Monday, November 3, 2008

A Nifty Fifties Thriftimart


Here’s another wonderful Southern California gem, shown through the courtesy of the Orange County Archives. This Thriftimart supermarket opened in mid-1955 in Garden Grove, California on the northwest corner of Chapman Avenue and Brookhurst Street, in what was originally slated to be known as the Melody Park Shopping Center, a nod to the adjacent Melody Park and Melody Estates subdivisions. A year later, plans were announced to significantly expand the shopping center, by now known as Orange County Plaza, adding J.C. Penney, W.T. Grant , and J.J. Newberry stores, plus Thrifty Drug and Safeway, although these didn’t materialize for nearly three years. Chris Jepsen’s O.C. History Roundup site has a great photo of the shopping center’s Googie sign.

Note the Van de Kamp’s windmill, a great regional icon, just below the “liquor” blade sign on the (very wide) pylon. Tailfins, palm trees and pylons, it’s my kind of scene!

10 comments:

  1. What a great sign and I love the script on the Thriftimart logo.

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  2. I love the name, but I wonder why two spellings? The horizontal sign on top of the building clearly says "Thrifitmart", but the big pylon thing says "ThrifTmart".
    Can't decide which I like better..

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  3. Didi - Hard not to love this one!

    Veg-o-matic - I think the full "Thriftimart" script is superimposed over the big T. The palm tree is blocking part of it. There was a small midwestern chain called ThrifTMart in the 60's, totally unrelated I'm sure.

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  4. The Van de Kamp’s windmill, I forgot all about those! I think the "Lucky" market I grew up with had one of those in the 1970's.

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  5. Tim - It seemed that almost every major LA area chain had a Van de Kamp's bakery department in those years. The sign is a great icon, and I'm sure it brings memories for you!

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  6. Don Kirk - Redding, Ca and in OregonDecember 28, 2008 at 7:03 PM

    I not only shopped in this Thriftimart, but worked at a radio station in the center (was there after this photo was taken; or it'd be visible in this photo). The owner of the chain had a 52 Buick he was selling and I asked him about it (my dad was looking for a car). My dad bought the car; which I later owned. There were also Thriftimart's at Lincoln and State College Blvd. (Anaheim); as well as Lincoln and Valley View (?) Ave. (Buena Park). I sold newspapers at that one.

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    1. The station was first put on the air as KGGK, by college student; then became KTBT 94.3 fm "ACID ROCK". Can't tell you how many pizza's we played (yes played) on the turntables. We gave free on air ads to pizza shops, for bringing us pizza's. The owner of Thriftimart was older and dressed up like a bumb. He'd go into one of his stores during hours he thought no employees knew him and went behind a checkstand, played with the microphone, etc., to see how his employees treated someone that might be down and out. There was also a Thriftimart in the Buena Park Center behind Sears. I miss Thriftimart. Their jingle was "Every days a special day at Thriftimart... Thriftimart. Every days a special day for you.... Whatever you put in your shopping cart, you save and save at Thriftimart.... Every days a special Day at Thriftimart!".

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    2. You are close, store was on Lincoln and Knott Ave. I started working there May, 1968 and after i returned from the Army went back to work there in March 73.

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  7. I grew up next door in Melody Park Estates, shopped at Thrifty, was caught stealing candy at Economart (8 tears old), and sang live on the air at that FM radio station with my folk group, the Edgewood Singers. What a great find that picture is to stir the memories. Thanks

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  8. Jim - Thanks for sharing those memories. Sounds like a valuable lfie lesson learned at the Economart! :)

    Orange County had to have been a blast to grow up in during that era!

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