List of Missouri and Illinois Kroger stores from 1979

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List of Missouri and Illinois Kroger stores from 1979

Post by Andrew T. » 26 Sep 2016 23:09

While browsing newspaper archives from 1979, I found an advertising supplement containing something extremely interesting: A list of addresses for Kroger stores in Missouri and downstate Illinois.

The list isn't exhaustive: It's limited to stores that were in the distribution areas of the six smaller-city papers that carried the supplement, and it no more than scratches the surface of the states. Nevertheless, this gives an excellent look at what Kroger's store base was like at the height of the Superstore era, in a part of the country the chain curtailed its presence in later on.
kro-mo-il-79.jpg
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

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Re: List of Missouri and Illinois Kroger stores from 1979

Post by Andrew T. » 26 Sep 2016 23:16

Here are the locations included in the list as well as their building styles and current statuses, as deduced by a couple hours poking around on Google Maps:

MISSOURI

12750 Manchester, Des Peres, MO
--Unclear where to place this one. It's possible that it was part of the West County Center mall, which was demolished and rebuilt in 2001-02.

Big Bend & Hwy 141, Twin Oaks, MO
--Kroger Sav-On store with rounded corners; still stands in original condition. Most recently a Schnucks, but now vacant.

Clayton & Clarkson, Ellisville, MO
--Superstore; now a Savers thrift store. Painted and remodeled, but still recognizable.

Gravois at Mackenzie, Affton, MO
--Kroger Sav-On store with rounded corners; now an O'Reilly auto parts store.

Hwy 141 at Hwy 67, Arnold, MO
--Unclear where to place this one; none of the nearby buildings look obviously like a Kroger.

235 Hwy 175, O'Fallon, MO
--Kroger Sav-On store with rounded corners; most recently a thrift store, now vacant. Street is now known as "Veterans Memorial Parkway."

2021 Independence, Cape Girardeau, MO
--Might have been a Family Center. Demolished and replaced by a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

2306 Missouri Blvd, Jefferson City, MO
--What appears to have been a Superstore that was subsumed into an adjacent Kmart as an addition. Looks very odd, with the scars of the canopy still clearly visible on the facade.

ILLINOIS

200 N Grand, Springfield, IL
--An unusual facade with widely-spaced vertical channels (wider than those on a Superstore) makes me wonder if this was also built as a Kroger Family Center. Now remodeled, and selling groceries as a Shop 'n Save supermarket.

1755 Wabash, Springfield, IL
--A Shop 'n Save supermarket now stands on the site, but it appears to be a new building.

1216 S 2nd, Springfield, IL
--Appears to have been demolished. A 3-story state office building now stands on the block.

1501 S Dirksen Pkwy, Springfield, IL
--Kroger Sav-On store with rounded corners; still selling groceries as a Shop 'n Save supermarket. A more elaborate facade has been tacked on to part of the front.

3013 N Sterling, Peoria, IL
--Superstore; still stands in original (albeit painted) condition as Big Lots. The shopping center is architecturally homogenous, and has a second set of superstore arches over the walkway at the opposite end.

901 West Lake, Peoria, IL
--This address was later the site of an experimental Kmart (now closed) with creepy green faces.
A Kroger still stands on an outlot at 801 West Lake, but it looks modern and does not appear to be the 1979-era store.

3103 W Harmon Hwy, Peoria, IL
--Still a Kroger today, but refronted and renovated beyond recognition.

1405 W Garfield, Bartonville, IL
--Superstore (probably a SupeRx combination) that's still a Kroger store today. The facade has been extensively remodeled, but some of the original columns are still intact. An unusual texture of decorative blocks is visible on the side wall.

900 South Main, E Peoria, IL
--1950s-era store with an expansion visible overhead; now home to a window and siding company.

2321 N Wisconsin, Peoria, IL
--A Kroger still stands on the site today, but it's been either rebuilt or refronted and renovated beyond recognition. Part of the adjacent shopping center still retains superstore-style columns, and another part retains a circa-1960 look...making the property look like a Frankenstein.

30th & Broadway, Quincy, IL
--Unclear. A Staples store and a vacant supermarket-size store stand on opposite sides of the street, but neither looks like a Kroger to me.

