Saturday, March 17, 2018
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone, and - if you don't mind me patting myself on the back for a moment - a happy anniversary to the blog as well! Today marks the third full year that this site has been in operation, and every day of it has been a blast. I sincerely thank each and every one of you for checking back for new posts and sharing your own content and comments. As the blog has aged, I feel like my posts have evolved into several different "types," you might call them, including regular store tour (or "stour"!) posts, more in-depth feature entries, and, most recently, tables documenting "Lost Histories of Mid-South Retail." Of course, each of these "types" of posts serves a purpose - again, with the focus lately shifting to a means of uncovering and chronicling the past. But above all of that, my greatest satisfaction in running this blog comes from the interaction with you guys, the readers and commenters. So please, keep the hits and conversations coming!
To expand on that point, and in keeping with my tradition from the previous two years, here are a few statistics on the blog's viewership in its third year:
As of the time of writing, the blog is sitting at 60,862 views, way up from last year's 39,592. Unfortunately, I'm not sure when exactly the blog surpassed 50,000 pageviews, but thanks regardless to the mystery visitor :P Breaking things down into months, our highest remains December 2016 with 7,549 pageviews; since that time, the blog's viewership has dropped severely, but in all honesty I'm not completely positive what caused the spike in the first place, and I'm assuming the current levels are more normal rates, so it's all good XD Similarly, as far as individual posts are concerned, you will likely again recognize the top five contenders:
1. Mid-South Kroger Marketplace Expansion; February 2016; 1,534
2. Kmart Memphis (Bonus: Sears Poplar Avenue); March 2016; 1,380
3. BREAKING: East Memphis Kroger Closure, Target Remodels (UPDATE: and Sears Replacement); March 2016; 1,365
4. Closings and Openings in Memphis and the Mid-South; January 2016; 1,257
5. The East Memphis Kroger Trio; February 2016; 1,240
(For those who don't remember, all of those except #5 were in the top five last year, with numbers 1 and 4 remaining in the exact same positions, no less.)
Elsewhere, the blog continues to be open for contributions via our inbox at midsouthretailblog [at] gmail [dot] com. We haven't had a whole lot of true contributor posts in the last year, but we have had the privilege of being a part of several collaborations, namely on multiple spreadsheets from the certified "retail table master" Albertsons Florida Blog! In case you've missed any of those, they are listed and linked to your right in a sidebar on the desktop version of the site for quick, easy access. And as far as future posts are concerned, be on the lookout for several more tables, too! I don't want to inundate y'all with those, so they'll continue to be spread out with different "types" of posts going up in-between. Additionally, I'll soon be introducing another new series to the blog - "Beyond the Mid-South" - highlighting photos I've taken of retail in locations that fall outside of our "jurisdiction," so to speak.
In short, there's a lot happening at the Mid-South Retail Blog. I've got plenty of content lined up for y'all in the future, and am doing my best to stick to my monthly uploading schedule for every month besides February and October. As a matter of fact, I'll be working on another post this coming weekend, which will go up sometime in April, so be sure to stick around for that. And of course, once again, I thank all of you guys for your continued support! I really appreciate it :)
Until next time, and as always... have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!
Sunday, March 11, 2018
The Lost Histories of Mid-South Retail series continues today, with what is also serving as the final post of our Seessel's series. That's right - today it's time to take a closer look at Schnucks's time in the Mid-South.
I don't want to go into too much backstory here, mostly because I've written extensively about this topic before. But for summary purposes, here's a quick rundown for you. Seessel's was a local, family-owned chain of grocery stores in the Memphis area. By the late 1990s, ownership had transferred away from the family, and in 1998 the stores were sold to Albertsons. Albertsons kept the Seessel's name on the existing stores as well as the stores they built new, but for all intents and purposes, they were all just cookie-cutter Albertsons stores of the time. This didn't go over too well with Memphians, and Albertsons, seeing the writing on the wall, gave up and sold a majority of their Memphis-area stores to Schnucks in March 2002, sixteen years ago this month.
