnesota, Minneapolis I believe, and they seem to have been pretty well known all the way east of there. We had them here in Oklahoma----and I remember Colonial Stores in Georgia gave them in the 1970's.

The other stamp companies that seemed to be the most popular were:
S&H Green Stamps
Top Value
Blue Chip
Holden's Red Stamps
Gift House
Magic Stamps

There were many others---many of them regional or local varities.

Here in Oklahoma---S&H and Top Value were the most popular, with Gold Bond a distant third. We also had Gunn Brothers (given by Safeway--these were out of Amarillo, TX), and Prudential, which was a local stamp company--these were given mostly at independent grocers.

Top Value Stamps were owned at least partially by Kroger---I came across an old checker trainee manual from when I worked for Kroger in the 70's---and it had instructions in it about how to give out Top Value to your customers.

A&P had some tie-in with Plaid--not sure if Plaid was owned by them or not. All the Plaid stamps books I have ever seen had A&P ads inside of them.

It's been kind of an interesting can pick them up for next to nothing at estate sales and flea markets......and there is a lot of supermarket advertising on the backs and insides of the books.

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Post by jbarn02 » 23 May 2006 21:47

Greenbax stamps are still around they are a division of PigglyWiggly Carolina Co. PWCC just went from having the paper stamps to strictly electronic greenbax you can get with a PFC card.

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Post by rich » 23 May 2006 22:00

Top Value originally was owned by a consortium of chains--Kroger, Stop & Shop (Boston), Giant (Landover), and Penn Fruit, there may have been others. Kroger was the last to drop stamps and gradually had bought the other shares, as its partners dropped the stamps. They spun off the business after dropping stamps themselves in the late-70s. It was eventually was bought by Sperry & Hutchinson (S&H's parent) in the early 1980s. Winn-Dixie was the last major chain to give Top Value Stamps. Publix was the last major chain to give S&H Green Stamps, back in the mid-80s. Independents and small chains, mostly in the SE or New England continued to give S&H stamps after that. Thorofare gave thgem before going out of business.

Plaid Stamps was part of E.F. MacDonald of Dayton. Top Value bought them out in the 70s, before being bought by S&H.

S&H itself was bought by Baldwin-United in the mid-to-late80s, the insurance company that started as Baldwin piano. S&H had a huge investment portfolio, which was the main attraction---investment was necessary to make sure you had gifts to exchange when people cashed in their stamps. S&H once owned a large bank in Connecticut (they had to sell it because of banking laws), as well as a number of small department store chains. Baldwin-United went spectacularly bankrupt shortly after the acquisition. Sperry & Hutchinson retuned as a publcly tade company but was eventually taken private by a descendent of the Sperry family, who started the "Green Points".

Gold Bond is part of Carlsson (Raddison Hotels, et al).

Eagle Stamps (given by Pick-n-Pay and briefly, by A&P in Cleveland and National in St. Louis), was part of May Company. For a brief period, May also gave them out in their Colorado Springs and Youngstown stores.

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Post by todd » 24 May 2006 02:00

I remember my grandmother putting out a bolw of water and all the GreenStamps at the kitchen table to put them in the books. It was a big deal. Then we'd go to the Green Stamp store to buy something. Also, I was "forbidden" to go inside (always had to stay in the car) b/c I'd broken something in the store once.

Years later, I worked at Winn Dixie and we had these machines that looked like old rotary telephones. We'd "dial" out the right amount of stamps for customers. People would argue over stamps..... they took them seriously. I was there when W/D stopped giving them away.... oh, almost had some riots cause people were trying to get a crock pot or something!

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Post by Dave » 24 May 2006 06:58

The S&H redemption store we used to go to as a kid is a free-standing building that's still in existence as some sort of office. It's directly across the street from the first Best Products showroom and original corporate headquarters, next to a shopping center that had a Colonial Store and a Miracle Mart. Maybe the whole immediate area should be declared some sort of retail historic district. They could restore everything to it's 1963 glory like Colonial Williamsburg. :)

There was also a Top Value redemption store located in a former Colonial Store on W. Grace Street in the Fan District that later became a couple of beer joints (Scotland Yard and Newgate Prison - cute) before becoming the HQ of the VCU Police.

I remember those rotary stamp dispensers hanging out by the pumps at service stations.

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Post by Steve Landry » 24 May 2006 10:57

Merchants Green Stamps - Food Fair - nationally, though some divisions had S&H
The Food Fair Empire

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Post by wayne winterland jr. » 25 May 2006 18:18

Alpha Beta Markets used to issue both S & H Green Stamps and also at another time they issued what I think was called Frontier Stamps.


