Wednesday, December 10, 2008

L'Elégance du Kroger

Here is a set of photos of a beautiful lady, all decked out in the best 1957 fashions, engaging in some serious shopping. If you had seen her at home, getting into her car, you’d think she was headed to Bloomingdale’s, Saks, maybe Lord & Taylor. Actually, her destination is…..uh, …Kroger. (OK, I’m not at all sure those department stores were located in Kroger territories at the time, but indulge me. Thanks.)

She pauses for a moment to contemplate the wonderful shopping experience that lies ahead, (and to ensure a good picture) then it’s off to every department. The gloves come off, a really good idea when handling that Tenderay beef. She examines every item carefully, ending up with a balanced mix of Kroger brands and nationally advertised favorites. Then it’s time for checkout and parcel load-up, meticulously handled by uniformed professionals - career people, respectably paid, the pride in their jobs evident.

Then she’s off, entering her car from the passenger side, just like they do in the movies.


  1. Great memories--reminds me of the mid-50s Kroger stores that were near us; esp. the fake gas lights with aisles signs and the signs over various departments like coffee. I'd forgotten how much Kroger had featured their coffee in the past but really failed to take advantage of the recent interest in coffee to bring it back. Even A&P, normally a marketing faltfoot, did more with their coffee before selling it off.

  2. I LOOOOOOOOVE that outfit. I would kill for that colorful suit, hat, gloves, purse, shoes, etc. If I had been alive in 1957 I would have been dressing like that too but I probably wouldn't have looked as coifed after handling that Tenderay beef. These are such lively photos!

  3. Were do you get these great pictures from!!?? This site is fantastic!! Great photo spread.

    How about putting some Kroger Ads from the 50's on this site??

    How about another look at A&P? now entering there 150th year!!!

  4. Didi, remove the hat and with just a few minor alterations in tailoring, no need to raise the hemline, the dress would still look contemporary. That's one thing about true fashion as opposed to fads, the looks are timeless.

    With ads like this, Kroger carefully cultivated its image as store that both appealed to everyone and the well-heeled. I don't think Safeway or Publix have been as successful as being upscale and everyman all at the same time. At times it makes the company the supermarket equivalent of Sears or JCPenney, but it has worked well for Kroger.

    Anonymous, I agree that Kroger could do more to highlight its heritage as a purveyor of coffee. Instead, it's simply part of the coffee aisle, and increasingly an instore Starbucks as the focus for coffee. Given that Fred Meyer has its own coffee shop, if the liscensing with Starbucks terminates, Kroger can easily roll out its own coffee shop, but a trip down nostalgia lane on the coffee aisle would be a nice addition. Did you ever visit an A&P Futurestore? The chain did an excellent job of incorporating its coffee(and tea) heritage in the coffee department of Futurestores.
    But they may have been 20 years too early as coffee made a 21st century comeback.

  5. Didi, remove the hat and with just a few minor alterations in tailoring, no need to raise the hemline, the dress would still look contemporary. That's one thing about true fashion as opposed to fads, the looks are timeless.

    I couldn't agree more, Ken. I may even include the hat as well.

  6. Anonymous - The fake gas lights were a nice touch. Even on higher end stores, chains typically don't go to this sort of expense anymore.

    That's an excellent point about Kroger's coffee, which I've always liked. It does seem that more could have been done with it. I agree A&P's coffee was the one thing they always marketed effectively.

    Richard - My thoughts exactly!

    Didi - Such enthusiasm! Maybe you can find one like this at one you those stores you mentioned on your blog. :)

    Anonymous - Old trade mags, and company advertising. I have some 50's Kroger ads, but a lot of them are heavy on text and don't have much else. I wanted to make a point to cover Kroger during this, their 125th year, and I definitely want to talk about A&P during their 150th.

    Ken - I think the JCPenney of the last few years would definitely be a good style to follow. They've done a nice job of cutting across income lines in their appeal. I've only seen photos of the A&P Futurestores, and I remember they featured some iconic A&P themes.

  7. LOVE the play-by-play of what's going on in the photos, Dave -- hilarious!!

    Enjoying the Kroger posts...another chain that I have not encountered myself, but very interesting nonetheless!

  8. Kendra - Thanks - just trying to read between the lines on this stuff - so glad you like it!