Schnucks immediately began trying to win over local customers by committing to remodeling all of the stores they had purchased. What they did simultaneously, however, would arguably overshadow their entire tenure in Memphis: Schnucks decided to ditch the generations-old Seessel's nameplate for their own. This act in itself didn't necessarily spell doom for Schnucks, but it certainly didn't help their position any, either. That said, Schnucks did seem to be more successful in the Mid-South than Albertsons had been. They even opened three new stores of their own, all in 2004. But development stalled along the way, and sales evidently stopped growing at some point as well. Nine years after Albertsons threw in the towel, Schnucks, too, sold out of Memphis, with dominant market grocer Kroger assuming ownership of nine of Schnucks's final 12 stores locally.
So that's the short version of Schnucks's reign in the Mid-South. If you're interested in more information however, by all means, please feel free to visit my other, previous posts on the matter! All of my Seessel's series posts are more or less intertwined regarding the overall timeline, so given that most of the Albertsons-owned stores later became Schnucks stores, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to check out this complete Seessel's store listing (or the full Albertsons 4700 Division store list, if you're feeling extra adventurous :) ). But I would personally recommend my "Aftermath of Seessel's" essay, particularly the second half, which focuses on Schnucks and goes into more detail about their ill-fated and short-lived Mid-South operations; you can check that post out here.
This post, meanwhile, is dedicated to one final table chock-full of more Schnucks information than you ever knew you wanted to read! As with the above-linked Albertsons tables, this table was compiled in conjunction with my good friend the Albertsons Florida blogger. And in fact, the entire table itself is being graciously hosted over at his website. Please click here to access the complete Schnucks Mid-South Store List over at the Albertsons Florida Blog.
As you can tell from the table, perhaps Schnucks was doomed to failure in the Mid-South right from the beginning, considering they named this division unlucky "Region 13"! Also on the table, you'll see lots of references to "as of 2017." We built this table around the same time as the Albertsons ones, last summer. Since then, a few things have changed. Namely, Store 776 - the Quince Road store in Balmoral - is no longer just vacant, but has been completely demolished. There's also one other major development that has taken place since summer 2017, but that concerns the fuel centers, so I'll save that bit of info for later on in this post.
Just a few other tidbits I think you might be interested in having me highlight from that table follow. First of all, of the 15 stores that Schnucks operated in the Mid-South (13 being the most they operated at one time), only three of the stores were built by Schnucks themselves. Those would be Stores 773, 774, and 777. And of those, only Store 777, in Lakeland, retains Schnucks's architecture to this day. Store 773 in Germantown was (essentially) demolished and rebuilt by Kroger, whereas Store 774 in Collierville was heavily modified (if not also rebuilt) by Academy Sports + Outdoors. Secondly, you'll notice that Stores 784, 785, 786, and 788 are all left blank on the table. That's because, as far as AFB and I could find out, no stores were ever planned for those numbers (and for sure no stores ever operated with those numbers). At the very bottom of the table, however, is a "Store 78X," the only one we could find that Schnucks had in development at one point but never got around to building. That store would have been in Olive Branch, MS, and would likely have been identical to the building style of the aforementioned stores in Germantown, Collierville, and Lakeland.
Unfortunately, not many pictures can be found online of Schnucks's time in the Mid-South, but plenty of pictures do exist of the "aftermath," so to speak. Indeed, many of the stores on the linked table can be found photographed on flickr as Kroger stores (or whatever they operate as today). In the interest of giving you the best idea of what a Schnucks store would have looked like décor-wise in the Memphis area, however, I'll link you to one album in particular - the Superlo Foods store in Southaven, MS, which retains Schnucks's décor, mostly unaltered, to this day. I also have pictures of Store 777 to be posted to my flickr page eventually, and below, I've compiled a few additional photos I've been able to find online from various sources, including several from Store 774.
