Saturday, February 27, 2010

Putting the "Pacific" in "A&P"

On May 2, 1930, A&P opened nine stores in the greater Los Angeles area, their first units on the West Coast. Seventy years after the company’s founding, the famous name – The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company – became a statement of fact, and of the long-awaited realization of a dream.

An article in the previous day’s Los Angeles Times quoted A&P president John Hartford, who had traveled across the continent for the landmark occasion: “These nine stores represent only an opening wedge…of an expansion program which will take in the entire Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain territory.” He mentioned that leases for thirty additional Los Angeles-area stores had already been signed. The original nine store locations were as follows: 6811 South Western Avenue, L.A., 5859 Franklin Avenue, L.A., 31 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, 37 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, 136 San Fernando Avenue, Burbank, 1515 Mission Street, South Pasadena, 211 East Main Street, Alhambra, 6265 Van Nuys Boulevard, Van Nuys (Usually pronounced as a single word – “vaneyes”. You’re welcome.), and 106 North Pacific Avenue, Redondo Beach.

A year later, the company opened its first stores in the Seattle area. They took things a bit slower here where the pace of store openings was concerned, but over time A&P would develop a respectable presence in the market. It would prove to be the company’s only other significant entry in the Western states.

The designs of the Los Angeles-area stores in particular were very appealing, with some of the finest area examples of Spanish and Art Deco retail architecture rising up under the A&P banner. Many of the early stores featured open fronts in a nod to the region’s ideal climate – no storefront windows or doors (“open front” meant exactly that), allowing plenty of room to extend display bins onto the sidewalk to attract shoppers. After hours, these stores were secured by sliding doors or folding scissor gates like the kind used by indoor mall stores today. Local competitor Vons was a major proponent of the open front design, as was Lucky Stores “up north”, to name just a couple.

Probably the most notable individual store in A&P’s western roster was the Westwood Village “super-store” opened in 1936. The store was designed by renowned California architect Allen Siple, who at that time was under contract to the Janss Investment Corporation, developers of the legendary Westwood Village commercial center that borders the UCLA campus. The exterior design is in the Janss Brothers’ mandated “Mediterranean” style, as were the other 1930’s Westwood landmarks, including the domed Bank of America building, the Fox Westwood Village theatre and the famous Sears store, among many others. Whether the style bore any resemblance to genuine Mediterranean architecture is a matter of somewhat snarky debate even all these years later, but it looked great in my opinion. The most striking feature of the A&P store, and for that matter the other Westwood buildings mentioned, was its tall, spire-like tower, where in this case the red neon-outlined “A&P” lettering was visible for a great distance at night. The store was torn down in the late 60’s to make room for another theatre.

By 1935, only five years after the first stores opened, there were over 100 A&P stores in the L.A. area. As the company gradually shifted its store mix to supermarkets in the late 1930’s, this number began to decline, leaving the company with roughly 50 area stores by 1950. This phenomenon was by no means unique to A&P - nearly all major grocery chains experienced decreased store counts in the 40’s and early 50’s as they replaced two to three small stores at a whack with one (much larger) supermarket. There was one problem in this case, though – the Los Angeles area was positively exploding in population in the postwar era. A massive population shift was underway. People were moving to Southern California in droves from the Eastern and Midwest areas, in quest of the warmer climate and boundless opportunity the area had to offer. As time passed, A&P appeared more and more to be in retrenchment, or at least at a standstill.

To be sure, the area’s supermarket scene was brutally competitive, with a number of locally-based competitors boasting loyal followings – Ralphs, Alpha Beta and Vons among the strongest of these, with Hughes, Market Basket, Boys Market, Fox, Mayfair, Stater Bros., the Fitzsimmons/Roberts/Thriftimart stores and others I’ve surely forgotten to mention commanding their pieces of the pie as well. The competition grew even more intense when two Northern California-based competitors ramped up their “Southland” operations – Safeway, always a factor, but a major push into SoCal beginning in the late 50’s would transform them into a huge player there, and Lucky Stores, Inc., who in 1963 established a large office/distribution complex in Buena Park to support what proved to be very rapid growth.

It was a battle waged on many fronts – price, advertising (especially on television – these were the wild and woolly days of live remote commercials and crazy promotions), store location, and, fortunately for us – architecture. The store designs of Southern California supermarkets – especially from the golden age (I guess I would call the 1930’s Spanish and Art Deco designs the “platinum age”) of the mid-1950’s to the mid 60’s – represent the pinnacle of the form, with a number of stores standing out as prime examples of Mid-Century Modern architecture.

In this one respect, A&P made a bold last stand. At the start of the 1960’s they opened several new stores (mostly replacement units) in major suburban L.A. markets with fresh, contemporary architecture, representing a major departure for the conservative and tradition-bound “Grandma”, as the company was fondly nicknamed. At the same time A&P was beginning to blanket the eastern half of the country with its Centennial stores, their new SoCal units sported gigantic neon signs, ranch-like stonework and bold colors, a fine fit for the area’s unique vibe. There would be no colonial-themed stuff there.

Groceteria has an astounding set of color photos of some of these stores, taken at the time of their grand openings. These photos prove that (architecturally, at least) A&P could definitely cut the mustard. Beyond the excellence of the store designs, two aspects of those photos jump out at me – first, the presence of the Van DeKamp’s windmill signs on the storefronts. Interestingly, A&P promoted the local bakery favorite over their own Jane Parker brand, a major reversal of their normal policy. Secondly, the “Blue Chip Stamps” banners, meaning that A&P opted to join the Blue Chip trading stamp consortium (an intriguing mini-soap opera in itself - hope to discuss it here someday) instead of offering Plaid stamps as they did in other regions. Both decisions appear to have been a nod to local preferences.

The 1960’s would prove to be a very difficult period for A&P – in 1964, the company lost its status as America’s largest retailer to Sears, but that was merely a hint of much deeper problems. There were many reasons behind their dilemma, which I won’t go into detail about now, but chief among them were an inexplicable slowness to open stores in the booming suburbs, and an overemphasis on their own store brands, causing them to lose out on the national brand marketing bonanza (with millions of dollars in network television advertising support that A&P appeared not to care about) of the 1960’s.

The crux of the matter, as far as the West was concerned, was that A&P never seemed to make a real commitment to the area. It was most telling that the company had never even set up a separate western division. There were seven A&P retail divisions in 1960 – New England, Eastern, Atlantic, Southern, Central, Middle Western and Central Western. The Los Angeles and Seattle markets were in the….uh, Eastern division. Along with such sunny-climed areas as the Bronx, Brooklyn, Garden City (Long Island), Newark and Paterson, New Jersey, all monster markets for A&P. Suffice it to say that two small groups of stores, 2800 miles away from home base, would have received precious little attention.

None of this was lost on the competition, and it was obvious that A&P wasn’t exactly striking fear into their hearts. As Robert Magowan, the ever-unflappable chairman of Safeway, told Time magazine in a 1965 article, unflatteringly titled “Weak Tea” - “I doubt that A&P will come West in any force until it shores up some of its weak spots. And then I still doubt it.” The (somewhat more flappable) A&P brass had acknowledged this for a while by then. As far back as 1959, A&P president Ralph Burger told an Associated Press interviewer when asked about expansion in the west – “A&P originated in the east and its development has naturally been limited principally to that section of the country…There are no plans for major expansion in the west at this time”. Six years later, the consequences of that course of action appeared to weigh on then-A&P president Byron Jay, as he told Time – “We may have made a mistake in the West.”

It came to an end for A&P in Los Angeles in December 1968 with the announcement that the company would sell its 31 area stores to the E.F. MacDonald Company. MacDonald was the owner of Plaid Stamps, A&P’s trading stamp of choice in all but the L.A. market, an irony already mentioned above. The previous year, MacDonald became a supermarket operator itself when it purchased 40 Shopping Bag stores from Vons Grocery Company, who was forced to sell them as a condition of an FTC antitrust order. The A&P stores would be rebranded as Shopping Bag stores. In the early 70’s, MacDonald sold the chain to Cleveland-based Fisher Foods, Inc., whereupon they reopened as Fazio’s units, as previously discussed here.

In 1974, A&P sold off its Seattle area stores, which Retired A&P Executive/Biographer William Walsh had termed a “more successful operation” in his fascinating book The Rise and Decline of The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. Some of the stores went to Smith’s Food King, which was later acquired by Fred Meyer and then by Kroger.

Anyone vaguely familiar with the A&P story is probably well aware that the sun has set on a large part of the A&P Empire in the last few decades. 150 years after its founding, though, the proud name still exists, on more than a few stores. Not many can say that.

