Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A&P Forever

A former A&P Centennial store located at 1515 Sarno Road in Melbourne, FL, re-purposed as offices for Brevard County. After all these years, the building still retains its distinctive cupola on the roof.
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P)
     While A&P hasn't operated in Florida since 1987, I feel the need to write this post as the 156 year old chain, the first true supermarket chain in the nation founded in 1859, meets its end as they declare their second bankruptcy and announce the sale of their assets. While A&P has been having problems due to overexpansion for many years now and shrinking their footprint, the last decade has been especially hard on them after many attempts at refreshing their image, modernization, and some botched acquisitions. A&P had over 15,000 stores across the country at one point, the title of the #1 chain store in the nation, and an empire from coast to coast that would slowly crumble as time went on. A&P has touched many people across the country, not just in their current territory in Greater NYC and Philadelphia. They created many famous brands such as Ann Page and Jane Parker, and even spun off some brands that are now household staples, such as Eight O'Clock Coffee and Woman's Day magazine. They even had what could be considered the most famous supermarket design ever, the Centennial store, introduced as their prototype in 1959 to celebrate their first 100 years of existence, dotting landscapes and shopping centers across the country. Many of these Centennial stores still exist in various forms of modification today, like the one pictured above, as A&P built new stores and left certain markets. A&P was an American icon, and a model for many supermarket chains. 

     A&P stores existed in Florida since the early part of the 20th Century, primarily locating in storefronts in downtown areas. They then joined suit like the other chain stores and began relocating to modern, standalone buildings and shopping centers by the 1950's, only to pull out of Florida by the 1970's. In the early 80's, A&P decided to come back to Florida, but this time under the Family Mart name. These new A&P Family Mart stores were nothing like the small stores A&P left behind in Florida. The Family Mart stores were close to 55,000 square feet in size, and were similar to the Albertsons stores being built in Florida at the time, featuring a wide selection of general merchandise products as well as groceries and full service departments. However, the reborn Florida A&P division was a short lived venture. A&P closed all of their Florida Family Mart stores in 1987, selling most of the locations off to Kash n' Karry and Kroger's Florida Choice division, ending A&P's presence in Florida. 

     While I've never been to an A&P personally, it's really sad to see an iconic brand fade away, especially since A&P was the company that originated the modern supermarket chain. However, out of all of this, Albertsons' Acme division will gain 76 stores from A&P, which you can read more about here on the Acme Style blog.

Anyway, more Albertsons coming to the blog on August 8th. 

Until then,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger