Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lorain Plaza A&P Opens – August 1960

Just four days after the Grand Opening ad for the First Federal Savings Oberlin Avenue branch appeared in the Lorain Journal, this full-page ad was featured. It promoted the Grand Opening of the brand new A&P at the Lorain Plaza. (Notice how the ad says Oberlin Road instead of Oberlin Avenue!)

It's fascinating how much hoopla the event generated back then and how many incentives the store offered to get you to drop in. $430 of food certificates were given away, and special prizes were awarded that included radios, cameras, hair dryers, bicycles, coffee makers, waffle makers, toasters and scales. Hundreds of other free gifts were distributed, including Jane Parker angel food cakes, boxes of Jack Frost sugar and jars of Ann Page salad dressing. Non-food gifts included balloons, measuring glasses, plastic rain hats and key chains.

Does any supermarket chain do anything like that nowadays when they open a new store?

The new A&P boasted air conditioning, moving belt checkouts, wide aisles, automatic doors, decorations and wide selections of meat and frozen foods.

My mother shopped at that Oberlin Avenue A&P, and I remember being in there at a very young age. (One of the particularly friendly checkout women used to comment on my chubby cheeks to my mother!) I also remember the gum ball machines at the exit and the tiny charms, toys and prizes (such as miniature trolls).

Ann Page products – A&P's house brand – also filled the shelves of Mom's pantry, especially spices and preserves.

Who would have thought that more than 50 years after that store opened on Oberlin Avenue, A&P would be pretty much kaput as a chain – not only in Lorain but all over the country?

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