NEW: Rochester MN 1925-2020

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Great Pumpkin
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Location: North Carolina

NEW: Rochester MN 1925-2020

Post by Groceteria »

A quickie for your Thursday evening viewing pleasure: ... rochester/
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Andrew T.
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Location: Minnesota's attic, Canada

Re: NEW: Rochester MN 1925-2020

Post by Andrew T. »

It's been a few weeks since this was posted...but Minnesota feels like "my" turf since I almost moved there, and presently live 50 kilometres from let's take a dig and see if there are any worthy artifacts in the Land of the Mayo Clinic to spare!

Rochester went through substantial population growth in the 20th and 21st centuries...going from around 7000 people in 1900 to 10000 by 1920, 50000 by 1970, and 100000 by 2010. Coupled with the upper-midwest antipathy to centralized chains, this makes for a peculiar history: There were few chain stores in the early 20th century (even when neighbourhood A&Ps were popping up by the thousands)...and thanks to consolidation, there are few chain stores today. The dates in between are where most of the action is: The entries in the chart peak at 17 in 1970 and 1975. Even then, a lot of the "chains" were independents with voluntary associations (IGA, Country Boy, Super Valu)...the number of "true" chain stores in this place and era was probably 5 or less.

A&P had a token presence early on, with a single store that opened in 1925 and closed by 1950. The building it was in remains intact.

Rochester was also one of National's halfhearted bastions, with the chain entering the market by 1945 and exiting by 1975. As with A&P, they never had more than a single store open at once...and AFAICT, neither building still stands. National's and Applebaums' 1980s offshoot, Rainbow Foods, briefly waged a presence in the 1990s and early 2000s through conversions of Mister P's stores. Here's an article from 1992 that touches on this.

Today the supermarket situation in Rochester reads like an extension of Iowa, with Hy-Vee and Fareway being the #1 and #2 chains in store count.

Are there any aesthetically-interesting store buildings in Rochester at all? Well, the former Piggly Wiggly at Northgate Center bears original fieldstone, and a very 1970s-looking slanted upper facade. There's also a well-preserved former 1980s Hy-Vee at 1607 Highway 14 E.

P.S.: The link to the spreadsheet is broken since the hyperlink begins with "hhttps."
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull
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