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presents

Supermartifacts / The Artifacts of Kroger

[Kroger logo]

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Unless noted otherwise, all photos on these pages were taken by Andrew Turnbull over a period of more than 10 years.


Superstores

[Kroger store]

In 1972, Kroger introduced a new store design. Dubbed "superstores" in advertising and press, these supermarkets were larger than previous stores and featured amenities such as in-store delicatessens and cheese shops. The superstores also had elaborately-detailed exteriors and interiors with a wide range of consistent, distinctive, and recognizable features:

[Kroger article]

Charleston (WV) Gazette, 27 Apr. 1972.

Kroger aggressively "rolled out" the superstore throughout its trade area with a rash of store construction, and new stores of this design were built until 1979. Some older 1950s and 1960s stores were also updated into the superstore style, sometimes even with arches added to the entrance.

These structures perfectly capture the 1970s aesthetic at its most intense...and, dare I say, at its most tasteful. Unfortunately even though many buildings of this era survive, it's tough to find one that hasn't been severely remodeled and shorn of its disco-era features by now...particularly if they still house Kroger stores.


[Kroger store]

601 Euclid St., Bay City, MI
2019

Though not apparent in front, this is actually an early-'50s barrel-roof store that gained a massive expansion and renovation into a superstore in the 1970s.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

3013 N. Sterling Ave., Peoria, IL
2016

This superstore originally featured an adjacent drugstore (now CVS), and a second set of arches is visible at the opposite end of the shopping centre. Several original decor elements are visible inside, including the wood slat pattern on the back wall. It's also likely to be an early superstore, with taller windows and a shorter parapet over the arches than most.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

Putnam Village Shopping Center, Scott Depot, WV
1974 (Sunday Gazette-Mail), 2009

Opened 8 April 1973 in defiance of a Sunday closing law; replaced in the 1980s. The canopy with arches has since been removed from the building.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

4522 Robert C. Byrd Dr., Beckley, WV
2008, 2013

Opened 2 July 1974, in advance of the (now-demolished) Raleigh Mall. Originally featured an adjacent SupeRx store. The building was remodeled by 2013 to obscure its supermarket origins.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store] [Kroger store]

2020 Green Rd., Ann Arbor, MI
1974 (City of Ann Arbor/AADL/CC), 2019

Opened in 1974; closed as Kroger in the early 1990s when a replacement store opened a short distance away. The property has since been home to Busch's Fresh Food Market, which made only modest changes to the facade. Several small inline tenants also stand adjacent, continuing the superstore visual look.

[Kroger store]

5771 Godfrey Rd., Godfrey, IL
2016

Still in operation as a Ruler Foods store under Kroger ownership.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

3021 E. Jackson Ave., Jackson, MI
2016

At the time I photographed it, this sight in Michigan was quite possibly the last 1970s Kroger store with a perfect, original exterior left in operation anywhere. Unfortunately, the store ultimately closed for good on 7 April 2018.

[Kroger store]

36111 E. Michigan Ave., Wayne, MI
2016

Closed in 2015. The canopy arches have been covered by siding.

[Kroger store]

19001 West Rd., Woodhaven, MI
2019

This Kroger store opened in approximately 1977. It operated until 2013, by which point it was the second-to-last superstore with an original exterior left in the Detroit metro! Amazingly, this store also retained early-1980s interior decor up to the late 2000s. Though it's no longer selling groceries, the building itself remains in excellent condition.

[Kroger store]

605 W. 4th St., Rolla, MO
2015

This modestly-remodeled superstore remains in operation, and is another rare Missouri sighting.

[Kroger store]

9 Lincoln Center, Troy, MO
2016

 

[Kroger store]

7779 Tylersville Rd., West Chester Twp., OH
2009

 

[Kroger store] [Kroger store] [Kroger store]

2908 State St., Gassaway, WV
2009

Opened with an adjacent SupeRx store. This superstore still remains in operation with a (more or less) original exterior, although the "Prescriptions" and "Delicatessen" signs have since been removed.

[Kroger store]

308 Stokes Dr., Hinton, WV
2008

Still in operation, although the brickwork has since been painted over.

[Kroger store]

27335 Telegraph Rd., Flat Rock, MI
2019

Opened in the 1970s; closed in 1984. The exterior looks the same now as it did then, and the original spherical wall fixtures are still intact.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

1332 Stafford Dr., Princeton, WV
2008

Opened 14 Jan. 1977; replaced in 1985. Much of the original superstore decor remained in place for decades afterward, though it's probably gone now.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

33195 23 Mile Rd., Chesterfield, MI
2019

Here's an unusual take on superstore remodelling! The original castle-like parapet is still there...but a clock tower has been plopped on top of it. The original brickwork is also still there, but the original windows and emergency door have been bricked up. And a new entrance has been carved out of the facade.