The first two photos below are shown here by permission of the USC Libraries Special Collections, California Historical Society Collection. The first shows a magnificent streamlined/deco A&P and Thrifty Drug combination, located at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue circa late 1930’s. Next, from around the same time, is a very different but equally nice Spanish style A&P, location unknown. Note the men in tuxedos stationed in front. Both appear to be “open front” type stores. The next five photos are from Chain Store Age, circa 1937, and show the Westwood Village store (corner of Gayley and Broxton), exterior and interior views of the A&P “Food Palace” at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Cochran Avenue, and similar views of the South Pasadena A&P store. After that is a brief hat tip to the Seattle area, with a 1959 A&P publicity photo showing the Bremerton, Washington store. The metal sign to the far left is a variety I’ve only seen on Seattle area A&P stores. Last, from the Los Angeles Public Library, is the Pasadena store, located at East Foothill and Rosemead Boulevards, as final preparations were underway for its April 1959 grand opening.

Below are two full-page ads from that grand, glorious era when new supermarkets rated an entire newspaper section (in the Los Angeles Times, no less!). The first is from the 1935 opening of the Wilshire Blvd. “Food Palace”, the second from 1950, marking new stores in Santa Monica, Escondido and Altadena. The ad provides a comprehensive listing of Southern California A&P stores as of that date.


  1. WOW! That produce dept. in the one store looks almost like one in a super Walmart today. It must have really ahead of its time. Its sad that A&P is mostly a vague memory for most of us anymore. These posts are a great way of documenting a largely forgotten part of American culture and history. THANKS! Dave

  2. The 1950 list suggests that they went for range rather than depth in L.A, with far flung stores in places like Riverside, La Jolla/San Diego, and Calexico.

    One nitpick--you repeat the oft-stated remark that A&P was slow to enter the suburbs. they weren't. You just have to look at all the centennials doing other duty in classic 1950s/60s suburban areas. A&P was in the suburbs from the beginning. They also went into pioneering shopping centers as early as the 30s--their store in the Connecticut Avenue Park & Shop in DC survived into the 80s; the one at Forest Hills Plaza in East Cleveland Ohio lasted almost until they left the Cleveland area. During the centennial era, they rarely built in large shopping centers, but they often did this during the 50s.

    A&P did remain in the inner city more than other chains. They were established there already and faced less competition. Many of the super market chains that attained leadership in the 50s & 60s, were largely products of the super market era (Stop & Ship, Giant-Landover, Food Fair) and did not have sizable inner city store bases. If A&P didn't a lot of make money in inner cities, they certainly had volume.

    The comment that "they didn't go into the suburbs" was the typical way of explaining why many chains stalled in the 60s--National Tea, Acme, and First National among others. Unfortunately, all of these chains had expanded heavily into the suburbs and their problems had more to do with pricing and/or merchandising. More stores in the 'burbs wouldn't have fixed those problems and more suburban stores wouldn't have saved A&P from its slowness to adopt service departments, trading stamps (they added them just as other chains began dropping them), large stores, discount pricing, etc. A&P also was stuck with a horizontal integration that forced them to fill the stores with house brand merchandise at a time, when national brands were in favor and new categories of, particularly, convenience foods were emerging.

    Horizontal integration was one of the things that handicapped Winn-Dixie in its later years, esp. in a market where food processing was already over capacity and its plants would have fetched little money.

  3. I love, love, love those Southern CA designs, especially the Thrifty Drug/A&P in the first photo! Spanish and Deco are a lot more appealing to me than Colonial, seeing as I have spent my entire life in Southern CA. I hope someday that Thrifty Drug will be featured here, even though most of their stores in the 60's and 70's were very tired looking.

  4. Someday, Dave, you must share with us how you get the fabulous photos and artifcats that always accompany your pieces. They are always incredible. It is obvious that you put a lot of research and care into everything you write, and I certainly appreciate it!

  5. That first store is just gorgeous! Hard to even tell that this is A&P we are talking about. Remember how in love I was with those 50s era streetlamps on State Street, Dave? I think they just got bumped for that deco A&P!

  6. I go with Didi for the first pic. Actually rivals the Art Deco/Streamline Moderne Ralphs of SoCal and Publix's of Florida for its design.

