Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, November 9, 2014, pg. 3
The year 1954 was a significant one for shopping in Albion. That year we saw the opening of three "super" markets as they were called, and the beginning of the demise of the small neighborhood grocery stores. One such supermarket was the A & P Store as we called it, officially known as the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. It opened on Tuesday, November 16 at 110 S. Eaton St. A & P had actually been in Albion for many years in downtown Albion, however. Prior to the opening of the supermarket, it was located at 315 S. Superior St. where Sanders Furniture is/was today.
The new store boasted 12,000 square feet of floor space, and 3,500 different grocery items. It had a 30-foot bakery section featuring Jane Parker (remember that brand?) breads, pies, rolls, and related items. Remember the Ann Page peanut butter and the Eight O’Clock coffee? The parking lot contained spaces for 92 cars, making it one of the biggest parking lots in Albion at the time.
Manager of the store of course was John Kehoe (1921-2010). Kehoe helped educate Albion shoppers to the "self serve" concept that A & P helped bring to our town. Previously a shopper would stand at the counter and tell the clerk what he/she wanted, and the clerk would go to the shelves behind the counter, pick out the items for you, and place them on the counter." With the new A & P however, most everything was under one roof. One "holdout" of the "old era" was milk, which was still being delivered to residences around town. That method too eventually disappeared within several years and people began purchasing their milk also at the supermarket.
Although A & P closed in March, 1976, it was succeeded by other food stores at the site. Today it is the site of Dollar General, which still sells canned, boxed, and refrigerated grocery items.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present an inside view of the newly opened A & P Store in 1955, shelves and bins filled with cans and boxes, ready for customers. Notice in the foreground is the "Open Check Out 8 Items or Less" sign, a familiar fixture in the store during its entire existence. Notice how inflation has increased the "8 items" to "12 items" in later years. How many of our readers remember the A & P Store?
The newly opened A & P Store in 1955
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic