More memories of former A&P groceries, plus a location correction
In April, I’d shared a letter from reader Linda Arnold about a grocery-store chain that used to be in York County – A&P.
Commenter Butch, among others, though, points out that the location of the A&P was a bit different than we originally thought, and another reader shared something I hadn’t realized about the company’s name.
Regarding the location, Butch says, “The Salvation Army store on Haines Road was a Weis Market, it was never the A&P. Weis and K-Mart had the center specifically built for them in the 60’s. If you want to know where the A&P was just look at Party City & Chuck E. Cheese.”
Katie writes, “I agree with Butch who said the store on Haines Road prior to being a Salvation Army had been a WEIS Market, not an A&P. My sister worked there from 1976-77.” (Reader Nancy B., who worked at the Weis during the ’70s, agreed as well.)
And longtime commenter Bill Schmeer agreed that it was not an A&P there either, and added some fun information about the Kmart in that center and its grocery presence: “I don’t remember the A&P inhabiting the store that now houses the Salvation Army Store, but I do know that the supermarket was part of the Kmart when the store was built. Curiously, there was a brick wall about 5-6 feet high that separated the food section from the non-food section. If you were shopping in Kmart and wanted to go into the food section, you had to check out of the one section, leave the store to go into the food section next door. The reason for all of this was a federal law that prohibited food from being sold in the same area as department store merchandise. I think it was the intermingling of food items with items from the clothing or automotive areas in the same shopping cart, because, every Kmart had a little sit-down food court area with booths and counters, just as the old 5&10s used to have.”
He adds, “Incidentally, for the trivia addicted, A&P is also the parent company of Pathmark, which is also still in existence in the Philadelphia-New Jersey area. The company also has two other grocery chains, Super Fresh and Waldbaums, along with a chain of liquor stores called Best Cellars. Unfortunately, they have also recently filed Chapter 11.
Bill Landes, meanwhile, brought up another A&P location altogether. He writes, “What about the A and P on the 200 block of West Philadelphia across from where the White Rose Grill is today?”
Reader Connie Morningstar not only remembered that, she was an employee! She says, “I worked for A & P for twelve years starting in high school. I worked at the 450 E. Philadelphia St. where the York Nursery is today. In those days we did not have scanners and sometimes we did not have power for the conveyor belt to bring groceries to the cash register. We used a wood framework of some kind with a handle. I remember the coffee smelling so good when you ground the coffee for the customer at the register. We also had these wire shopping carts for people to take groceries home. The carts were rounded with 2 wheels and some type of metal feet on the front. They were always a challenge being rounded and not square. You could put at least 6 brown paper bags in them if you were good at packing. This stored closed and moved to the strip mall between Queen and Duke St. by the old railroad station. We also had an A & P on Edgar Street and one at the York Mall where Panera Bread and Chuck E. Cheese are.”
And finally, in the mail came a letter from Mary Kurman of Stewartstown. Mary writes about some other A&Ps around the county and shared a photo, too.
Mary writes that the photo above is of her mother, in front of a store and behind the snowdrifts, in a Feb. 18, 1958 image. She says this store, at West Pennsylvania Avenue and South Main Street in Stewartstown, was originally an A&P, with a 5- and 10-cent store in the other side of the building.
She said she remembers several such smaller A&P stores – really mom-and-pop style places in York County – “in Red Lion, Glen Rock, Stewartstown and one I believe in the downtown area of York,” the last of which is the one mentioned above by Connie and Bill L.!
Mary continues, “My father became manager of the A&P in Stewartstown around 1928-29 until he became ill, then my mother managed it until the A&P Co. closed it in Feb. 1955. She then opened her own grocery store – ‘Norris Grocery’ – in the same location. She retired from business in 1980. The store in Glen Rock closed around the same time and possibly the others did too.”
She says at one time, there was an A&P in the Dairyland Square shopping center near Red Lion, which operated under the Super Fresh brand that Bill S. mentioned above. That spot is now home to the Jerry’s Great Valu supermarket.
Finally, Mary shared something that I would never have thought to ask. Do you know what A&P stands for? It’s The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, which Mary correctly remembered. And if you’d like to read even more, well, there’s a decade-by-decade history of the chain here.
So who knew we’d turn up so much on the A&P?