Here are some nice circa-1970 photos featuring the Zayre and Grand Union stores that were located the corner of Dixie Highway (U.S. 1) and 136th Street in Pinecrest (Miami-Dade County), Florida. These photos and much of the background information that follows comes to us through the courtesy of Stuart Spector of Spector and Sons, a well-known general contracting firm that has built many significant buildings in the Miami area since 1925. Thanks, Stuart!
The store has a different appearance from the standard “Zayre look” of the time for a good reason – it was originally built in the very early 1960’s as a Consumers Mart of America (CMA) store, a membership store that operated along the lines of a Gemco or Fed-Mart back in the day, or a modern Costco or Sam’s Club. One of the most interesting aspects of the short-lived CMA chain was the fact that George Raft, the famous actor known for his gangster roles in Warner Bros. movies of the 1930’s and 40’s was CMA’s vice president of advertising and public relations. Raft was present at each new store opening, sometimes dragging his Hollywood buddies (for example, Jerry Lewis at the 1961 Torrance, California store opening) along.
When CMA went bankrupt in 1965, Zayre took over a number of their store locations, including three in Chicago (as previously mentioned) and three in Florida - South Dade County (the location pictured), north Dade County and Tampa. Spector and Sons, who had built all three Florida locations, took over the mortgages when CMA went bankrupt. They sold the North Dade and Tampa properties and still own the South Dade location.
Also of note is the Grand Union supermarket, which as can be seen underwent a slight facelifting between the time these photos were taken. Grand Union, a New Jersey-based chain, entered the Florida market in the mid-50’s and had 48 supermarkets (and 8 Grand Way stores, a Zayre competitor) there by 1968.
And check out the gas prices at the Zayre auto center!
After Zayre moved out, the building was damaged by Hurricane Andrew in the early 90’s and was later redeveloped by Spector and Sons as a Builders Square. It is now a Home Depot, and the former Zayre auto center is now a Bank of America branch.