NEW: St Louis, 1933-1975

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Groceteria
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NEW: St Louis, 1933-1975

Post by Groceteria »

Brand new, but with some caveats: https://www.groceteria.com/place/us-missouri/st-louis/

The big issue is that I somehow managed not to end up with the Kroger, National, and Bettendorf-Rapp listings for 1966 and 1970. I hope to correct that by the end of the summer.
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Re: NEW: St Louis, 1933-1975

Post by Andrew T. »

Fascinating! I hadn't realized before how late National's entrance into the St. Louis market was...which makes their success and longevity there even more of a surprise. Contrast this with National's disastrous ad-hoc expansion into Michigan during the exact same era.

I found this 1995 article on St. Louis supermarkets, and it helps fill in a number of details:

* Schnucks' first store was a "confectionery" located at 3968 Labadie Avenue, and it opened in 1939. This location appears in the 1946 column, so it may have been converted to an actual grocery-store format by this time.

* National's aforementioned entrance into St. Louis came by buying out the local Food Center chain in 1953.

* Bettendorf-Rapp was in fact a division of Allied Supermarkets (aka Wrigley)! That's a company that I can always count on popping up in places I least expect it to. I wonder if they lasted long enough to run the Kmart Food stores in St. Louis? Or did National run those, like they did in Milwaukee?

* It seems that there ought to have been Rapp stores in St. Louis prior to Bettendorf's and Rapp's 1958 merger, but none are listed in the table. Is the '50s data incomplete, or was Rapp a non-St. Louis chain?

* It's fascinating how the stores of just about every vanquished St. Louis chain ended up in the hands of Schnucks. Bettendorf-Rapp? Sold in 1970 to Schnucks. A&P? Sold most of their stores to National, who sold to Schnucks. Kroger? Auctioned off its stores in 1986, with most going to Schnucks or National (who sold to Schnucks). National? Schnucks. Once the research gets fleshed out more, it'll be revealing to see just how many of Schnucks' stores started out in the hands as of another retailer.

* I've heard that St. Louis was one of Kroger's oldest expansion markets, so it may be worth checking the directories from 1920 or even 1915 to see just how long ago their history as a chain goes.
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Re: NEW: St Louis, 1933-1975

Post by Groceteria »

St Louis is now updated to include the missing listings from 1966 and 1970:

https://www.groceteria.com/place/us-missouri/st-louis/
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Re: NEW: St Louis, 1933-1975

Post by Andrew T. »

There's a nice National pylon store at 1420 Montgomery Street, similar to the ones I dug up in Michigan. And the labelscar from the original diamond-shaped sign is still visible!

There are bound to be other gems in this list as well. It'll take a long time to sort through them all.
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Re: NEW: St Louis, 1933-1975

Post by rich »

Betterdorf and Rapp were separate chains that were combined by Allied. They bought Rapp first in 1956 and then Bettendorf in 1958. Th
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Re: NEW: St Louis, 1933-1975

Post by jleyerle »

Grew up in St. Louis during the 60s/70s. This is good info. From the above, I am not sure whether there were any K-Mart Foods in St. Louis, though Allied sold off Bettendorf Rapp in about 1970, plus was a relatively upscale store (they had unusual typography in their newspaper ads, for example)which would have eliminated any particular synergy about them running K-Mart Foods.

Schnucks did supply Venture Foods (co-located with Venture Stores, which was May Department Stores' discount chain) in the 70s.
Target was also in St. Louis, and had groceries in their earliest stores. I'm not sure who supplied them.

With both Venture and Target in St. Louis quite early, K-Mart had a really downscale image.
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