Yesterday’s Food And Retail by Grady Ellis (Editorial)
Yesterday’s Food and Retail by Carrollton resident Grady Ellis is an editorial series brought to you by The City Menus, LLC. The following piece is unedited and in its original state. In no way does it reflect the views or opinions of The City Menus, LLC or its additional contributors.
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Many of us going to our neighborhood Kroger Marketplace still enjoy its newness and all of the options it gives us to make a quick shopping trip. A trusted name in groceries and pharmacy, Kroger’s opening its Marketplace in 2013 added clothes, shoes, and jewelry to the things that have kept us coming back since 1883.
That year Barney Kroger invested his life savings of $372.00 to open a grocery store on Pearl Street in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. He ran with a simple motto, “Be particular. Never sell anything you would not want yourself.” Over the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th, Kroger was the first grocery store where you could find the things we today consider essential–meats, seafood, baked goods, and groceries–all under one roof. With its willingness to evolve with the customers, the company built success. In 1947 Kroger would begin a 70 years and counting run as the top name in groceries in Carrollton, opening at Alabama Street and Cliff Street, the current home of Classy Cricket. It remained in that location until 1967 when the store had been surpassed by longtime rivals A&P, and Colonial. Kroger left downtown Carrollton to open what was called their ‘Superstore’ at Lake Carroll Mall on Bankhead Highway.
As I mentioned last week, Kroger had been interested in First Tuesday Mall before they moved to Lake Carroll Mall where they remained for 11 years. According to a respected source Kroger kept an eye on other possible locations even after the opening of the Lake Carroll Mall store. In the 1970s Kroger was a rival with A&P, Big Apple, Food Giant, Big Star, and Winn Dixie. Kroger wanted to be near its rivals and so had an eye on Maple Street to be near A&P, a longtime mainstay in town. The exact location is unknown, but the move there didn’t happen. Another spot they considered was on Bankhead in the early-to-mid 1980s. By then Kroger had changed its style to what was called the ‘Greenhouse Store,’ and many of the Superstores like ours closed after 10 years or fewer in the Metro, yet some remained.
In 1987 our Kroger moved to its current location at Carrollton Crossroads. That location was the first grocery store in town to have an in-store pharmacy and a restaurant (Barney’s Café) and had become a leader in the area when it came to groceries. As the 20th century ended, so did the longtime mainstays in Carrollton’s grocery scene. Longtime rivals A&P and Big Star both closed in the early 1990s. For a few years Kroger and Winn Dixie held their own, along with Food Lion and another longtime store, Freshvalue. In 1997 Publix, a grocery chain from Florida, arrived in McIntosh Plaza, and the landscape began to change. By 2000 another longtime mainstay, Winn Dixie, had begun to struggle to compete with Kroger, Publix, and a growing Walmart. In a way the new concept of ‘Supercenters’ hurt Winn Dixie. In 2000, they closed their location in First Tuesday Mall, their second location in town after they’d moved there from West Georgia Shopping Center.
The 21st century arrived, and the market changed. Kroger became the top name in Carrollton when it came to one-stop shopping. In 2013 the Carrollton Crossroads Kroger was expanded. The result once again was a stunner, and it brought shoppers from near and far to check out this new format titled “Kroger Marketplace.” It’s shown over the years how far Barney Kroger’s vision has traveled and become a big name in the retail game. Kroger operates under many different names, including Harris Teeter in the Carolinas, and a chain from the Pacific Northwest, Fred Meyer, which inspired the Marketplace concept. Kroger has served Carrollton very well for 70 years, and I see them being here for a long time to come.