Monday, April 3, 2017

Lorain Goes Krogering – April 3, 1936

Although there aren’t any Kroger stores in Northeast Ohio any more, the supermarket chain made its first appearance in Lorain in April 1936. The Lorain Journal and Times-Herald devoted a whole section of the newspaper to it on Friday, April 3, 1936 – 81 years ago today. The first page is shown above. (Click on it for a readable version.)

There was quite a bit of hoopla connected with the store opening, including a parade.

Kroger joined a very crowded market of grocers in Lorain, including A&P, Fisher Brothers, Harry Fligner, Goldberg’s, Jacoby Brothers and William Jeancola.

The original Kroger store in Lorain was located at 348 Broadway. By 1940, two more area locations were added: 1815 Broadway in Lorain, and 154 Park Avenue in Amherst.

By 1950, only the 1815 Broadway address was still open in Lorain. Another store was added at 129 Fourth Street in the early 1950s.

Apparently in that era, the Kroger name could not compete in Lorain against the many strong local grocers; by the late 1950s, both of the stores had closed.

But Kroger did not give up on Lorain. A new Kroger “super store” was built in 1976 at Oberlin Avenue and Meister Road. A second Lorain “super store” went up at Route 57 and Fairless Drive (by the Kmart) the following year.

There were a total of six stores in Lorain County by the late 1970s. But after a strike, they all closed – alone with 17 other northeast Ohio stores – in mid-September 1985. Kroger blamed it on an “unsatisfactory rate of return plus excessive union demands,” according to an article in the September 14, 1985 Chronicle-Telegram.

Today, Kroger is the largest supermarket chain in the United States (according to this Wiki entry). But if you feel like Krogering, you’ll have to drive to Sandusky or Port Clinton for the closest stores.

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