2811 Belt Line East, Alton, IL
--Kroger Sav-On store with rounded corners; still stands in original condition selling groceries as a Schnucks supermarket. Street is now known as "Homer M. Adams Parkway."

5771 Godfrey Rd, Godfrey, IL
--Superstore; still stands in original condition.
This store's fate is an interesting case. I surmise that it closed as a Kroger when the St. Louis division was shuttered in the 1980s. Then it spent time as an independent market, then it spent time with a non-grocery tenant, then it went vacant...then it reopened in 2015 as a Ruler Foods store. Ruler Foods is a Kroger subsidiary, so Kroger was reunited with its superstore after a several-decade hiatus!

A picture of the building is available here.

655 Berkshire, E Alton, IL
--1950s-era red brick store. Stands vacant in original condition.

1901 E Edwardsville Rd, Wood River, IL
--Possibly built as a Family Center, judging by the massive footprint? Appears to have been gutted and renovated beyond recognition.

Rt 13 East, Carbondale, IL
--Former superstore that opened on August 15, 1976 (according to archived newspapers); appears to have been demolished and replaced by new development. An adjacent part of the shopping center still retains superstore-style columns.

1818 Walnut, Murphysboro, IL
--1950s-era store. Now houses the Murphysboro Youth & Recreation Center, with a park where part of the parking lot used to be.

1609 S Park Ave, Herrin, IL
--Still a Kroger store today, but refronted and renovated beyond recognition.

1112 N Carbon St, Marion, IL
--Superstore; now an AutoZone store. Painted and remodeled, but still clearly recognizable.

I'm surprised that Kroger built so many rounded-corner Sav-On stores in Missouri and downstate Illinois in the late 1970s. Maybe they considered the food-drug combination concept to be their Hail Mary pass for market-share recovery, before giving up on many of those markets? Who knows.

I know that Schnucks ended up with a fair number of the St. Louis stores (via National), and the Springfield, Illinois stores all seem to have ultimately gone to SuperValu's Shop 'n Save subsidiary. Peoria is the only metropolitan area on the list that still has a strong Kroger presence today.

I drive through downstate Illinois at least once a year, so I may eventually scout out pictures of some of these store locations.
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

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Re: List of Missouri and Illinois Kroger stores from 1979

Post by rich » 27 Sep 2016 14:09

National bought most of the A&Ps in the St Louis area, but I think many of the Krogers went to Shop-n-Save and Schnucks, as well as National, as that sale took place a few years later. By some reports National bought Kroger's St Louis distribution center but I think it may have been their bakery and dairy, as National had already opened a new distribution facility in St Louis not long before.

Kroger wound up combining Gerbes (part of Dillon's) and Kroger locations in mid-Missouri after the merger with Dillion, usually going with the bigger/better of the 2 chains locations and using the Gerbes name; the Jeff City Kroger may have been one that they gave up. In Columbia, they kept a new Gerbes and a Kroger greenhouse but closed a Kroger that probably dated back to the 50s or early 60s.

Schnucks and National operated a lot of combo Food-Drug stores in their St Louis territory, so they may have felt that model was what they needed to compete. The SuperXs had operated under the local Gasen's name and were spun-off in 2 different transactions during the 80s.

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Re: List of Missouri and Illinois Kroger stores from 1979

Post by jamiel » 27 Oct 2016 22:44

Lots here to digest. This was nowhere near an exhaustive list of St. Louis Kroger stores; and is not exhaustive for Southern Illinois, either. The Missouri-side stores listed here were Kroger Sav-On units (definitely Des Peres/Twin Oaks/Affton/Arnold). Others in metro STL were big superstores (although a modern superstore in Crestwood (Crestview Center; built 1973 which replaced a Kroger at Crestwood Plaza built ca 1957) isn't listed here.
I'm unsure about O'Fallon (think it was a Sav-On) and have no idea about Cape or Jefferson City. The Illinois units listed here are essentially all Superstores (at least); although the list doesn't include the (now open) small stores like Nashville or White Hall (which I would assume were open at this point). The Suburban Journals listed here would have covered the metro St. Louis stores--they were the free shopper newspapers delivered on Wednesday (which contained nearly all the food ads in St. Louis during this period--the Post-Dispatch and Globe-Democrat had lost the food advertising by that point because they couldn't offer blanket (every house) coverage.

