Colonial Stores in Florida

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pokemonprime
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Colonial Stores in Florida

Post by pokemonprime » 31 Mar 2021 18:39

Colonial Stores has always been one of those chains that, while found all across the South, seemed to not want to touch Florida. But, they did have a presence, however limited.

Under the Colonial nameplate, they had a very limited presence, no more than 4 stores in Tallahassee. The first store to open was in 1949, and is a little conflicted. One newspaper source says it was the successor to a Rogers store, but permits indicate that the Colonial building was built from the ground up. This store would close quietly around 1965- when it disappears from ads, at least- and was later demolished around 2015. The site is now an empty lot, with the store's old parking lot in use as metered downtown parking. An ironic fate for a store which once advertised it's free parking. A store at 1847 W Tennessee St, in the Varsity Shopping Center, would open in July 1965. It appears to now be subsumed into a Target. There were two other stores in this area, at the Miracle Plaza Shopping Center and the Parkway Shopping Center. Miracle Plaza would quietly disappear from ads sometime in 1973, with Varsity and Parkway being the last two stores. The latest newspaper ad under the Colonial nameplate dates to March 26, 1975. The 1847 W Tennessee store would re-open as Big Star on April 9, 1975.

The Big Star Foods nameplate seems to have first hit Florida in 1971, with the opening of a Tampa store. 1972 saw three stores, one new built (1801 S Semoran) and two former Allied Food Stores (2153 W Colonial and 433 S Hwy 17-92) open in the Orlando area on November 12, 1972. The W Tennessee store would also relocate later, to 1964 W Tennessee. Finally, there were around 12 further locations in the Jacksonville area, but due to a lack of archived papers, I haven't been able to find addresses for any of those. I might dig through county records later, but I believe Duval County also has issues in that department. Here's the list of addresses I have found:

4501 66th St N, St Petersburg
9450 9th St N, St Petersburg
2905 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa
8203 N Florida Ave, Tampa
1600 W Brandon Blvd, Brandon
4124 14th St W, Bradenton
1005 US Hwy 19 S, New Port Richey*
~26996 US-19, Clearwater**
1000 Missouri Ave N, Largo
2153 W Colonial Dr, Orlando
1801 S Semoran Blvd, Orlando
433 S Hwy 17-92, Fern Park***
1847 W Tennessee St, Tallahassee
1964 W Tennessee St, Tallahassee

*Addresses in New Port Richey along US Hwy 19 *never* seem to resolve right. Any ideas with this one?
**This is the address for the Kmart it was next to and eventually absorbed by. Every mention just gave its address as "US-19 & SR 850".
***No evidence of Big Star or Kmart around here... BUT Lowes, built on the site of a 90s-closed Kmart, can be found at 6735 S Hwy 17-92. So I'd bet it was here and things got re-numbered at some point

8 stores on the "Suncoast" of Florida, 2 in St Petersburg, 2 in Tampa, and 1 each in Clearwater, Largo, Brandon, and Bradenton, would close on July 3, 1978 to be sold to Grand Union. One cited reason was that Colonial's nearest warehouse, in South Georgia, was simply too far out to profitably supply the stores. Three of the stores, 2905 N Dale Mabry, 8303 N Florida, and 1620 W Brandon, would all close on July 28, 1979 due to unprofitability. The last newspaper ad for the Orlando area stores was April 11, 1979. The next mention I can find after this is a fixtures sale ad in 1983, so either this seller sat on the fixtures for a few years, or Big Star completely stopped advertising in major papers such as The Orlando Sentinel after 1979.

12 stores- 8 in Jacksonville, 2 in Orange Park, and 1 each in Fernandina Beach and Lake City, would close and be sold to Pantry Pride in November 1981. The store at 3521 Thomasville Rd in Tallahassee would close on January 30, 1982. The W Tennessee location would follow on April 10, 1982.

My main goal now is to try and dig up the Jacksonville-area locations, and also check through the addresses to see if any remnants remain.

Steve Landry
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Re: Colonial Stores in Florida

Post by Steve Landry » 01 Apr 2021 08:23

I remember when that happened with Pantry Pride!

That's the year I quit and told the President that he would be bankrupt in a couple of years!

I took a position at King Soopers in Denver!

;-)
The Food Fair Empire

rich
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Re: Colonial Stores in Florida

Post by rich » 01 Apr 2021 10:02

Colonial had a Jacksonville Division as of 1970. The chain had been closing stores in Ohio from the mid-60s, at the outer edges of its territory there (places like Mansfield, Fremont and Lima) and had sold its Indiana stores back to their former owners in the last 50s, but otherwise seemed to be at its geographic peak around then. I would focus on doing your research on that Division---it would not have had many stores in Georgia because of the geography---south Georgia is thinly populated. The Jacksonville Division probably was the base for opening stores further south in Florida.

Colonial also had a long history in Tallahassee, going back to the 40s or 50s.

Colonial operated a lot of discount store leased or franchised departments around this time, so they may also have had KMart or Zayre Food locations in Florida. If Richway or Treasury/Treasure Island had stores in Florida, Colonial probably had associated food stores with them. Allied Supermarkets (based in Detroit) had an odd relationship with KMart---they had KMart Foods in some areas of the Southeast and Midwest, but let other chains get the franchise in some areas---National Tea had some random KMart Foods locations in the Midwest and while Allied had the franchise in Colonial's base in Atlanta, Colonial had it in other areas. These stores were essentially Big Star with a different name. Big Stars were started around 1963, although it wasn't until later in teh 60s that a lot of stores were converted to or opened under the Big Star name.

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Groceteria
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Re: Colonial Stores in Florida

Post by Groceteria » 01 Apr 2021 18:02

If only there were a website that had historical location lists from cities in Florida and around the country :)

https://www.groceteria.com/place/florida/

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Groceteria
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Re: Colonial Stores in Florida

Post by Groceteria » 03 Apr 2021 11:19

This is really good and detailed stuff. Thanks! Hoping the address lists posted on the site will be helpful and maybe save you some legwork going forward!

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