Post by shopnbag » 04 Jul 2006 17:59

I was delighted when Lowe's Foods (NC) started offering Greenpoints then we moved and I no longer live near a Lowe's. Drat!

In Fresno, I remember that the S&H Green Stamps redemption store was at Shields and Maroa. I think it is now an electrical supply store. I remember when my mom saved up enough stamps to get a croquet set in the mid 70s. I think she still has it!


Post by Badgerinmaine » 30 Sep 2006 00:09

I remember getting Top Value Stamps as a little boy at the Kroger in Madison, Wisconsin on Midvale Boulevard. They were yellow with red ink. They had signs at that store to mark the different sections of their parking lot, and one section was marked with "Toppy", the Top Value Elephant. Hadn't thought of THAT in a while! Kroger left there ot long after that, and the store later became a Food Country IGA and now is largely a local pharmacy.

The otehr thing I remember was that Wisconsin was one of a handful of states where you could not cash in the trading stamps for prizes--only for cash. I remember helping my mom put the Green Stamps in the booklets and feeling jealous of the states where those could have meant merchandise!

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Stamps in the Bay Area

Post by J-Man » 30 Sep 2006 01:04

I grew up in the East Bay in the 50s and 60s and only remember Blue Chip and S&H, with Blue Chip being more prevalent. I also remember that everyone considered it a shocking move when Lucky was the first of the major chains to stop giving stamps, as part of their changeover to the "Everyday Low Price" format in the mid-60s.

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Post by Daniel » 30 Sep 2006 03:41

That Stamp redemption center at Shields & Maroa was originally a Safeway. It was an electrical supply shop for several years, then a thrift shop, and it's currently a church.

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Trading Stamp Memories

Post by buckhead » 12 Feb 2007 15:46

From the early 60s through the 1991 I lived in Georgia and Florida, and had reason to travel to surrounding states. The trading stamps that I encountered most were S&H (Green), Gold Bond, Top Value, Holden S Red, Plaid. King Korn, Quality, Greenbax,Gold Strike, and King Korn.

In the heyday of trading stamps (through the late 60s) and later, the distribution pattern I was aware of was as follows:

1. Colonial Stores in Atlanta, Middle, and North Georgia gave Gold Bond Stamps. I believe distribution stopped by the mid 70s as they converted their stores to a "no-gimmicks, no stamps, no games" discount concept, Big Star (a name they had resurrected from the 30s and 40s). I am not sure, but I believe the Colonial Stores in the Carolinas and Virginia also gave Gold Bond or S&H Green Stamps at least in some of the stores operating under that name. Sometime in the 70s Gold Bond Stamps were withdrawn from the (Atlanta) stores that had still retained the Colonial name as well. In the late 70s, the company created a new higher-end store under a variant of the Colonial name, but did not resume issuance of stamps. Stores that Colonial operated in Jacksonville, Florida (and maybe the Orlando stores) under the Big Star name were an exception to the "no stamps" rule for that chain. In those stores they issued S&H Green Stamps. I believe that since they held the franchise rights for them in that territory, Publix was precluded from issuing them there.

2. Kroger Stores (Atlanta Division) which covered Atlanta and outlying areas gave Top Value Stamps until the around summer of 1976, when they stopped issuing them in a promotion called "The Last STAMPede" which also coincided with the opening of many new superstores.

3. Winn-Dixie (Atlanta Division) which covered Atlanta, most of North Georgia, parts of West Georgia, and some areas south of Atlanta until the mid/late 60s, gave Top Value Stamps. One exception to this that I am aware of would be the stores in Athens, which although part of the Atlanta Division, gave S&H Green Stamps. The store in Elberton also gave S&H, but I'm not sure if it was part of that division or was served by the Greenville (Division) operation. Originally, the Athens stores were part of the Dixie Home Stores chain out of Greenville which gave S&H, prior to the merger with Winn Lovett to form Winn-Dixie. I believe they retained S&H in those and some other stores even after division realignments shifted some stores into the Atlanta Division. Winn-Dixie stores in western North Carolina, South Carolina, and parts of extreme Northeast Georgia (e.g., Dillard) generally gave S&H at that time. The stores I cite belonged to division bases in North Carolina and/or South Carolina. Most Winn-Dixie stores in Florida, South Alabama, and the New Orleans area gave Top Value Stamps. AFAIK, those areas quit giving stamps prior to June 1979 and maybe much earlier. A side note, the Atlanta Division (including the Athens stores) REINTRODUCED Top Value Stamps in 1977 or 1978 and continued isssuing them for several years.

