Wired's Picture of the Week

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Re: Wired's Picture of the Week

Post by Kellemora » 30 Sep 2018, 11:09

The years I was growing up, we had a small home town grocery store only three doors down from our house. This is where my family did almost all of their shopping. I believe it was AG stocked store. Across the street in the other other direction was an IGA, and a couple of blocks further up the road was an A&P. Most of the rest of the grocers were independents, but got much of their inventory from the AG warehouses.

Schnucks was the first of the larger home town grocers, and Dierbergs was only up north back then. Schnucks didn't seem to hurt our local grocer because his draw was his butcher department.
We never had Walmart stores back then, because they all sprung up in rural areas, and then finally began to appear in more populated cities.

My grandmother bought everything except meats from Kroger, because it was within walking distance to her house. Mom would pick her up and take her to our next door grocer for meats, or to the butcher only shop where one of her daughters worked.

AG stores carried a canned goods brand, probably their own, named Topmost. This is basically what I grew up on, so we preferred this brand over many name brand products.

I don't normally eat canned beef stew, can't stand the taste of any brand I tried. That being said, there was short period of time when all the stores carried plain black n white label products. The plain black n white label Beef Stew was the best I ever tasted, and try as I might to find out who the manufacturer was, I never could until the craze was over. I don't remember the makers name anymore, but it didn't matter, they only sold in a few southern states.

The only brand of Chow Mein I liked was Chun King, which AG stores carried. Then after ConAgra bought out nearly every canned food company, they controlled what areas Chun King and other brands were sold in. Fortunately, I had a friend who moved to central California and when she saw Chun King was available there, she would ship me a case every year for my birthday.

Gotta share this with you. We buy a lot of bakery packaged rye bread, usually Arnolds or Pepperidge Farm.
Rye bread is usually only made once a week by the bakers, which is why it is in the airtight cellophane.
Stores like Schnucks and Dierbergs get the large end, discount stores the small end, and Deli's the center section.
The frau came home with an Entire long loaf Friday, for the same price we usually pay for only the small end. This was like getting three loaves for the price of one!

Now to get my dig in about Walmart, hi hi. Price comparison for Pepperidge Farm Rye Bread only.
Walmart price $3.89 large end.
Kroger price $3.69 large end.
Aldi price $3.29 small end.
Pepperidge Farm Outlet store. Fresh $2.99 Deli, $2.69 Large end, $2.29 Small end.
Pepperidge Farm Outlet store. Day Old $2.39 Deli, $1.99 Large end, $1.69 Small end.
Our Local UGO (United Grocery Outlet). Fresh Small end $1.34. Day Old $0.89-$1.14 Small end.
Arnold Rye Bread usually sells for the same price as Pepperidge Farm at UGO.

Now, why should I drive all the way to Walmart to pay $3.89, when UGO's is always $1.34 for Fresh.
When no store really has Fresh Rye Bread. I think Day Old Rye is really Week Old Rye, hi hi.

I don't know about back home anymore, but down here, Walmart is usually priced higher than the local stores.

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Re: Wired's Picture of the Week

Post by yogi » 01 Oct 2018, 08:37

I believe I talked about this before, but I also grew up in a neighborhood where corner stores were common. The big city was built somewhat in grid fashion. I guess all cities are built the same way. The major thoroughfares ideally form a block around a community of residential houses. Those blocks were demarcated by side streets which themselves defined blocks of houses. These housing blocks were not limited to family residences. My earliest memories are that nearly every intersection of side streets had some kind of shop, or maybe two, at the corner. Typically it was two storied and the shop owner lived upstairs above the business. I grew up on one of those corners across from a butcher/grocery shop. It's claim to fame was the butcher. Mom walked the mile or so to Kroger for the weekly groceries because the big chain store was cheaper. Oddly enough she did not favor the store directly across from us, but instead went over to the next block for incidentals and meat. I recall the sign over the store near us. It was gaudy orange with a black diamond and the words Midwest across it. I'm guessing that's the distributor from whence he got his supplies. There was one exception to mom's shopping. She would go to the 'Midwest" store every time she wanted smoked chubs. They had a smoker out in their back yard where they smoked their own food. They did more than fish, but that's all mom ever bought there.

Hardly anything sold in cans is better than fresh, IMHO. However, there is a pea and cheese salad that would be ruined if you did not use canned peas to make it. There is something about the liquid in which the peas are packed that give it an special flavor. I'd have to say the same about certain mushrooms. Canned 'shrooms over pork chops is pretty tough to beat even with fresh fungus.

That's an interesting bit of trivia about Walmart. I guess I have not looked into it's origins very closely, but I'd expect it's growth began in the big cities. Now that I think about it, there are some similarities between Walmart and co-ops. Plus, I've always wondered why they picked Arkansas for its HQ. I think old man Walton probably grew up there. Thinking back on what Motorola did in a similar vein is irony at its peak. The original founder, Paul Galvin, was born out in the countryside about 50 miles out of Chicago. Well, the business was conducted via railroad back then which is how they shipped their products into the city. Eventually they figured it was better to move into the city itself, which they did and became a well known landmark. Business was great for many decades. When cell phone manufacturing was exploding faster than companies could keep up, the latest in a series of Galvins' decided to build a million square foot factory out where his grandpa grew up and founded the company. That was an awesome idea except for one minor detail. That area never became very populated over the years and it was impossible to get people to travel that far to work. Chrysler had a manufacturing plant nearby in Belvidere, IL, and I think the son figured he would steal some of the workers from there. Bad idea. The auto shop was unionized and Motorola was notoriously anti-union. What are the odds people would be attracted to Motorola? Zilch. That venture cost the company tens of millions of dollars and eventually was the downfall of Motorola's dominance. Sonny boy Galvin was no Sam Walton.

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Re: Wired's Picture of the Week

Post by Kellemora » 01 Oct 2018, 10:58

The very first store was named Walton's 5&10 and opened in 1950 in Bentonville, Arkansas.
His second store was named Walmart and opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas.

I read a book about Sam Walton once, and for the time period he did something very smart.
Rather than try to compete in large cities, he sought out areas with moderate population densities and no large stores within 50 to 100 miles. His only real competition in those areas at the time were mail order stores.
He studied what people wanted to purchase and made sure he obtained those items to sell in his store.
Once Walmart became well established in rural America, he reduced the distance to nearest competition to only 30 miles.

When his company went public in the 1970's, this fueled the growth of Walmart stores springing up everywhere.
Even so, they still clung to the open new stores away from the competition model for years.

Besides reading up on Walmart and Sam Walton, I also read up on Marshall Fields, and why he kept only a single store, when other similar stores were branching out across the states, like Sears.

There was another book I read, but didn't get out of it what I had hoped. The rise and fall of chain stores.
The book covered specific stores that started with one store and grew to become national chains.
In almost every case, it was greed and poor management, which lead to bloat and enormous unnecessary expenses.
I won't go into detail on any of these, but it was an interesting book to read.

I got trapped in a Pizza Franchise once, who changed their sauce formula. I was lucky and sold out before they died.

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