Friday, May 10, 2024

Food Fair Ad – May 6, 1954

It's Friday – the traditional Brady grocery-gathering day when I was growing up – so I'll close out the week here with this full-page Food Fair ad. It ran in the Lorain Journal back on May 6, 1954.

It's been a while since I wrote about Food Fair. The small independent grocery chain once had a strong presence in the county, with stores in Amherst, Avon, Avon Lake, Lorain, Sheffield Lake, and Vermilion. It's pretty impressive, as they were up against other local giants (like Meyer Goldberg) as well as the national and regional big boys (like A&P, Pick-n-Pay, etc.). But Food Fair had a nice niche as the small, friendly Mom and Pop store.

The Journal ad from May 1954 is kind of offbeat. It's a Spring sale, but the clip art showing the typical, idyllic 1950s outdoor gathering looks a Summer shindig. I guess the apron-wearing head of the household just barbecued a delicious chocolate cake. (Is that a young George H. W. Bush on the left forefront?)

The ad interestingly downplays the brand names of the sale items, which appear in tiny type, while the items themselves (Goose Liver, Peanut Butter, Sweet Pickles, etc.) are in large, bold type. Only a few brands such a Kraft are highlighted.

That approach to selling is right at home in today's world. I think most consumers largely ignore brand names in favor of what is cheapest more than ever on a majority of their purchases. Many major brands don't even bother to advertise anymore. Thus our pantries have brands like Clover Valley™and Great Value. But it's all about just trying to save money for more important purchases.

It doesn't look like the Food Fairs in our area were part of the same-named regional giant that had stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland and Florida. The local stores seemed to disappear in the early 1970s, with longtime owners retiring or selling out, and the remaining stores becoming Eagle Super Markets.

The final version of the logo, circa 1960s-1970s


UPDATE (May 12, 2024)

Here's an article from the April 5, 1970 Journal about Gilbert's Food Fair changing hands.


Buster said...

I'm no expert on food, but are some of these items even available or at least popular any more - evaporated milk, canned beets, Spin and Span, goose liver, minced ham, canned cream corn?

Don Hilton said...

Canned cream corn.
On boiled potatoes.
A favorite of Dad's.
He blamed it on the Army.
That and hash with fried eggs.

Buster said...

I never minded hash, although it had a tendency to be awfully dry, at least in our household. We skipped the fried egg.

Desiccated food was a specialty in my family - overdone roasts were the invariable Sunday dinner at my grandparents' house. My grandfather, born in England, was the chef - he favored things like radishes and beets, too, which I didn't like then and probably would not like now.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to powdered milk or milk powder?I remember the Little Rascals dumping some Plaster of Paris in a bucket to make some "milk" when they ran out of the actual milk powder.