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Was the A&P capsule logo really used before 1976?

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 20:43
by Andrew T.
When doing some microfilm research a handful of years ago, I discovered that A&P's "modern" capsule logo first appeared in local advertising copy in February 1976. Someone then offered up this claim...
MikeRa wrote:A&P was already using the new logo in New York and New Jersey as early as 1975
In another thread, I made a passing comment to a "circa-1976" A&P signframe. It didn't take long for someone to say...
Ephrata1966 wrote:That logo is actually from 1973, when WEO stores were either closed or converted back to A&P.
So, I'll pose the question: Is there any proof that the capsule-shaped A&P logo was used prior to 1976?

It isn't impossible for an outdated logo to linger in print after being replaced elsewhere. As a case in point, the local Pick 'n Save chain in Wisconsin redesigned its logo in 2013. I saw it on a store in Milwaukee in 2014...yet the print circulars and coupon books in Madison persisted with the old logo for a year after that.

But if any evidence of a pre-1976 debut for the A&P capsule exists...I haven't seen it yet.

Looking through the annals of Newspaper Archive didn't turn up any contrary observations: The exact week of introduction for the new logo varied by market and by paper, but nowhere did it appear in print prior to February 1, 1976.

The new logo appears prominently on the pages of the 1975 A&P annual report, along with photos of the logo in use on stores...but the report wouldn't have been published until well into the following year.

Store-brand packaging is also a dead lead; at least from the meager evidence I've seen. The old circle logo persisted on packaging into the UPC era, and it may not have been until after 1976 that every trace of it had been banished from the labels.

(In addition, A&P's WEO promotion lasted until 1975, not 1973, so not even the disappearance of that preceded 1976 by very long.)

Re: Was the A&P capsule logo really used before 1976?

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 08:29
by rich
The "new logo" debuted when they started opening post-centennial stores in 1974. Those stores were much larger than the centennials (30K-ish if I recall correctly) and had service departments, which beyond very small efforts like BBQ chicken they hadn't had before. I believe that the the predecessor promotion to WEO was "Price & Pride" (2 middle aged guys in A&P smock/aprons) which was an attempt at rebranding A&P, which at that point, was known for high prices and very erratic stores. Actually, 40 years later, they also were known for high prices and very erratic stores.

Re: Was the A&P capsule logo really used before 1976?

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 09:38
by Steve Landry
I can tell you that the old A&P logo was the only logo in the greater NYC area as of July 1968 (when I moved to Miami).


Re: Was the A&P capsule logo really used before 1976?

Posted: 24 Dec 2016 12:54
by Andrew T.
rich wrote:The "new logo" debuted when they started opening post-centennial stores in 1974.
Is there any proof of that timing? A press release, a dated photo, a newspaper page?

The way I see things, there was probably a gap of 2-3 years after the centennial store design was retired for new construction, and before the new logo appeared. There is a photo of a 1975 post-centennial here with the old circular logo on the facade. There's a similar photo at a 1974 store opening here.

I'd search Newspaper Archive for photos of more 1970s store openings if I could. Unfortunately, "A&P" is impossible to search for by name, and the chain was very stingy about putting pictures in its grand-opening ads.

I did find a factual lead from a straightforward source: A&P's own trademark record. The USPTO lists a first use in commerce for the capsule logo of August 20, 1975, and the trademark was filed on August 28, 1975.

The most likely conclusion I can reach is this: The capsule logo was devised and started appearing on a limited basis on some new stores in 1975 (not 1973, 1974, or 1976). After being piloted for six months, the logo then began to be rolled out chainwide in early 1976. This jibes the most with MikeRa's explanation.

Re: Was the A&P capsule logo really used before 1976?

Posted: 25 Dec 2016 11:33
by rich
Google newspapers should be able to get you some grand openings and old ads. The post-Centennial stores were rolled out in '74. Some were pairings with K-Marts, while others were standalones or in small shopping centers--usually with mansard roofs, which were the norm for supers of that time and the new logo fit on a mansard much better than the old circle logo or the italic-like script "A&P" that was used on Centennials and on most outdoor signage during the Centennial era. Some divisions even used the outdoor sign logo rather than the A&P in a circle as the print ad logo, even before the it got institutionalized with the A-Mart/A&P combo logo.

Re: Was the A&P capsule logo really used before 1976?

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 15:46
by Ephrata1966
I'm pretty sure the A&P in Lindenwold, NJ opened in 1975 with the capsule logo. This A&P had a bakery and deli which were both remarkable at the time. It's a shame A&P didn't build more stores in Greater Philadelphia with this prototype. There were dozens of beautiful Centennial A&Ps built in the Philly area in the 1960s, but starting in the early 1970s, Acme/Super Saver, Pantry Pride, and Pathmark all were busily opening new stores and modernizing old stores, while A&P became complacent. I do know of one example of an A&P Centennial store being demolished and replaced by a 70's-style A&P with the capsule logo (I'm thinking of New Castle, DE). Why they demolished and rebuilt on the same site (even though relocation was a perfectly reasonable option) I have no idea.