|Store 782 in Cordova. This store actually closed prior to Schnucks's 2011 sellout, back in August 2010. It is now operating as Cordova Farmer's Market.|
|Another shot of Store 782, this time a wide view including the neighboring shopping center as well. Be sure to note the "food" and "pharmacy" letters on the building exterior: those remain from Seessel's by Albertsons!|
|Store 776 in the Balmoral community of Memphis. This is the store I mentioned earlier in the post that was demolished in late 2017.|
|Store 780 on Village Shops Drive in Germantown. This store is now a Sprouts Farmers Market.|
|Store 771 again, this time as viewed during its closure sale in 2011. Kroger would eventually demolish and rebuild this store. And for additional images of another Memphis Schnucks (Store 783) during its liquidation, see here.|
|Store 777 in Lakeland. This is what I was referring to as Schnucks's own architecture: actually a very grand, distinctive look. Much better exterior design than the interior décor package they used while they were in Memphis!|
|Interior photos of the former Collerville Schnucks are courtesy of Grafe Auctions from January 2012. Like I said... Schnucks had better exteriors than interiors, haha! Here we're looking down aisle 5, with the pharmacy box on the right.|
|Random aisle shot. (All of the aisles were photographed, so naturally I chose Aisle 12 :) ) Note the checkerboard tile on the floor... and also on the aisle markers.|
|A shot of the front end.|
|Another view of the checklanes, with offices overhead.|
|I believe this shot looks down the rear actionway towards the back right corner of the store, but having never visited the store, I could be wrong on that!|
|Kitchen Center. I liked the special sign here.|
|Heading into the service department area. Some corrugated metal and cardboard signs can be seen in the background.|
|Behind one of the service counters, with produce and seafood décor signs visible on the wall out beyond.|
|Baked goods cases.|
|Soup of the day fixture, with additional service counters and décor off in the background.|
|Wide view of the service department area. Note the darker environment, made to emulate a farmers market.|
|Another shot in the same vicinity, showing a large "celebration of food" mural on the wall on the left.|
|Seafood and florist décor is visible here, as well as some low-hanging mercury vapor lamps in close-up.|
|Bakery off in the distance. Note the change in floor tile in this section of the store.|
|Seafood cases, using the same font as rest of the décor.|
|I thought this bread display was interesting. No "Schnucks" to be found.|
|The old-school TV is cool in its own right, but I mainly included this shot for the better view of the mural below.|
|The super high ceilings in this area corresponded with the huge arched glass window feature on the exterior. Very cool in person, which is why I'm glad Kroger has kept Store 777's intact!|
|Thinking this may have been customer service, but I'm not positive on that.|
|Inside the pharmacy box. Looking a little trashed.|
|Exterior of the pharmacy box. Unlike other chains, Schnucks had their pharmacies in the middle of the salesfloor rather than a corner, at least here in the Mid-South anyway. Albertsons did the same.|
|Last up photo-wise, the aerial image of where Schnucks would have been located in Olive Branch had it decided to build its store there in 2005. This plot of land is still available for sale on the Schnuck family's real estate website; see here.|
For the remainder of this post, as if all of the above wasn't enough, I decided I'd share even more with you guys! In addition to the store table, I also created a table listing all of Schnucks's Memphis-area fuel centers. (Another brief history: Albertsons liked to build combination fuel centers/convenience stores with their supermarkets, and Schnucks assumed ownership of those alongside the Seessel's stores themselves in 2002. Kroger, in turn, took over the fuel centers/c-stores in 2011, branding them as KwikShops.) This table is fairly short, and as such I was able to fit it within the constraints of my blog's template; you can see it below. It's pretty self-explanatory, so I'll let it go ahead and speak for itself, but I will add this key bit of information: since the time that I put this table together, Kroger has sold its convenience store division to a third party! These fuel centers/c-stores continue to operate as KwikShops for now, but for how much longer... I'm not sure. It will definitely be interesting to see how these locations in particular are affected by that sale considering that they operate as the "de facto" Kroger fuel centers for the Kroger stores they serve. I wouldn't be surprised if the convenience stores close down while the gas pumps themselves remain open, and stay under Kroger's ownership.
