NEW: Little Rock, 1925-2021

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Andrew T.
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Re: NEW: Little Rock, 1925-2021

Post by Andrew T. »

National's tenure in the market was brief, but they left quite the relic behind: A store with a pylon, gable roof, and fieldstone exterior that's now a church! The shopping-centre location at 2639 Pike Ave also has a pylon, and it's still in use by its current supermarket tenant, Save-a-Lot.

Safeway left behind quite a physical legacy as well. Combing through the list, I found a 1940s store that's now a tony pizzeria...and another at 316 N Maple that's now nothing in particular.
There's an early-1950s store with ridged brick details at 1012 S Battery St (the pylon has been removed, but the building is otherwise intact)...and another at 2100 Pike Ave!

I found intact Marina stores (1919 W 12th St, 4110 W 12th St, and 901 W 33rd St (in North Little Rock). A circa-1960 gable at 3720 E Broadway. And a decently-intact 1980s store at 8900 Geyser Springs.

But the most interesting artifact might be at 2307 S Arch St: It's a relic with ornate columns and a pitched roof that remind me slightly of Safeway's 1930s Canadian store design. According to the chart, this was originally a Clarence Saunders store. A second ex-Safeway at 1418 Main even has Spanish tile edging...although I'm unclear of the timeframe for this store. The size and styling both look late-1930s to me, but the location isn't listed as a Safeway in the table until 1958.
"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."
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Andrew T.
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Re: NEW: Little Rock, 1925-2021

Post by Andrew T. »

Now, for Kroger:

A long-lived store (listed in the table as operating from 1930-58, or even longer) was located at 2722 S Arch St. The building itself features rather elaborate brickwork and the bas-relief inscription "19 WILD 25." I'd be curious to see if the location is listed under the Wild name in the 1925 directory...though given the lead time required for construction and canvassing, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't earn a listing until 1927 at earliest.

The store at 3015 W. Markham (a Kroger in 1935, and Black & White in 1940-44) has a similar inscription with the message "19 ALLEN 31."

There's an intact 1940s store with a corner entrance at 1122 W 3rd St. 1815 Wright Ave is a good example of Kroger's early-1950s design, while a store at 824 W Capitol of similar vintage still has the roof-mounted pole for a vertical sign.

In addition to a being the site of a Kroger store, 7501 Baseline is also the location of a perfectly-intact (and run down) 1960s shopping centre.

1100 E Roosevelt Rd is an odd site. A Kroger store has been in operation there from 1965 to the present...but the 1960s store might have been in the building next door to the current one. The current store has a very odd layout in any case, with a narrow frontage and very deep aisles.

6420 Colonel Glenn Rd is a must-see Frankenstein store that's open to this day! Near as I can tell, this was originally a 1970s Superstore that was paired with Wal-Mart and an adjacent drugstore. The facade was surfaced in a rough pebble-like facing rather than the usual dark brown brick used for these stores. In the early 1980s it seems that Kroger annexed the drugstore, and gave the building a Greenhouse facade. (It also was branded as "Kroger Sav-On," at least for a few years.) The greenhouse glass was later covered over, but its form remains today. The store has a cube sign, an 1980s-holdover "Pharmacy" sign, labelscar from a left-offset Kroger sign, and an adjacent shopping centre that retains the characteristic 1970s Superstore column look.

Oddly enough, the pebble-like facing seems to have been standard across the board for all of Little Rock's Superstores...and there are three examples that survive in operation. 8824 Geyer Springs Rd follows suit, with a cube sign to boot. 4401 Camp Robinson Road has pebble facing, a cube sign, a strange tacked-on interpretation of a Greenhouse facade, and an 1980s "Pharmacy" sign in red-on-white. All of these are excellent relics, with interesting combinations of elements from different eras.

It's too bad that the store at 315 N Shackleford Rd closed around 2014 and had a facadectomy five years later; it was a well-preserved Greenhouse until then.

I think this might also be the first city I've looked at in depth where both Safeway Marinas and Kroger Superstores co-existed.
"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
Steve Landry
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Re: NEW: Little Rock, 1925-2021

Post by Steve Landry »

Love all your work!!!

:-)
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rich
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Re: NEW: Little Rock, 1925-2021

Post by rich »

The Nationals were part of their Memphis division which ran ‘55-‘67. They also had stores in Nashville. The Division began with an acquisition in Memphis, followed by another one in Nashville. It looks like the Little Rock stores wer new builds during the early years. I came across an old govt report that documented that they consistently lost money and tried to underprice in this division without success, relying on income from several high profit divisions, Denver being one that I recall.
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