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Supermarkets in the ‘Burgh That Have Shelved Their Stores

By Paula Green

Grocery shopping can have its ups and downs. Some Supermarkets have fared better than others. Let’s cart around and look at Pittsburgh’s supermarkets that are now defunct.

The A&P grocery chain dates back to 1859. George Huntington Hartford and George Gilman entered the mail-order tea business from a storefront and warehouse in New York City. After that, the Great American Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) steadily grew.

A&P became the first grocery store of its kind. Instead of asking a shopkeeper for sugar or flour items, shoppers could walk the aisle and grab a package. From 1915 to 1975, A&P was the largest grocery retailer in the United States. There were numerous A&Ps in our area.

But sadly, a 2010 bankruptcy was the beginning of the end; the final A&P locations closed by November 25, 2016, ending a 157-year retailing tradition. Fortunately, you can still buy A&P coffee. Eight O’Clock coffee is still sold in Pittsburgh supermarkets.

Another well-liked grocery store was Thorofare. This supermarket was founded in Youngstown, Ohio, and opened in Pittsburgh in 1936. Thorofare operated some 100 stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia during its heyday.

The store offered S&H Green Stamps, part of a catalog rewards program. Another incentive was discount tickets for West View Park Amusement Park with their “Thorofare Days.” Although this grocer lasted in the region for 46 years, Thorofare supermarkets closed for good on April 17, 1982. Kroger’s was founded in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. This supermarket chain was prominent in the tristate. But following a six-week strike over a labor dispute, Kroger’s completely pulled out of Pittsburgh in 1984. Currently, Kroger operates out of 35 states, but none in Pennsylvania.

Kroger’s owns Food 4 Less, a no-frills grocery store where customer bags their groceries. The discount supermarket is no longer in our area or the rest of Pennsylvania. There are still 104 Food 4 Less stores in the U.S., 91 in California, 12 in Illinois, and one in Indiana.

Amarraca was a specialty supermarket based out of Pittsburgh, which opened on November 19, 1984. Amarraca filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2000 citing difficulty keeping up with competitors. It shuttered its doors on May 19 of that year.

Viola’s was a family-owned grocery store. Cranberry Township residents were saddened when Viola’s Market House closed in 2005. There were also Viola stores in Wexford and Allison Park that are now gone.

Bottom Dollar was a discount grocer owned by Delhaize’s Food Lion chain. It lasted in the ‘Burgh for several years. However, on January 15, 2015, Bottom Dollar shuttered all 66 supermarkets in Pennsylvania. Festival Foods opened in 1946, and there were a few in Pittsburgh – these supermarkets are all gone. Festival Foods has 39 locations left in the U.S.; all are in Wisconsin.

Shopper’s Choice was established in 1979 and is owned by Shop N’ Save. There are no more of these grocers in the region. One Shopper’s Choice remains in Pennsylvania, and that is in Masontown. Good Cents was a discount grocery outlet owned by Giant Eagle. They were a few locations in Pittsburgh. On March 26, 2015, Good Cents on McKnight Road in Ross Township closed as did seven other Pennsylvania and Ohio locations.

Even though these stores have shuttered their doors, there are plenty of supermarkets available today and online shopping so wherever you choose – choose-wise and happy shopping!




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