Saturday Evening Post History Minute: The Evolution of the Grocery Store from Corner Market to Colossus

How did the grocery store evolve from small hometown shops to the behemoths we know today?

Grocer and Minneapolis putting up marketing signs outside of his store.
Store clerk in Minneapolis (Library of Congress)

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Featured image: Store clerk in Minneapolis (Library of Congress)

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  1. I agree it was an interesting video, and you covered most of the significant “upgrades” and advances in grocery stores. You did miss one though – Fred Meyer pioneered the multiple checkstands and the “one-stop” shop that merged clothing, drug-variety, grocery and restaurant into one store.

    Working for Fred in the 60’s was a challenge – he loved to wander into a store to make sure everyone was doing their job, and his step-son Earl Chiles was a gem of a man who continues to influence generations through the foundation he began in 1949.

    Don Farr

  2. I aree. Even in the UK the giants have taken over. Conveient, I guess for today’s living.
    Perhaps, maybe, after this pan demic, thinks will slow down but somehow I doubt it!

  3. Pretty interesting video on the evolution of the corner market to the ‘colossus’ stores of today. Interesting how ‘Safeway’ got it’s name. There are so many stores that have come and gone over the years. ‘Piggly Wiggly’ was around when I was a kid, but seemed to disappear (in L.A. anyway) by the late ’60s. Since then Alpha Beta, Food Giant, Market Basket, Lucky to name several.

    One interesting thing I’ve noticed over the past 12 years or so is how Walmart has “come up” as being a much more serious competitor to Target. The way the stores are organized, the merchandise quality, selection and more. The check-out experience is better at Walmart. The biggest glaring difference are the prices. Target is a lot more expensive. If you shop at Target, you might want to check out the equivalent jacket (or whatever) at Walmart and be pleasantly surprised! I actually don’t even bother anymore. I live in between 2 great Walmarts: Woodland Hills and Porter Ranch.

    Love that parking lot shot between 3:13-3:22. A ’59 Ford & Plymouth, ’61 Ford wagon, ’61 Biscayne, ’64 Dart and Comet. It was a future classic car show no one realized at the time. Today’s generic, look-alike transportation appliances just don’t lend themselves to that. No.


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