To parse the individual stores in St. Louis: Des Peres was a Kroger Sav-On built on the SW corner of Manchester and I-270, across I-270 from West County Plaza. It was intended to compete with one of Schnucks' original stores built in their early-60s flush of pretty luxurious store building about a mile east on Manchester, also in Des Peres. The Kroger never did all that well (the denser population was east of I-270 at the time, and didn't see fit to cross I-270 for groceries) and Schnucks did a great job in those original stores (they have several still open from that era). Schnucks was very high-service at the time (cashier-unload check stands, produce weighed and priced in the produce department by a clerk). There was a Kroger about 3 miles away in downtown Kirkwood (older small superstore, built in mid 60s and remodeled to the superstore image) as well. This store became a medical facility for many years. The Manchester-I270 interchange has become completely unrecognizable (I've moved away) and I believe the building is still there, but if it hadn't closed then it certainly wouldn't be a grocery store now because ingress/egress is miserable. More to come.

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Re: List of Missouri and Illinois Kroger stores from 1979

Post by jamiel » 28 Oct 2016 17:59

Big Bend/141 was new build Sav-On; the flagship National was a couple miles north at Manchester/141. The neighborhood there to the south was Valley Park (flood zone, not affluent)but there was a good bit of new residential going in in the area.
Clayton/Clarkston--affluent suburbia.
Affton was new-build about 1976, inner-ring suburb. About 1/2 mile closer into the city was a centennial A&P, about a mile further west was National in a classic 1960 strip center (Grasso Plaza) but that National was completely up to date (parking in the strip center was a pain, though). There were several Schnucks stores on the parallel streets about a mile north (66) or a mile south of Gravois (Lindbergh). The store was slightly inset from the corner of Gravois and Mackenzie (NE corner) leaving an old Dairy Queen and a two-level store (PN Hirsch which was a dime store/jr department store) in front of/side of the store.

Kroger had trouble gaining traction in St. Louis during the 70s. They went in early to some of the regional malls (River Roads, Crestwood Plaza) but had pretty small stores until the superstore era. They opened a superstore (Crestview) right across from the Crestwood Plaza store (which became a Tipton appliance store) which never did that well (Crestwood preferred the Schnucks which was a pretty elegant store with high service (cashier-unload check stands, restaurant/coffee shop, in-store bakery, deli, service meat, bulk produce weighed in the produce department--their 1960s prototype). They gave Top Value stamps until about 1977--long after Schnucks gave up Pink Stamps (National kept Eagle stamps even longer--until about 1981). My mom shopped at the Crestview store and I remember going there with her and getting to figure out whether the 20 lb or 9 lb 13 ounce All was a better buy, and grinding the Spotlight coffee. Once I began to drive, I had to take on the grocery shopping and traveled a little further afield to the Affton Kroger Sav-On (can you say I enjoyed it...) and the National at Grasso Plaza. Kroger and A&P had trouble competing with Schnucks and National, both of which had invested more in better stores, and Dierberg's started opening in the late 70s which were super-plush stores (carpeted, cooking schools, ...).

Back to the situation in Crestwood--the Kroger closed when they left the market; the store became a building goods store for about 15 years and ultimately became an Aldi. The Schnucks gradually became more and more obsolescent (it was probably 27,000 sqft which was gigantic for the early 60s but obsolescent by the 90s) although they had a monopoly on the neighborhood--the city was increasingly leaking food sales to the surrounding (nicer) communities (which was important because Crestwood was a sales-tax keeper with the mall there). There was a store built from scratch about 1992 across from Crestwood Plaza (on the 66 Drive In grounds) which was a mystery store---it could have been either a Schnucks, National or Dierberg's. It turned out to be the flagship National (last store built by them in St. Louis, I believe) which was heavily based on Loblaw's architecture, so it was a real showplace. Then, when National left in 1996 Schnucks snapped up the store and closed the old store (redeveloped into a Kohl's).

