The American Grocery Store: The Business Evolution of an Architectural Space

The American Grocery Store: The Business Evolution of an Architectural Space

The American Grocery Store: The Business Evolution of an Architectural Space

The American Grocery Store: The Business Evolution of an Architectural Space

Synopsis

When people think of a grocery store, they have a multitude of images from a neighborhood shop on the corner to the modern-day supermarket. The grocery store has had a rich history, as business conditions have contributed to changes in both its economic and its architectural character. This book provides a history of the grocery store. Beginning with the public markets and general stores of our early cities and the general stores of small towns and hinterlands, this volume traces the evolution of the all-purpose grocery store with the advent of mass distribution, the growth of the supermarket, and the present-day convenience stores, co-ops, warehouse markets, hypermarkets, and wholesale clubs.

Excerpt

When people think of a grocery store, they have a multitude of definitions and images in mind. Perhaps the most common one is a neighborhood shop on the corner, but it is just as likely they will think of the modern-day supermarket. Indeed, the term grocery store changes constantly as new forms of food retailing appear and become part of people's lives. For the purpose of this book, I use grocery store as an umbrella concept to describe the various food store formats that have been part of American history. This definition suggests a general boundary for the examination of food retailing in the built environment, but it is not sufficient to explain the political, economic, and historical circumstances that give the grocery store its full meaning.

The grocery store is a common ground for American society. By necessity, everyone shops for food to sustain themselves. The modern supermarket has become one of the few places where all classes of people can meet face to face. There is often a community atmosphere where shoppers meet friends and chat for a moment, a customer says hello to a familiar clerk, or one shopper helps another to find a food item. Sometimes bulletin boards are provided for community announcements, and promotional displays evoke images of a forthcoming carnival or public holiday. Shoppers do buy groceries, but they may do more. They can pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, get cash at a customer window or a bank machine, leave shoes to be repaired, leave clothes to be cleaned, or pick up flowers for a special occasion. All of these business transactions are reminiscent of people shopping in stores on Main Street or in stores surrounding the county courthouse square in a small American town.

With all these aspects of a community common ground, the local grocery store is still bound by the realities of economic competition. Although store . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.