While looking at some old October 1955 Lorain Journal microfilm at the library, I saw a huge ad for a grocery store called Food Fair. Above is a portion of the ad, showing the various locations of the stores in Lorain, Avon Lake, Sheffield Lake, Avon and Vermilion.
I found this interesting because although Food Fair had a lot of locations in the area, the chain disappeared without a trace locally in the early 1970's.
|Image courtesy of www.groceteria.com|
According to this wiki entry, there once was a national chain called Food Fair that had over 500 units. And this blogger even has some great images of a chain of Food Fair supermarkets. (A promotional Food Fair needle pack is shown at left.) But the huge, sleek Food Fair stores on those websites don't seem to correspond with the Mom & Pop stores in the Journal ad.
To prove my point, here are how a few of them look today. (Click on each for a larger view.)
Shown below is the former Jacoby Food Fair at 1149 Oberlin Avenue. In the early 1950's it was Jacoby Brothers Meats before becoming a Food Fair around 1954; by 1972 it was the Oberlin Eagle, part of the Eagle chain of small supermarkets (not to be confused with Giant Eagle.)
I think of a false-front movie set western saloon when I look at this store.
Here's Jeancola's Food Fair, located at 2402 West Erie, at the end of Leavitt Road. It was just listed as a grocery store before becoming Jeancola's Food Fair around 1955. Similar to the Jacoby store, this market dropped its Food Fair affiliation around 1972 and became Jeancola Market.
Lastly, and closest to my home, this is the former Gang's Food Fair at 4646 E. Lake Road in Sheffield Lake. It appears to have been built as a grocery store and appeared as Gang's Market in the city directory for the first time in 1954. It became a Food Fair the following year and lasted until around 1970 when the building became vacant. Two years later it became the well-remembered Ilg TV and even later became Schuenemann Television Appliance Center. After that small chain of a appliance stores closed, it has had a variety of uses in the last decade. The latest proposal? It is tentatively slated to be the location of the first internet café in Sheffield Lake.
I could be wrong, but my guess is that this Food Fair group of stores was a small regional chain that got around the legal aspect of sharing the name with a national company by tacking on the owner's name, etc. Whatever the case, the name Food Fair disappeared locally by 1972.
Perhaps someone associated with one of these local stores can shed some light on this subject. If anyone out there does have some connection with the Food Fair chain, please leave a comment below. Thanks!