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Re: List of Missouri and Illinois Kroger stores from 1979

Post by Andrew T. » 28 Oct 2016 19:37

It's great to hear from a local expert! Feel free to add any information you want to share.
jamiel wrote:To parse the individual stores in St. Louis: Des Peres was a Kroger Sav-On built on the SW corner of Manchester and I-270, across I-270 from West County Plaza. [...] The Manchester-I270 interchange has become completely unrecognizable (I've moved away) and I believe the building is still there, but if it hadn't closed then it certainly wouldn't be a grocery store now because ingress/egress is miserable.
From the sound of the description, Des Peres may have been here, in the building now addressed as 1050 Old Des Peres Road: The aerial footprint is supermarket-size, and it has rear loading docks. The facade would have been changed, however, and the building no longer has rounded corners (assuming this was a typical Sav-On).
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

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Re: List of Missouri and Illinois Kroger stores from 1979

Post by jamiel » 29 Oct 2016 15:12

That's correct. That was the K-SO. About a mile south on Old Des Peres Road is an osteopathic hospital, so this is a reasonable location for a orthopedic practice/store. They have changed the traffic flow so dramatically in that area that it's tough for those like me who have moved away to get around. In the day, no one would have understood where "Old Des Peres Road" was. West County Center (other side of the highway) was built on an old drive-in theatre site and was originally a Famous-Barr/JCPenney single-level mall with the classic May Department Stores round building (believe they built them also in Cleveland and LA in that timeframe)...they also had them at Northwest Plaza and South County Center in St. Louis. Just south of here was Four Winds Farm, which Schnucks used as their private label for dairy/eggs (and was a popular kids tour place---I vaguely remember going in roughly 1970 to see the chicks). It seems like the different main roads out of downtown were either Schnucks roads (Manchester, Watson/Rte 66) or were National/Kroger/A&P (Broadway/Telegraph, Gravois). Schnucks (the dominant grocer since forever) built their first supermarkets in the early 50s (The one on Manchester Rd in Rock Hill became one of the first Aldi-Benner stores in the late 70s), then accelerated in the early 60s by building a single prototype which were real showplaces for the time--deli, bakery, service meat, coffee shop...(a few you can still see in some of the second-ring suburbs--the store at Spoede/Olive is a relatively classic example--big front windows with draperies (!) , pink as far as the eye could see (they even issued Pink Stamps).

They took over Bettendorf-Rapp's in about 1970(itself a division of Allied Supermarkets of Detroit which was a combination of Rapp's (which was older, smaller-stored/inner ring suburbs) and Bettendorf's (which had showplaces out in the second-ring suburbs up and down Lindbergh Blvd--examples at Clayton/Lindbergh, Manchester just east of Lindbergh and Lindbergh/Watson) and kept the stores they could use and divested of those they couldn't (retained and still have Clayton/Lindbergh, kept Manchester east of Lindbergh for awhile (it's now part of the Toyota dealer after Schnucks built a big store at Manchester/Woodlawn) and closed Lindbergh/Watson immediately (it became Heritage House Smorgasbord for a long time and was scraped for the Ross strip center). Schnucks also was able to get the Venture Foods (May Dept Stores discount division) contract so opened those stores in the early 70s throughout the region. They went from strength to strength in the 70s and 80s.

One interesting tidbit-they went straight from cash registers (big old NCRs) to scanning in about 1980 (no intermediate step of electronic cash registers. Both National and Schnucks did a flash cut over to them--Kroger had scanning in the Sav-On stores but TEC cash registers in the superstores.

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Re: List of Missouri and Illinois Kroger stores from 1979

Post by jleyerle » 23 Dec 2020 09:25

An update--Crestwood Plaza, which was a superregional mall which closed finally about 10 years ago after limping along, was scraped about 5 years ago (looks like a big prairie) and has had several fits and starts about redevelopment, has finally had something announced--Dierbergs and one of the local homebuilders are going to split the space (57-ish acres).

A bit of a fitting end--the open-air portion of the plaza had a Kroger from 1957 until about 1973, when a Superstore was built across the street (one of the first in the division), which remained open until Kroger left the market, became a home improvement store and finally an Aldi. So, a supermarket in the mall space takes things back to 1957.

There was a Shop-n-Save about a half-mile away which was one of the ones rejected by Schnucks when Supervalu closed that division, so it remains closed...there are Dierberg stores about 3 miles south on Tesson Ferry (built roughly 1979), 5 miles northeast on Manchester in Warson Woods (replaced an old, slightly upscale strip center with Goldes, a junior department store and in-line stores), and 3 miles in toward the city on Watson

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