The Andrew Turnbull Network

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.


Greenhouse stores

[Kroger store]

In 1979, Kroger updated its chainwide store design yet again. Dark brick and subdued colours were out; replaced by painted block exteriors, brightly-trimmed interiors, and colossal expanses of slanted, tinted windows.

These stores lent a dramatic visual impact upon the shopping landscape. They also progressed through several chronological variations: The earliest greenhouse-type supermarkets featured a small slanted-glass area with no pillars directly underneath. By 1981, larger stores were being constructed that used columns to divide the under-glass area into three "bays." This swelled to five bays in 1984, as store sizes continued to increase. Sometimes a separate slanted-glass area was provided for an adjacent SupeRx drugstore, forming a "double greenhouse" facade.

The "greenhouse" name is actually an invention dubbed by commercial architecture geeks: Kroger continued to refer to these stores as "superstores" in advertising copy. Being newer, the greenhouse stores tend to have higher survival rates than the 1970s superstores, and several continue to operate today in original exterior condition.


[Kroger store]

Litchfield Plaza, Litchfield, IL
2015

A very early (circa-1979) greenhouse store with a small footprint and no columns. Note the curvature of the front wall, which is another identifying characteristic of early stores.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

600 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, MI
2019

A new facade has been tacked on; however, the curved front wall indicates that this was originally an early greenhouse store very much like the one in Litchfield. This Kroger opened in 1979 and closed in 1984, later converting to Foodland and Ferndale Foods. The original Kroger cube-shaped sign has also been retained and reused by subsequent grocers.

[Kroger store]

1525 Madison Ave., Covington, KY
2013

This is a slightly newer (and more common) variation on the greenhouse motif, with uncurved walls and prominent columns. This store is still in operation today, although the exterior has since been painted.

[Kroger store]

199 Gateway Ave., Conneaut, OH
2009

Kroger pulled out of the northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania markets rather abruptly in the mid-1980s, consigning this store to a very brief existence as such.

[Kroger store]

6570 N. Ridge Rd., Madison, OH
2014

Built 1981. Another northeast Ohio closure.

[Kroger store]

South View Mall, U.S. Rte. 52, Bluewell, WV
2008

A "dual greenhouse" store that originally featured an adjacent SupeRx drugstore. Opened 17 Nov. 1981; retained an original exterior before closing without replacement in 2019.

[Kroger store]

2627 Dix Hwy., Lincoln Park, MI
2019

This was an extremely short-lived store, built in the early 1980s and closing in 1984 as an act of corporate retaliation following a protracted Michigan labour strike.

[Kroger store]

14155 Eureka Rd., Southgate, MI
2019

Another Detroit area store that closed in 1984. Kroger's premature exodus may have been unintentionally beneficial for preservation, since the facade survives today in completely original condition.

[Kroger store]

1771 E. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti, MI
2008

Opened by 1984. This undoubtedly was a greenhouse store at one time; unfortunately, the sleek glass facade was covered by a dubious stucco sarcophagus in a 2000s renovation.

[Kroger store]

717 S. College Ave., Bluefield, VA
2013

Opened 15 July 1984; closed without replacement in 2004. The greenhouse glass has since been obscured.

[Kroger store]

151 Beaver Plaza, Beaver, WV
2008

Another "dual greenhouse" store, still in operation with an original exterior. The adjacent SupeRx is now CVS.

[Kroger store]

5717 MacCorkle Ave. S.E., Charleston, WV
2011

Still in operation.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

10635 MacCorkle Ave., Marmet, WV
2011

Still in operation with an original exterior.

[Kroger store]

1213 Stafford Dr., Princeton, WV
2008

Opened 13 Feb. 1985. Still in operation.

[Kroger store]

302 Great Teays Blvd., Scott Depot, WV
2011

Still in operation with an original exterior.

[Kroger store]

1439 MacCorkle Ave. S.W., St. Albans, WV
2011

A Frankenstein-like greenhouse store, with multiple tiers of renovations from different eras visible. The adjacent CVS store (née SupeRx) still bears a 1970s superstore facade.

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

603 S. 4th St., Chillicothe, IL
2015

Another Frankenstein-like spectacle, this time on a Kroger/SupeRx "dual greenhouse" pairing. The Kroger half of the structure has been expanded and renovated beyond recognition, yet the original 1980s exterior of the adjacent SupeRx store is completely intact!

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

1 Troy Square, Troy, MO
2016

This flattened facade was the last variation of Kroger's greenhouse motif, constructed for a short time in the late 1980s.


Subsequent stores

After the greenhouse "era" ended at the tail end of the 1980s, Kroger built a number of stores distinguished by a slanted, trapezoidal expanse of metal trim that juts upwards and back into the facade. I refer to these as "wedge-style" stores, and this likely represents the last era in which consistent store designs were used across all of Kroger's regional divisions:

[Kroger store] [Kroger store]

5 River Walk Mall, South Charleston, WV
2011

Opened in 1989.

[Kroger store]

981 Dunbar Village, Dunbar, WV
2011

Built in the 1990s on the site of a superstore that had opened in 1973.

[Kroger store]

3311 N. Sterling Ave., Peoria, IL
2016

Built in 1991, and located next door to its 1970s superstore predecessor.

[Kroger store]

2641 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI
2019

Opened by 1995, replacing a 1974 store a couple kilometres away. Not a wedge store, but a representative example of where the company's store designs were going in the 1990s.







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Last update 26 August 2019.