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Showing posts from December, 2023

It's Time for our Winter Break!

Happy winter! I'm going to take some time off from posting, but we'll be back strong starting our look at the southeastern part of New York State (excluding, of course, New York City) on January 1st. Enjoy your holiday season, and I can't wait to see you all at the beginning of next month! In the meantime, don't miss our last few posts and the  Back in Time  feature here on Grocery Archaeology! And of course, keep your eye out for some special reports and updates over the next few weeks, too! Key Food - Upper West Side ACME Markets - Allendale, NJ Giant Farmers Market - Waldwick, NJ Trader Joe's - Forest Hills CTown - Morris Heights Antillana SuperFood - Morris Heights Food Bazaar - Ridgewood, Bushwick West, Bushwick East, and Inwood

Back in Time: Ayer, MA

Moving from Cape Cod to north central Massachusetts, we have a look at the small town of Ayer, MA! Unlike the Dennisport picture, I can definitely pinpoint where this picture was taken -- the train tracks give it away! (Those train tracks are now a rail trail, that I've biked up. Beautiful!) Unfortunately, though, most of these buildings no longer exist. And in case you missed it, take a look at that building on the left side of Main Street. That's the Union Cash Market! Now, Ayer doesn't have its Union Cash Market anymore, but they do have a strange  circular Shop 'n Save (well, technically the store is a tetradecagon, because it technically has 14 sides; had to do some Googling for that one). I hope you enjoyed this Back in Time feature, and I'll look for more opportunities to share old memorabilia, photos, and ads as I can!

Back in Time: Dennisport, MA

Welcome to Dennisport, MA, a small village within the town of Dennis on Cape Cod! This undated postcard shows a view of the quaint main street, featuring a Stop & Shop grocery store! I unfortunately haven't been able to pinpoint where this location was, but there was also an A&P in town at some point. A great picture! Tomorrow we have one more postcard before we wrap up the Back in Time feature!

Back in Time: Elizabethport, NJ

We've spent plenty of time in Elizabeth, NJ, but we're back to check out some old family photos! My grandmother had literal boxes upon boxes of original pictures anywhere from 1950 or so up until recent years, and these come from the earlier side of that. First we have my great-grandmother and my aunt outside the local A&P, although I'm not positive exactly where this was. I do know that it was an A&P, though. Now a picture of my aunt outside of some store, although I'm not sure if it's the same one... I love these stacks of groceries in the window! Now we're headed back up to Massachusetts tomorrow for some more historical photos.

Back in Time: Arlington, MA

Today's picture is admittedly not as spectacular as some of the New York City ones I've been posting the last few days, but it's still pretty cool nonetheless! I think I paid around 50 cents or a dollar for an original print of this image of the Capitol Theater in Arlington, Massachusetts at an antique store outside of Worcester, but I didn't buy it for the theater (although I love that building and sign). I bought it because you can see just the end of a grocery store to the far left of the picture! I can't determine what store this was, but it appears to be a chain (notice the "grocery stores" rather than just "grocery store"). And it looks like this picture may be from a bit earlier than the New York ones, given the age of the vehicles shown. We have a couple more days' worth of old pictures, but tomorrow is a special one!

Back in Time: Harlem Market

The last picture from the collection of historical photos I bought is this one, showing an incredible street scene of a grocer in Harlem, although again, I don't have any more specific information. I don't know the date, location, or name of the store, as it was labeled only with "Harlem market" on the back. Really an incredible picture, and the amount of detail captured here is unbelievable! On the subject of these pictures in general, from my understanding, I have a reprint of each from a private collection -- to my knowledge, these were not commercial pictures, nor are they currently under copyright by anyone. But if I'm wrong about that, please let me know! On the same token, if you'd like to use these pictures, please let me know also! One more old picture tomorrow, although admittedly it's not as striking as our last three days were. Still good!

Back in Time: Greater New York Fruit & Vegetable Market

Another historical photo from the same collection as yesterday's A&P ! Today we're looking at a fruit and vegetable market somewhere in New York City, although unfortunately I don't have any more information as to location or date beyond that. Notice the promotional Sunkist signage hanging from the awning! This is a wonderful picture too, and tomorrow, we have another historical New York City picture!

Back in Time: A&P in Brooklyn

At an antique store in Brooklyn, I found a few prints of very old pictures of New York City. The prints themselves weren't that old, but they were reproductions of some wonderful old pictures. I chose three of grocery stores that I had to have, and we're going to see them over the next few days! Unfortunately, I don't have locations for these pictures, beyond this one having been labeled as Brooklyn. I wouldn't be surprised if this were in a neighborhood like Bensonhurst or Bay Ridge, but I'm not really sure. While I'm far from an expert, the car looks like a late 1930s or early 1940s type, meaning this is likely to be from the 1940s or so. Come back tomorrow to check out the next picture!

Back in Time: ACME Markets 1975

We're finishing our week of old supermarket ads with a very famous name everyone here is sure to know, ACME Markets! ACME had locations in Elizabeth as well as nearby suburbs like Union  (also see here ). So many of these ads actually came from the same issue of the newspaper, with the September 24, 1975 edition having about four of the ones we have seen in the last week or so. These days, in my area of Essex County, ShopRite is the only one who still advertises in The Star-Ledger, which is all but the only newspaper left in my area. But don't worry, there's plenty more Back in Time material still to see over the next few days! Come back tomorrow for some wonderful old pictures of supermarkets!

