Billings, MT Old Store Photos

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storewanderer
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Billings, MT Old Store Photos

Post by storewanderer »

Current news article but scroll down- and tons of great old photos.
https://billingsgazette.com/news/local/ ... cb4f9.html

Also I am wondering what Safeway division those Billings Stores were a part of- seems like they could have been either Denver or Seattle... given Denver goes all the way out to Rapid City to the northeast. I know they weren't part of Salt Lake City.
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Super S
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Re: Billings, MT Old Store Photos

Post by Super S »

Great set of photos. I always found it interesting how relatively late (1987 in that article) Safeway stuck with mechanical cash registers compared to other chains, even the IGA in that article had scanners in 1981. Most stores by the mid 1980s had at least non-scanning electronic registers.
jleyerle
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Re: Billings, MT Old Store Photos

Post by jleyerle »

I still remember being surprised that between 1987 and 1989 on a trip to Albuquerque that one of the in-town Marina stores (on a north/south street, FWIW) still had the Sweda mechanical cash registers. At that point, I was traveling widely (mystery shopper for KFC so was literally in suburbia from coast-to-coast) and literally hadn't seen a mechanical cash register at a chain supermarket in years. Kroger in St. Louis (before they left in 1985) was 50% scanning, 50% TEC electronic (oddly they moved from mechanical Anker which were very sophisticated--with multiple tax rates, automatic stamp dispensers, change machines to the really simplistic TEC electronics); by that time Schnucks, National and Dierbergs were 100% scanning (Schnucks went from NCR mechanical to Datachecker scanning all at once; Dierbergs that I saw were new builds from 1980 onward with 100% scanning, National used Datachecker but probably had some stores scanning and some not scanning.
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storewanderer
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Re: Billings, MT Old Store Photos

Post by storewanderer »

I guess Safeway did not do register updates, because they did not expect to keep the stores... Homeland in OK/KS did not have scanning until the mid to late 90's, it was probably one of the last chains to make that move. Or maybe that honor goes to Trader Joe's.

In the late 80's, every Safeway I ever went into out west either had IBMs or some ICLs (I think it was). By about 1992 it was all IBM. I think Vons kept the ICLs until the late 90's when Safeway's newer IBMs were installed.

The last store I recall having the old mechanical cash registers was Thrifty Drug who then in 1992 those got the boot and were replaced with newer IBMs - however the ice cream counter kept the old mechanical register for a while longer, perhaps until Rite Aid bought the chain.
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Super S
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Re: Billings, MT Old Store Photos

Post by Super S »

storewanderer wrote: 19 Aug 2021 03:38 I guess Safeway did not do register updates, because they did not expect to keep the stores... Homeland in OK/KS did not have scanning until the mid to late 90's, it was probably one of the last chains to make that move. Or maybe that honor goes to Trader Joe's.

In the late 80's, every Safeway I ever went into out west either had IBMs or some ICLs (I think it was). By about 1992 it was all IBM. I think Vons kept the ICLs until the late 90's when Safeway's newer IBMs were installed.

The last store I recall having the old mechanical cash registers was Thrifty Drug who then in 1992 those got the boot and were replaced with newer IBMs - however the ice cream counter kept the old mechanical register for a while longer, perhaps until Rite Aid bought the chain.
I do recall a Safeway in Mountain Home, Idaho, in the mid 1980s, going straight from mechanical cash registers to ICL/Datachecker registers with scanners, it was a couple years later that store was sold to Albertsons.

And there was one Safeway which had scanning NCR registers in Sandpoint, Idaho. I understand they took over another grocer at that location and kept their registers.

As for the last large store I recall with mechanical registers, it was the Fred Meyer in Longview, WA. The oddity is that grocery had Scanners (NCR 2152), apparel had non-scanning NCR 2152s, but the variety end had mechanical registers. At one point in the late 80s (1989-1990) they took over a vacant building (where the Fred Meyer gas station is today) and moved sporting goods, auto, and home into the separate building. Although they did get IBM 4683 registers storewide by the end of the remodel, the home building used the mechanical registers from the variety end for the first couple months it was open.

The last mechanical register I remember in service was at a local Maytag shop which closed about 3-4 years ago.
jleyerle
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Re: Billings, MT Old Store Photos

Post by jleyerle »

there's an old-school sporting goods store (mostly team sports, specifically wrestling) in the next suburb that still has their mechanical cash register...they have so little stock except for wrestling gear but it's a fun anachronism.
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Re: Billings, MT Old Store Photos

Post by explorersea »

Great pictures and history in the Billings newspaper mentioned above, I can provide some history about Safeway in Montana and POS (Point of Sale) questions

Montana stores used to be their own division until they merged with the Spokane division. I can't remember the year that the Spokane division merged with Seattle. There were quite a few Safeways sprinkled through Montana, many of them closed until there were just 12 left, in 1989 the only stores remaining were 2 in Missoula, Whitefish, Anaconda, 2 in Butte, Hamilton, Bozeman, Dillon, Helena, Polson and Deer Lodge.

In 1981 money was still tight, even the new Billings store on 24th was opened with DTS machines. As we know the Billings stores all closed latter 1980s, just too much competition.

I was part of a team that installed scanning in the remaining Montana non scanning stores. Seattle executives were questioning whether Anaconda, the Front street Butte store, Hamilton, Dillon, Polson and Deer Lodge would be profitable thus they received IBM refurbished IBM 3660 POS (IBM completed the refurbishment and installation). The Massachusetts street Butte store, and Bozeman received new IBM 4680 POS.

On a previous post someone asked about a store in Sandpoint Idaho that was acquired and ran with NCR POS for some time, the POS ordered for Sandpoint was rerouted to the Silverdale Washington store instead, a move that everyone would regret later as supporting a one off POS system was problematic.
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