Friday, January 18, 2008

Stop & Shop, Bigger & Better

Stop & Shop was as aggressive as any major chain in replacing their small urban grocery stores with larger shopping center-based stores through the late fifties and early sixties. As the photos above show, they carried this out using an interesting variety of architectural designs, with an obvious focus on their large, block-lettered logotype.

They made a number of acquisitions during the period, most notably the Tedeschi chain in 1961, a six-store operation with stores located mostly in southeastern Massachusetts. Unlike Stop & Shop’s other acquisitions, management opted in this case to maintain the Tedeschi name and retain the existing management for those stores. Like a number of other chains, Stop & Stop also recognized the value of locating next to discount stores. Note the adjacent “J.M. Fields” sign in the first photo. Fields would be acquired by fellow supermarket chain Food Fair, in 1961, the same year in which Stop & Shop would themselves buy out the six-store Bradlees chain. By 1962, Stop & Shop was active in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

The photos above, top to bottom, show the following locations: Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1958, Hyde Park, MA also from ’58, Medford, MA from 1957, Manchester, Connecticut circa 1960, East Providence, RI from 1962, and Concord, New Hampshire from the same year.


  1. Great pics! really captures an era.

  2. I agree with anonymous!

    Whatever happened to the life the block letter logotype? It was always domineering and commanded you to pay attention and it disapeared along with most script logos.

  3. Block and script logos started disappearing in the late 1960s, when companies began to define their brands with more distinctive logos.

    Competition was getting intense and even previously dominant chains were getting "lost in the crowd" because their logos and store experiences were so similar.

    Of course, by the late '70s, everybody was on the contemporary branding bandwagon, and just as before, all the stores looked the same.

  4. Stop & Shop switched to a more contemporary logo with a traffic light (meaning "Stop", of course)inside a shopping cart in the mid-60's which I really liked. I've got a pic I'm going to try to put on here in the next few days which shows it. Even their current logo, which can be easily seen at is nice by modern standards.

    Steven - I agree with your point about the "sameness" of the block logos - it brings to mind all the variety stores of the 50's and 60's which had carbon-copy logos -Kresge, Woolworths, Grants, and on and on.

  5. Wow, Stop & Shop look so much cooler back then, I just love the "floating letters" effect so awesome. I find freestanding letters against a sky so much more interesting, than letters tacked onto the front of a building,which too predictable to me.

    Also, what's with the lack of windows in many newer Super Stop & Shops today?, I mean I prefer a little light coming through the windows outside rather than stare at a big opaque wall blocking any light at all.

  6. Mark - Good point on the 'floating' letters. It's something you just don't see today and I agree it was a cool look.

    About windows, the trend with a great many chains has been moving away from a large expanse of glass for some years now. I'm sure costs (energy and glass cleaning) figure heavily into this. On lots of 60's/70's era Kmarts that are still open, it's common to see as much as 2/3 of the original window areas boarded up.