Detroit Sneak Preview

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Groceteria
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Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by Groceteria »

I'm still working in this section and will be adding maps, photos, and more location lists for some suburbs, but here's a sneak peek:

Detroit Chain Grocery/Supermarket Locations, 1930-1974 and 2003

Detroit Area Timeline

This will likely be the biggest location list I will ever do, because the only four cities that were larger than Detroit through most of the 20th century (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles) did not have city directories published after the late 1930s or early 1940s. There are over 2200 addresses and some of them required some extensive cross-checking. This was a major project and I'm quite proud of it.

Enjoy. I'll try to get the rest posted shortly and give it an official premiere.
mburb1981
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by mburb1981 »

Amazing job! You've included the entire city of Detroit, and with the enclave cities and the Grosse Pointes too! You sure are accurate in how big Detroit was, as it reached a peak population of almost two million in 1950. I have a few additional notes for your consideration:

*Detroit underwent a citywide address renumbering that took effect on New Year's Day 1921.
*About the street suffixes, yeah, both Detroit and many of it's suburbs have long preferred not to, in most cases, include suffixes on their street name corner signs.
*The same PDF document where I found the opening dates for Meijer's Toledo-area stores also lists these opening dates for their city of Detroit stores: 1301 West Eight Mile Road opened in 2013, and 21431 Grand River Avenue opened on June 14, 2015.
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by Groceteria »

Thanks! I'll update as appropriate.

There's still a lot more to come in this section, including photos, maps, and some suburban additions, among other things, but I'm taking a break this weekend.
mburb1981
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by mburb1981 »

Was going to post this on my thread, but this will do. For when you add my Downriver communities lists, I have stumbled upon a Kroger that I didn't even know exist:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/92760331@ ... datetaken/

Southgate's very first Kroger store opened at 14803-14807 Dix-Toledo in the 1950's, back when the area was still Ecorse Township. It lasted into the 60's and became Curly's Fruit Market between the 1970's and 1990's before being demolished for a Carraba's restaurant.
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Groceteria
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by Groceteria »

For those who are interested, I'm starting to add my Detroit photos to the site:

https://www.groceteria.com/place/us-mic ... o-gallery/

Should be finished by the weekend.
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Andrew T.
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Post by Andrew T. »

Excellent!
"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
rich
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by rich »

You're missing some Farmer Jack (and possibly Food Fair locations)---it may be that they didn't provide complete info in their directory listings. They had a long running store that went up after the '67 riots on 12th Street/Rosa Parks, that you have only for 2003. They also had a store on Wyoming near Seven Mile that would have dated to the 60s. I would guess there were other that weren't captured. In general, I'm kindof surprised there weren't more supers in the 50s/60s around key business districts like Grand River/Greenfield, Livernois/Seven Mile and Grand River/McNichols/Lahser in Redford. One would have expected 3-4 chains to be in and around those places. I wonder if the chains had a norm of under reporting. Some chains didn't publish listings of their individual stores in the yellow or white pages, either.
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by Groceteria »

These 2200-plus addresses have already involved literally WEEKS of work, two trips to Detroit, hours spent in a library with no HVAC in an August heatwave, and MORE hours individually cross-checking hundreds of missing C.F. Smith locations from 1935 in a colder version of that same library. This is how I spend my vacation. From my job. As a librarian.

I very much appreciate those of you who have actually recognized all that effort. I don't do this for the adoration, but because I like it. All the same, it's nice to feel that people appreciate the effort, even when it may sometimes be only 95% correct/compete. Suggestions are welcome. I want to get things right. But a little acknowledgement of what's already been done is nice, too.

I DO currently have access to the full Free Press archives, which is something that's not true for most cities, so I'm augmenting where possible and where there are things that jump out. In the later years, though, stores were often less likely to list addresses in their ads, particularly in big cities, so that will be hit and miss.

The city directories generally had some level of canvassing as part of the process, which makes them far more reliable and consistent than phone books (which are essentially useless) but there are always issues, again particularly in bigger cities. Unfortunately, I do not have access to the full directories for cross-checking addresses as they have not been digitized and I don't live anywhere near Detroit and will not likely be returning there till after the spring thaw.

So Detroit will continue to be a work in progress. I have to take a little break from it now because I've been looking at it for so long. I'm going to work on another city for a while and then take my holiday vacation (which will NOT be spent in the Detroit Public Library, with or without HVAC) and I'll be back to finish up this section after the first of the year.

Until then, most of the Detroit section is done anyway:

https://www.groceteria.com/place/us-michigan/detroit/
rich
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by rich »

In the distant past, I've done various kinds of geographically-based estimates and distributions of various things---city directories were good for residential and multi-family (they would enumerate these well even if no one was identified as a resident/tenant) housing, but the commercial stuff could be inconsistent and they seemed to rely on chain retailers and other businesses to buy listings and could be lax when they didn't.
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by jleyerle »

In the inner ring Oakland suburbs, there were a number of National supermarkets which went in roughly in 1960 which were pretty cookie cutter--barrel roofs, diamond signs, edge of town (at the time)...there's one in Algonac (granted that's not an inner-ring suburb), but also Royal Oak (Crooks/Webster) and Southfield (Greenfield/13)
ken fink
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by ken fink »

I appreciate all the work that has been done on the Detroit area. I'd like to add a little history from my family. My father, Harry Fink owned and operated Banner Market at 6921 Michigan Avenue (Michigan and Larkin). His mother and 3 partners formed the Outlet Market corporation in the 1930's. In 1931, around the time my father joined the corporation, a group of stalls on this site were enclosed with an exterior wall and roof. This enclosure was leased by Mr. Larkin to the Outlet Market Corp. Outlet consolidated into one store with the public name of Banner Market. Jacob Reisman and my father were the only two partners by the early 1940's. By the late 50's my father was the sole owner. The store remained in existence until about 1973 (my dad died in 1969, we sold the store in 1970 and it went out of existence a few years later). Banner Market was closely associated with other independents in the area. They shared advertising, marketing and often bought from a common wholesaler. Grosse Pointe Foods (Nate Shaye) was a major wholesaler for these markets and later became the owner of of a chain (was it Big Bear? How was the Borman -- Chatham/Wrigley -- family connected?). Primeat was our major pork/beef supplier. Some of the early history of Banner (Outlet) Market can be found in a Michigan Supreme Court ruling 'Cohen v. Outlet Market Co' May, 1945 311 Mich 327.

Our family considered Banner to be a 'supermarket' because we sold groceries, fresh meats butchered to order, made our own sausage, fresh baked goods (from Harnick bakery on Michigan Ave. a few blocks east of the store), fresh produce (5am runs to Eastern Market twice a week), pharmaceuticals, stationary, records, etc. In the early 60's, in the associated building behind the store, we were still selling live fowl that we butchered on site to the specifications of our customers. Most of our customers were Polish (bottles of Czarnina were always found on the top of our meat cases, whole grains were sold by the pound and 100's of cases -- 24 bottles -- of Strohs/Schmidts and Pabst were sold every Friday/Saturday)

Our closest competitors were a small A&P (across the street and a few blocks east -- towards Livernois) and later Shopping Center (across the street and a few blocks west). This was the first Shopping Center market, they later opened a store in northern suburbs and eventually re-named (I believe) as Hillers.
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