Your Favorite Classic Exteriors Going Away?

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Your Favorite Classic Exteriors Going Away?

Post by StoreLiker2006 »

I am one of those people who are caught off guard by the lack of stores that still have their original exteriors intact, or, those that still are around in their original locations after at least 25 years. How do you guys feel about your favorite store location losing its classic (pre-1980) touch?

Most stores that have continuously been operating at one or more locations for at least 25 years have had their original buildings partly changed (especially the fronts) or completely demolished just so a new and larger building will be put in the same spot as before. Safeway is one example of this kind of problem, especially now. Take a look at this list:
1. 3940 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR - built 1941, demolished 1973. New building 1974, demolished early 2000. 2nd new building late 2000 (3930 SE Powell Blvd), very tall and boasting a parking garage.
2. 95 82nd Dr, Gladstone, OR - original building 1976, demolished circa 2003 and new building up 2004. Only thing left here is the replacement road sign dating from circa 1988.
3. 5920 NE Martin Luther King Blvd (formerly Union Ave), Portland, OR - original Marina Prototype building from 1965, demolished 1988. Re-opened as a Safeway Marketplace in 1989, but exterior changed again in 2000.
4. 10554 SE Main St, Milwaukie, OR (closed 1996, demolished 2003) - original shoebox/pylon building from 1951, demolished 1966. Rearchitectured as a Marina Prototype store in 1967. Safeway chose to move this location to 15099 SE McLoughlin Blvd in Oak Grove, the site of a former Food 4 Less, in July 1996; thereby its time in downtown Milwaukie, where it had served that part of town for then over 60 years total, was running out.
5. 3527 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR - original building (a Super Store, presumably) 1977, heavily changed circa 2000. I don't see anything left of its 1970s past; however, I did see bits of its 1980s signage updates when I was younger (in 1989, when the original building was still intact).

Fred Meyer is another example of stores not surviving with their 1970s and early '80s exteriors (last I know from someone here is that there is still one store in Kirkland, WA that retains its 1980 exterior, but, w/o a picture of that, I won't know for sure). Many have been changed drastically so any cosmetic parts of it from the '60s, '70s and/or '80s are erased (including the classic pre-1987 Fred Meyer logo in a futuristic-looking font; which is considered way, way, way ahead of its time when initially introduced in 1949-50), just so the stores can stay fresh and profitable with each new decade.

Albertson's is yet another great loss here: In the years since introducing their present logo in 1976 (featuring a stylized "A" and done up in several shades of blue), stores had been upgraded with the then-current signage (other smaller locations were closed, especially those considered to be like convenience stores), whether that's by putting a new facade on a '50s-'60s arched-roof store, or simply taking away the older white-on-blue letter blocks (Thriftway of Portland, OR had a similar letter blocks motif on their storefronts, and sometimes also on the sides, from about the early 1960s to 1992). However, even the 1976-91 era stores are threatened.

Super S
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Re: Your Favorite Classic Exteriors Going Away?

Post by Super S »

From what i have seen, Fred Meyer doesn't change a whole lot on the outside when they remodel.

I know of one late 70s Fred Meyer that was recently remodeled, the store at Mill Plain and I-205 in Vancouver. While the store did receive new paint and signs were updated to the current Fred Meyer logo, very little else was changed on the exterior of the store. The interior, however, was totally gutted and redone.

As for the Longview Fred Meyer, which opened in the mid-70s, it received a major remodel and expansion in the early 2000s. While the appearance is different, the general layout is the same, and a lot of the exterior metal siding is original, although it is no longer red as it was originally.

There are still a number of other Fred Meyer stores, many of the late 70s-early 80s vintage, around the Portland area that have been remodeled, however, the exterior has not changed very much except for maybe new paint and signs.
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Re: Your Favorite Classic Exteriors Going Away?

Post by tesg »

Fred Meyer had a lot of great signage and some interesting property layouts, but what really makes them interesting was their lack of standardization, and how they seemed willing to build or maintain a wide range of property sizes and accommodate store layouts...sometimes in separate suit.

In one way or another, most of their pre-1980 properties were unique.

From an efficiency standpoint (particularly from a labor intensive point of view), one can understand why they got away from that. But the more I learn about retail history today, the more I realize just how cool those old Fred Meyers really were.
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