    A&P made a last ditch effort to shore up its LA operation in the early to mid 60's, only to become one of the first casualty of A&P's decline. Some of the architecture was also used in A&P's southern Florida stores of the 60's, though centennial stores were found in smaller towns. But A&P never achieved the scale of operations in SoCal and Washington state that it had in its eastern locations.

    While A&P expanded into the suburbs, they were also rans, smaller than their competitors' digs and often more poorly located. A&P often had a free standing store, while the competition tended to favor larger shopping centers that were anchored by complementary discount stores, drug stores and variety stores. A&P's centennial stores were often plagued by being free standing in an era when shoppers favored larger centers. A&P's that were located in shopping centers tended to not be centennial stores with some exceptions and were often one of two supermarkets in the same shopping center. A&P's pricing and heavy dependence on private label only served to make a glaring distinction when compared to its neighbors.

    My memories of A&P are a store that everyone was familiar and shopped in, but never as the primary supermarket destination unless it was the closest or the only game in town. In that sense, the A&P became something of a convenience store that sold fresh meat and produce.

  7. Here is an update on some of those buidings listed on the ad:

    First off, Sunset and Fairfax.
    This store amazingly is still there. It was remodeled into one giant Thrifty Drug store sometime in the 70's or 80's and recently remodeled again as a Rite Aid. Its never been closed since its been opened. In a birds eye view, you can see the two distinct rooflines.

    The Wilshire and Cochran store is still there, and to my knowledge, still a market! It still has hints of the art deco look, although im sure its been altered a lot over the years.

    Vermont Ave LA - demolished
    5635 Hollywood, still there, remodeled
    8724 Pico - still there, remodeled
    3607 Sunset - still there, remodeled
    Inglewood - may still be there. Could possibly be the Pep Boys store
    Alhambra - demolished
    Altadena - still there, hardware store
    North Hollywood - demolished
    Santa Monica - still there
    Torrance - demolished
    Westwood - sadly, demolished

  8. The building in the first photo is still intact at the corner of Sunset and Fairfax -- it's now a Rite Aid, Thrifty's successor -- but it's lost a lot of its Deco details over the years. The curve on the corner is unmistakable, though.

  9. What a great history lesson! I'd bet that people were astounded when these supermarkets were built - they must've seemed enormous!

  10. By accident, it seems that Great A&P has modeled their Fresh format produce departments of today by that photo of a very grand Great A&P LA store.

    I think FreshandEasy today is using a similar strategy in open stores in Southern California. Hope it works for them

    Finally, Dave you have truly enlightened me about the A&P operation in Seattle and Southern California. It was a wonderous attempt to truly establish the "Pacific" in Great Atlantic and Pacific.

  11. A&P went in to 2nd rate locations after their decline was evident. Before that, they were welcomed into first rate plazas and its not difficult to find colonials in solid late 50s/early 60s strips. Freestanding locations came to be used alot during the 60s by many chains of varying performance: laggards like A&P and First National; relatively stagnant but more successful chains like Kroger and Acme; and chains that built momentum through this period like Safeway, and Fisher/Fazio. The partnerships with discounters really varied in success--National Tea paired with Topps shortly before Interstate Stores got out of the discount business. First National did joint developments with the doomed (and crappy) King's chain. K-Mart pairings didn't keep Grand Union from closing down in DC or New England.

    The strategy A&P used later in LA seems similar to what a lot of non-dominant chains tended to do when they filled in their territories, which was to locate roughly equidistant from different concentrated shopping areas. the Arcadia A&P (now a dollar store) on Baldwin, for example, was 1-3 miles from three different shopping areas--(1) Arcadia's "modern" center which had Vons (still around, though relocated and an early Pavillons conversion), Alpha Beta (closed and for many years untenanted) and a third store that's now an Asian chain grocer; (2) the successor to a streetcar strip that marked the end of one of the old streetcar lines near the El Monte border, which had a Ralphs (which later relocated within the area) and Temple City's street car strip and modern collection of plazas (Ralphs in between the two areas with Market Basket and Lucky in the plazas--the Market Basket ultimately became Albertson's and recently closed; Lucky closed when Albertson's took over the MB space). That kind of "in between" location sometimes worked, sometimes didin't. If the distant shopping areas were far enough away, a store could build its own niche, esp. if there were other mainline stores around like pharmacies and dry cleaners. But often these stores failed. The Baldwin location never filled in with anything else wxcept small office buildings.

