Friday, February 12, 2016

Sparky's Coming to Food Center – January 1957

I’ve done several posts about the Lorain grocery store operated by Frank “Jay” Jursinski on Oberlin Avenue at Meister Road. It was an early tenant of the shopping center there that later included Willow Hardware.

Jay’s opened in March 1952 and was affiliated with several different national grocery store chain over the years. It was an I.G.A. Food Liner in March 1953, and by March 1955 was a Food Center.

Back here, I posted a March 10, 1955 ad (below) that ran in the Lorain Journal featuring a nameless grocer mascot that looked an awful lot like good old Sparky of the Sparkle Market chain.

At the end of April 1955, the store celebrated a Grand Opening in a larger space in the shopping strip.

But it wasn’t until late January 1957 that the Food Center officially became a Sparkle Market.

In the weeks leading up to the change, a series of full-page ads announcing prizes, gifts and great deals drummed up interest. This ad (below) ran on January 16, 1957.

A week later, this ad ran on January 23, 1957. It features the now-familiar rendering of Sparky.
Finally, on January 30, the big announcement of the opening celebration as Food Centers officially changed their name to Sparkle.
From then on, Sparky made regular appearances in the ads, such as this one (below) on March 20, 1957.
Here are some more great Sparky illustrations from 1957.
From a February 6, 1957 ad
From a June 19, 1957 ad
From a July 1957 ad
Jay later moved his Sparkle store further south on Oberlin Avenue to a brand new building that would become the home of Meyer Goldberg’s.

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