Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bygone Business: A & P

A & P at 637 N. Main, decked out for its 1954 grand opening
Rochester's A & P grocery store was found in at least three different locations on Main Street before it moved out in the early 1990s.  In 1925, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company opened a store at 307 S. Main; by 1929, the store had relocated up the street at 419 S. Main. On March 10, 1954, the grocery store held a grand opening in a brand-new building at 637 N. Main, and Rochester had its first supermarket-style grocery in an impressive 11,662-square foot facility.

The new A & P store was built by local developer George Knorr and leased to the grocery company. Cy Borst was the manager at the time the new building on N. Main was opened. I grew up on the north end of town in the Albertson Addition, so the A & P at 637 N. Main was our neighborhood grocery store.  By the time I was old enough to shop there, Al Klous was the manager and our neighbor, John Parker, worked in the meat department.  The store had many long-time employees who were there from the time I was a small child until the store moved to the North Hill shopping center in the 1990s.

After the A & P moved to North Hill, the building at 637 was completely renovated for other use.  Today it is the home of the Rochester Athletic Club.  Meanwhile, the A & P in its North Hill location gave way to a Farmer Jack, and when the Farmer Jack brand went under, Hollywood Market moved into the space.

Are there any Rochester A & P alumni out there? Do you remember the Ann Page house brand?  The Jane Parker bread and the big coffee grinder to grind your Eight O'Clock coffee? If so, please share your memories through the comments.


  1. I began working there as a bagger in April 1964. Harry Boyce was the manager. For a few years, this A & P was the No. 1 Gross Sales leader in the State, competing with the Birmingham store. I chronicled Friday Nights at the A & P in a long poem as part of my book: The Song of the Wood Man.

    Al Grund

  2. I was the first Grund to work at this A+P beginning in 57. John Madden was manager and Cy Borst was asst. manager. Great esperience working Friday nights with the checkout ladies who taught us high school kids much about an honest days work. Bob Clard was produce manager. My brother Tim and sister Bev also worked there.
    Pete Grund

  3. I was the last Grund to work at the A&P, 1968-69. I remember Aletha as the head cashier, never smiled but sure knew her stuff! I learned about math working at A&P, and it has served me well all these long years. Also remember that we couldn't sell alcohol at the N. Mail location due to the church across the street.
    Bev Grund Delmet

  4. I remember Aletha also. Very businesslike and very speedy - and that was long before checkout scanners, in the days when the cashiers had to key in each price AND its department number on a non-computerized register.

  5. Wasn't Wrigley's Supermarket at North Hill?

    1. Yes, when North Hill Shopping Center opened in the late 1950s, Wrigley's Supermarket was the anchor store at the far north end of the strip. After Wrigley's left, this space was occupied for several years by Curly's Fruit Market. When A&P left its 637 N. Main address for North Hill, the north end of the strip was torn down and rebuilt for A&P. A&P was followed by Farmer Jack, and then by Hollywood Market.

  6. Born and raised in Rochester; I have fond memories of shopping at the A&P with my mother. Was a great place...

  7. I am like anonymous Feb. 3. If I close my eyes and concentrate, the smell of the place comes to mind. I remember some fascination with the belt that advanced the groceries to the cashier. There were times I stepped on the mat that opened the door--as a service to those entering the store.

  8. You mentioned Curly's Fruit Market in one of the comments - do you happen to remember the name of the family that owned it? I worked there for several years during high school but moved to NC shortly after graduating. Several years later I returned to the area and was sad to see Curly's was gone. Any idea of what happened to them?