[Kroger store]

3645 Highland Rd., Waterford Twp., MI
2019

This superstore is west of Pontiac, and may have been built as a Kroger-SupeRx combination. It closed in 1984. A massive parapet has been added over the original canopy and arches, but the near half of the building (now housing a Habitat for Humanity ReStore) survives in original condition.

[Kroger store]

5640 Dixie Hwy., Waterford Twp., MI
2019

Waterford Township's other superstore survives with modest, if peculiar, alterations to the facade (the arches have been downsized to notches matching the crenellations on top). Big Lots might be the #1 leading reoccupier of old supermarket buildings in America...

[Kroger store]

26800 Dequindre Rd., Warren, MI
2019

Yet another repainted and mildly-disguised superstore-cum-Big Lots.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

3328 Georgia St., Louisiana, MO
2015

Remodeled and now operating as County Market. A "turret" with the characteristic superstore arches is still visible at the opposite end of the shopping centre.

[Kroger store]

3815 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights, MI
2019

This is the only superstore I've ever seen that was built with a central entrance. It opened as Kroger in the 1970s, was traded to Savewel and Great Scott in the 1980s, reacquired in the 1990s, and did business all the way into the 2000s. It now houses an independent supermarket, with few alterations otherwise.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

2986 Center Ave., Essexville, MI
2019

This vacant specimen has gone through some highly peculiar alterations ever since Kroger moved out in the '90s: The upper facade has been covered over, and the canopy has been completely removed. At least the original doors are still intact!


Heavily-remodeled operational superstores

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

1215 24th St., Port Huron, MI
2019

This superstore is located in the U.S.-Canada border town of Port Huron. Although the facade and interior have been greatly remodeled, the original brick facing with vertical channels is still clearly visible.

[Kroger store]

2907 Krafft Rd., Port Huron, MI
2019

Port Huron's other operational superstore is an odd clash of styles, with an intact lower facade contasting with an upper half that's been completely covered over.

[Kroger store]

31 E. Long Lake Rd., Troy, MI
2019

Here, both the store and the shopping centre it stands next to have been changed. As with Krafft in Port Huron, however, an intact portion of the original lower facade is still visible towards the left side of the photo.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

41941 Garfield Rd., Clinton Twp., MI
2019

This Kroger store west of Mt. Clemens has been shorn of its original facade, and remodelled so severely that it's hard to say what era it's from (though I suspect there is a 1970s superstore buried underneath it all). It does, however, still have an original cube-shaped sign...and it just might be the only operational Kroger with a cube sign left in the Detroit metro.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

65 S. Livernois Rd., Rochester Hills, MI
2019

Here, the original 1970s store was given a completely new facade and expanded laterally to twice its original footprint. But as usual, there's still an artifact to be found: The side of the building still has the original vertically-grooved brickwork visible.

[Kroger store]

26233 Hoover Rd., Warren, MI
2019

This superstore has been gutted and renovated so severely that I couldn't discern where the original entrance vestibule was. Even so, original vertically-grooved brickwork is still visible on the lower-left portion of the facade.

[Kroger store]

53 Donnermeyer Dr., Bellevue, KY
2013

This was a superstore at one time. Unfortunately, the building was cloaked in a new facade and renovated beyond recognition shortly before I drove past it in 2013...

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

821 Lincoln Highway W., New Haven, IN
2016

Yet another operational superstore that's been remodeled to oblivion. The original brick colour was matched for the updated facade, however, and the shopping centre walkway retains its original appearance.

[Kroger store]

1405 W. Garfield Ave., Bartonville, IL
2016

And yet another! Fortunately, a portion of the original facade on this store is still visible.


Kroger Sav-On stores

In the late 1970s, Kroger began introducing combined food-drug stores into some markets. Initially, these stores had unique branding (as "Kroger Sav-On") and featured unique exteriors of fluted block with rounded corners, contrasting markedly with the superstores.

[Kroger store]

3110 N. National Rd., Columbus, IN
2011

Sav-On stores had enormous footprints...evident here, since less than two-thirds of the frontage fit in the photo! The entrance area here has been added onto to be more elaborate; originally, these stores would have had a flat facade with no decoration other than a slit of unprotected windows and doors. Big though it was, this store was replaced in 2016.

Continued...







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Last update 26 August 2019.