  12. It took me awhile to find them, but I just wanted to show my own pictures of the local "Retrofit Centennial" A&P, which was recently demolished. If you look closely, you can still see letter scars from the A&P "Discount Foods" sign, over 30 years after the sign was taken down.

    Click on the links below:

    A&P Retrofit Centennial Reeb Ave. Columbus 1

    A&P Retrofit Centennial Reeb Ave. Columbus 2

    A&P Centennial Link Hudson St. Columbus 1

  13. Dwayne - It almost does look like a modern produce department in some ways - I'm fairly sure it was all organic, at least! I look back on the "pre-wrapped" produce (four oranges shrinkwrapped on a molded cardboard plate) in the stores when I was a kid in the early 70's, and I'm certainly glad they've gone back to bulk bins and let shoppers pick their own.

    Thanks so much for the kind words on the posts - glad you're enjoying them!

    Anonymous - That must have been one lonely delivery run to the Riverside, San Diego/La Jolla and Calexico stores! It's an impressive list of cities, but it’s clear that they never achieved critical mass in most of them.

    On your larger point, you're right, maybe "slow to enter the suburbs" is the wrong way to put it, as they did have a good number of suburban stores. There were many problems with their suburban expansion, though, and a lot of it stemmed from their long-held, restrictive policy of insisting on short term leases and below market rent caps. Despite their presence in the pioneering shopping centers of the 1930's you mention, it does seem that they missed opportunities in the 50's during the early “boom” years of shopping centers. In the Chicago market, for example, A&P was virtually shut out of the major shopping centers built there in the late 50’s, while many of them were home to Kroger units and/or local chains such as Jewel, National or Hillman’s. In Atlanta, which I’m somewhat less familiar with, here again Kroger was frequently seen, as was Colonial (and from 1961 on, Winn-Dixie) while A&P’s were comparatively scarce.

    A few years ago I obtained a copy of the "food stores" section from the 1961 Directory of Shopping Centers, an annual publication that no doubt provided the most comprehensive listing of its type. (I made a .pdf of it and would be delighted to send it to anyone who asks.) It shows around 190 shopping center store locations for Safeway, well over 200 for Kroger and roughly 190 again for A&P. So while their suburban presence may have been respectable, one would expect the numbers as compared to the number two and three chains (with smaller geographic footprints) to be significantly higher, but that’s not the case at all.

    I completely agree with the other reasons you cite – small store size, off-kilter trading stamp strategy, far too much reliance on their own brands and lack of service departments. In fairness, though, many chains (Kroger among them) didn’t really hit their stride in the service dept. area until the early 70’s - some years after the A&P Pacific saga had come to an end.

    Thanks for the great comment and insights!

    David – I need to get a few more photos of Thrifty stores before I could do it justice, but I agree they would be a very worthy subject.

    I prefer the Spanish and Deco stores myself, but I think the best of the A&P Centennials were fantastic looking. I’m guessing that the La Jolla store that the later ad mentions is the one you referred to a while back.

    Adrienne – I’m fortunate to have found a lot of good photos over the years, some from Ebay, some from “bargain books”, some from newspaper archives I subscribe to, all of which I started collecting long before beginning the website. I’ve also been able to visit several of the best university research libraries across the country in an effort to dig stuff up.

    And as always, I definitely appreciate your support!

    Didi – They’re both great, in different ways! Not sure they would look good combined, though…;)

  14. Ken – Good point, the Florida stores had a similar look (reminds me of the classic script Sears stores where the Florida and California units shared the same styles – or Disneyland and WDW’s Magic Kingdom! ;)), but every pic I’ve seen of the “Florida version” of A&P’s showed either an all-white or beige store. On the SoCal stores they threw in bolder colors here and there and some nice stonework.

    I agree that the free-standing aspect of many of their later stores put them at a huge disadvantage. Interesting that A&P came to be viewed as a convenience store in your area - I’m sure that’s not what they intended. Pricing was a big issue, for sure. Thanks!

    Jeff – Great to hear from you, and thanks once again for bringing us up to date! The first two stores you mention are ones I’d love to see in person, just to see if any vestiges of the original designs remain. I’ve often heard the L.A. area characterized as one where buildings are treated almost “disposably” – prematurely torn down and replaced – but I’m of the minority opinion that the opposite is true. There are a decent number of classics left there, covered over and remodeled though they may be.

    Jim – Thanks for that update. The curve you mention is a wonderful feature, an architectural flourish that wouldn’t be used today on such a building as a lowly drug store.

    Mel – Thanks very much! A&P’s West Coast history isn’t widely known, and I thought it would make for an interesting subject.

    I agree that those stores would have seemed huge based on what came before, but now I’m sure you could fit ten to fifteen of them inside a Wal-Mart Supercenter!

    Andy – As both you and Dwayne mention, there are similarities between the larger, modern 1930’s produce departments and those to be found in the nicer stores of today. I’d love to think that today’s produce designs were directly inspired by those of the past, but who knows? From what I’ve heard from some of the younger architects who’ve contacted me through this site, the better designs of the past are a definite inspiration.

    I’ve only been in one Fresh and Easy store, and I was impressed with it. I hope the concept takes off as well –it’s a huge undertaking.

    Glad that you found the post informative, and thanks!

    Anonymous 2 – Thanks for that great overview, especially on the L.A. area chains – you make a great point about the location strategy of non-dominant chains. The pairings you mention are particularly interesting – I remember the Topps/National combos in Chicago, and “crappy” as King’s may or may not have been, I’d love to find a photo of a First National/King’s matchup!

    Dan – Those are excellent photos, especially of the retrofit store! Thanks for sending along the links. I’m amazed at the condition it’s in after 40-some years and despite being vacant– even the fencing is in reasonably good shape! And the fact that the “Discount Foods” labelscar is still visible- Wow! I would say I’m surprised about the small scale of the store, but I guess I shouldn’t be. Thanks again!

  15. Kroger partnered with quite a few pioneering regional shopping center developers like Visconsi/Jacobs and DeBartolo. This got them into better locations than their market share would have justified in some places during the 50s, but it didn't necessarily help them in the long run. In Cleveland, their market share steadily dropped from the late 50s through the 60s and the major shopping center stores were heavily represented during their subsequent waves of store closings.

    Fisher Foods was in every A-list center in Cleveland up until the sale to Fazio's, but that didn't stop their long slide in market share. Shopping centers were no guarantee, which may be why free standing stores became more common.

    As for A&P---they got themselves into quite a few 50s shopping centers--early 50s ones like Harvard-Lee, Pearl-Brook, and Maymore in Cleveland, as well as later 50s ones like Golden Gate, as well as Turneytown, Southgate and many others. In the DC area, where they were a relative also ran, they still got into large, early centers like Congressional Plaza in Rockville, MD (they were there for over 30 years). In Hartford, another alsoran market, they anchored 50s/60s centers with the local Sage -Allen dept store chain.

  16. I've always wanted to see a vintage photo of the Bremerton A&P -- I never thought I'd stumble upon one online! According to the county assessor, the store was built in 1944. During the war, Bremerton's population ballooned to about 80,000 due to the influx of work at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, which is literally down the street from this store... so it would have been a pretty lucrative market at the time. The store was doubled in size sometime during the '50s. I believe it closed several years before A&P left the Seattle market, however.

    The building is still there, and relatively intact, having served as a location of Thurman Supply (a small Seattle-area home improvement chain) through the early '90s, and various local furniture and carpet close-out shops since then. Here's a Google Street View from roughly the same vantage point 50 years later. And here's the opposite angle. I had always wondered why the store was oriented away from the street that way, but the photo from '59 shows that there had been a street (it would have been Eighth) that running parallel with the display windows that has since been vacated.

    I find it interesting that A&P made a half-hearted attempt at expanding out of Seattle by building two stores in Tacoma around 1966. One was colocated with a Sprouse-Reitz discount store and the other with a Wigwam discount store.

  17. Anonymous – That’s wonderful information on those A&P markets, particularly the Cleveland-area, of that era - thanks! You mention DeBartolo, and it brings to the Boardman Shopping Center near Akron, which if I remember right was the first DeBartolo shopping center – it had a Kroger and an A&P just a few stores apart.

    Tkaye – Great background on the Bremerton store – glad we were able to find a photo for you! Wow, it looks like portions of the original awning have even survived!
    Also, thanks for that info on the Tacoma stores. Didn’t know about those.