Back in Time: Pantry Pride 1975

There's nothing like a bargain! Or at least that's what Pantry Pride seemed to think in September 1975 when they ran this ad. Pantry Pride was the lower-end, more value-focused branch of Food Fair, and their stores populated the Elizabeth area at Spring and Jersey and in Elmora  (where my father later worked when it was a Foodtown), where the SuperFresh in Roselle is now, and where the Stop & Shop in Union is now. Man, I want fresh trout at 69 cents a pound. Every once in a while I'll get really nice fresh rainbow or steelhead trout and I love it. Anyway, tomorrow is our last day of ads and we are ending on a very famous name everyone here is going to know!

Back in Time: Stop & Shop 1975

Here's an ad from Stop & Shop's ill-fated first foray into New Jersey, starting back in the 1960s and ending in the early 1980s with the sale of their stores to assorted competitors, including A&P, Foodtown, Kings, and others. The two stores advertised on this ad, in Garwood and Woodbridge, are now a Kings and somewhere rolled into a Home Depot in Colonia . Tomorrow is another name that has faded from the New Jersey supermarket scene, but was a big name back in the 1970s. Come back to check it out!

Back in Time: Finast 1975

Finast is not a name that means anything to many contemporary northern New Jersey residents, but in 1975, having acquired the area Safeway locations the previous decade, they had a significant presence around this part of the state. This ad was valid for locations in Essex, Union, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties -- let's say the northern part of central Jersey and the southern part of north Jersey, or I guess you could say from roughly Newark to the beginning of the shore. Okay, maybe I'm just a food snob, but I don't know... something about the "Boil n' Bag Gravy & Meats" isn't particularly appealing. (That said, it's very common in commercial food establishments to get frozen bags of soups and sauces and boil them to heat -- many of those actually come out great.) This ad was a great find to preserve a little bit of Finast's history in New Jersey! Tomorrow we're going to see a name with a little more staying power than Finast. Stay tuned

Back in Time: ShopRite 1975

ShopRite has long been a major name in New Jersey supermarkets, but recall that in 1975, the cooperative was reeling from the loss of Supermarkets General, which in 1968 had split off and become Pathmark. It, of course, would go on to more than recover from the loss, but in 1975 the cooperative was definitely still trying to regain members and market share. In the metro New York market, by the mid-1970s, Pathmark was near the market leader, which it would become by the end of the decade (and then, if I'm not mistaken, lose the title to ShopRite in the late 1980s). In 1975, ShopRites were located in Hillside (where the current one is), Clark (replaced by the existing store in the 90s), Millburn (which recently went through a renovation ), Union (now Second Avenue since the store moved to Route 22), and Colonia -- although I'm not sure about whether that's before or after it was a Stop & Shop (later Foodtown and now The Fresh Grocer ). Although ShopRite still has a l

Back in Time: Medi-Mart 1975

Medi-Mart was admittedly a drugstore, not a supermarket, but this 1975 ad from an issue of the Daily Journal features the Stop & Shop-owned chain's Garwood location, located in the same strip mall as the Garwood Stop & Shop -- later Kings . In fact, the ad even proudly proclaims the store is "next to Stop & Shop"! As we can see, Medi-Mart sold a variety of products, from drugs to cigars, home goods to ice cream. I don't know much about Medi-Mart, though, since its life and death were all before my own. But tomorrow we're looking at an ad for a supermarket we're all very familiar with!

Back in Time: Foodtown 1975

The Elizabeth Daily Journal started publication in Chatham, NJ as the New Jersey Journal, later moved to Elizabeth and was renamed in 1787. Remarkably, the newspaper was published until 1992, and my grandmother saved a few issues of the paper, mostly from the 1970s and 80s. While recently cleaning out her attic, I flipped through some of the papers on a hunch that I might find some supermarket ads. I was right. This Foodtown ad comes from a July 16, 1975 edition of the paper, when Foodtown had I believe two locations in Elizabeth and multiple in the surrounding communities. Its parent company, Twin County Grocers, was based just to the south in Edison. Unfortunately, though, this ad does not list the local locations at the time of publication.

Back in Time: Custom Meats 1974

April 5, 1974: Custom Meats, Inc. was celebrating the grand opening of its Huntington store in this ad scanned from an original New York Daily News page from that time. I love the part specifying "no beef priced over $1.69 lb". This is an advertisement for something that, as far as I can tell, is relatively rare -- a chain of dedicated butcher shops (as opposed to the more common chains of grocers or even produce markets). Looking at the locations where these stores were, it also appears that they were very small, so not even something like a Giunta's Meat Farms which is a true supermarket with a large meat department component. It's also an unusual collection of locations, with Long Island, Queens, Rockland, and New Jersey represented. I found this in a newspaper from my grandmother's attic, and I thought that this might be the best I can do as far as finding grocery ads in the old papers. Luckily, I was wrong! Up next is the next ad I found, which we'll be s

Step Back in Time with Grocery Archaeology!

  This December... step back in time with Grocery Archaeology! During our winter break, don't miss a collection of old photos, ads, postcards, and more related to grocery stores here on Grocery Archaeology! Regular posting will resume on January 1st with jumping into the start of New York State, but in the meantime, enjoy this historical collection and then some time off for our winter break. Enjoy!