|Store #||Address||City||State||ZIP||Fuel Center/Convenience Store History/Info|
|677||9023 US Highway 64||Lakeland||TN||38002||Known as "Stonebridge Express" under Schnucks. Opened in 2007 as the fuel center for Store #777. Kroger purchased all eight Schnucks Express locations in the Mid-South, including this one, upon their exit from the market in 2011. This fuel center remains in operation today as a KwikShop-branded fuel center/convenience store.|
|680||9423 Poplar Avenue||Germantown||TN||38138||Known as "Forest Hill Express" under Schnucks. Operated as the fuel center for Schnucks Store #780, and originally opened in 2000 (built by Albertsons for what was Seessel's Store #4710 at the time). Kroger purchased all eight Schnucks Express locations in the Mid-South, including this one, upon their exit from the market in 2011. This fuel center remains in operation today as a KwikShop-branded fuel center/convenience store, even though Kroger did not purchase the accompanying grocery store.|
|682||1210 N. Germantown Parkway||Cordova||TN||38016||Known as "Cordova Express" under Schnucks. Operated as the fuel center for Schnucks Store #782, and originally opened in 1999 (built by Albertsons for what was Seessel's Store #4712 at the time). Schnucks closed Store #782 in August 2010, but kept the fuel center in operation until their exit from the Mid-South market in 2011, at which point Kroger purchased this (and all seven other Memphis-area) Schnucks Express location(s). This fuel center remains in operation today as a KwikShop-branded fuel center/convenience store, even though Kroger did not purchase the accompanying grocery store.|
|761||6740 Stage Road||Bartlett||TN||38134||Known as "Bartlett Express" under Schnucks. Operated as the fuel center for Schnucks Store #781, and originally opened in 1999 (built by Albertsons for what was Seessel's Store #4711 at the time). Kroger purchased all eight Schnucks Express locations in the Mid-South, including this one, upon their exit from the market in 2011. This fuel center remains in operation today as a KwikShop-branded fuel center/convenience store.|
|763||751 Truse Parkway||Memphis (East Memphis)||TN||38117||Known as "Truse Express" under Schnucks. Operated as the fuel center for Schnucks Store #783 and originally opened in 1999 (built by Albertsons for what was Seessel's Store #4713 at the time). Kroger purchased all eight Schnucks Express locations in the Mid-South, including this one, upon their exit from the market in 2011. This fuel center remains in operation today as a KwikShop-branded fuel center/convenience store.|
|767||3950 Goodman Road W.||Horn Lake||MS||38637||Known as "Horn Lake Express" under Schnucks. Operated as the fuel center for Schnucks Store #787 and originally opened in 2000 (built by Albertsons for what was Seessel's Store #4737 at the time). Kroger purchased all eight Schnucks Express locations in the Mid-South, including this one, upon their exit from the market in 2011. This fuel center remains in operation today as a KwikShop-branded fuel center/convenience store.|
|769||945A Goodman Road E.||Southaven||MS||38671||Known as "Southaven Express" under Schnucks. Operated as the fuel center for Schnucks Store #779, and originally opened in 2000 (built by Albertsons for what was Seessel's Store #4709 at the time). Kroger purchased all eight Schnucks Express locations in the Mid-South, including this one, upon their exit from the market in 2011. This fuel center remains in operation today as a KwikShop-branded fuel center/convenience store, even though Kroger did not purchase the accompanying grocery store.|
|770||5274 Riverdale Road||Memphis||TN||38141||Known as "Riverdale Express" under Schnucks. Operated as the fuel center for Schnucks Store #789, and originally opened in 2001 (built by Albertsons for what was Seessel's Store #4739 at the time). Schnucks closed Store #789 in March 2003, but kept the fuel center in operation until their exit from the Mid-South market in 2011, at which point Kroger purchased this (and all seven other Memphis-area) Schnucks Express location(s). This fuel center remained in operation as a KwikShop-branded fuel center/convenience store until sometime between May 2014 and May 2016, even though Kroger did not purchase the accompanying grocery store. Today the convenience store building sits vacant, with the gas pumps and canopy removed - the only former Memphis-area Schnucks Express location not still in operation.|
So that wraps up this post. Thanks for checking out the Seessel's series (and the blog itself, of course), and if you have any additional information or photos of the Mid-South Schnucks stores, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below or email me at midsouthretailblog [at] gmail [dot] com! I've got another post coming your way this Saturday, so stick around for that... and until then, have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!