3. Big Apple Markets in Atlanta, North, and Middle Georgia gave S&H Green Stamps, except for the Middle Georgia stores near Macon (and maybe elsewhere) which offered King Korn Stamps. Stamp issuance ceased with the conversion of stores to the Food Giant discount concept in the 70s. The few Big Apple locations that had not converted to Food Giant stopped issuing stamps sometime in the 70s. When Alterman Foods resurrected the Big Apple name for its food warehouse concept stores, they did not use trading stamps.

3. Piggly Wiggly Southern Stores (out of Vidalia, Georgia) had a fairly extensive network of stores in South and Middle Georgia and later expanded into North Georgia. They offered S&H Green Stamps. I believe they dropped them in the mid to late 80s, maybe later. Piggly Wiggly Carolinas stores offered Greenbax Stamps (which they owned) in Coastal Georgia, South Carolina, and other markets they served. Today they offer an electronic version of their premium system rather than paper stamps. Around 1989-1991, Malone and Hyde, successor to several grocery stores in Central Florida (mostly Orlando) which had operated as part of Central Florida Supermarkets (I believe), rebranded them as Piggly Wiggly and introduced Quality Stamps. A decade or so before, some of those very same store locations, then operating under the name Fairway Markets had also issued Quality Stamps, but ceased to issue them by the early 80s. At this time I believe, but am not sure, the some of the Boogaarts stores in the same area may have issued (Quality) stamps. I do not know if and/or when these stores continued to operate or issue stamps past 1991.

5. Most Red and White Markets, in Middle (and to a lesser degree North) Georgia, South Georgia, and South Carolina offered Top Value Stamps. I'm not sure if they all stopped issuing stamps at the same time, but for the most part stamps appear to have been gone by the late 70s or maybe the early 80s.

6. Ingle's in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia at first gave Top Value Stamps. I believe they stopped issuing them in the mid 70s. At least SOME stores started issuing stamps again, but this time S&H Green Stamps, in most if not all stores, and may have continued into the 80s.

7. A&P stores in Atlanta and most of Georgia never appear to have issued stamps. Florida stores (and maybe those in Alabama and over toward New Orleans) issued Plaid Stamps. I think this stopped in the early 70s. I also believe the Upstate South Carolina stores in areas such as Abbeville may have issued Plaid Stamps at one time. I am not totally sure about anything other than the stamp situation in Georgia and Florida for A&P.

8. Big Star (out of Memphis and NOT associated with Colonial/Big Star of Atlanta) issued Quality Stamps. As recently as 1996 I was in a Big Star location in West Helena, Arkansas that still issued stamps, but I cannot speak for the issuing history or policy of the chain. It would seem logical that since the chain belonged to Malone and Hyde at the time that stamps probably were is use for quite some time.

9. When I left Florida in 1991, Publix was still issuing S&H Green Stamps. I am not sure what year they introduced them, but I believe it was in the 50s. They continued to issue them continuously until their withdrawal sometime in the 90s I believe. Once Big Star withdrew from Jacksonville or at least stopped issuing stamps there, I think Publix introduced them there as well. When Publix ceased issuing stamps, I am not sure if it was system-wide or by region. In any event, when Publix made its march outside the confines of the the State of Florida (in the early 90s), trading stamps were NOT introduced in any of the stores, at least not in Georgia.

10. Some Thriftown and Big Buy grocery stores in Georgia offered Holden S Red Stamps in the 60s and 70s. Holden S Red were also offered by a number of independent grocers and other merchants in Walton and other counties. Redemption was available at Gold Bond Stamps redemption centers.

11. I recall seeing some stores around the West Point, Georgia and Lanett, Alabama areas that offered Gold Strike Stamps back in the mid-70s. I think the stores were called Gold Bear or someo ther name incorporating the word "Bear". These same stamps were also spotted at a service station in Monroe, Georgia.

12. Added to the above mentioned issuers would be all the service stations, dry cleaners, pest control companies, car rental agencies (such as National), etc. that issued stamps up into the 70s (and even the 80s) in my area.

Sorry for this being so long-winded, but I'm trying to get it all down before the memory grows dimmer. I hope it proves of interest or use to someone.
Last edited by buckhead on 13 Feb 2007 16:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by rich » 12 Feb 2007 21:54

Winn-Dixie used a "discount" format in Atlanta from the end of the 60s until the late 70s and did not give trading stamps. They used S&H Green Stamps in most of the Carolinas, but switched in the 70s to Top Value. They used Top Value Stamps in Miami & Tampa, but used S&H in some markets.

Colonial gave S&H Green Stamps in Virginia, and also in their "Midwest Division" (Columbus, Cincinnati & nearby county seat towns).

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