How merchandising has changed. The top view from the 1960s shows inefficient reach-in freezers that wasted energy and pink, pastel signage. Thirty years later, food display centered around kiosks, from which customers selected fresh-prepared offerings for dinner. (The pic is from the now-gone Seattle chain Larry’s Market.) With COVID-19, intimacies such as these are now in the past, and who knows if they are ever coming back?
This illustration from the 1950s is oddly prescient, save the consumers compile their orders from home.
Anyway, back on topic, grocery stores are probably mentioned by name more than any other type of business establishment. “I’m going to Safeway. Need anything?”
These names tend to fall into three categories. First, those named after the founders: Ralph’s, Wegman’s, Albertsons, etc. If the founder is still alive, they will often represent themselves in advertising media.
Then there are the obscure ones, like A&P, an abbreviation of The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, which is a mouthful. Two Guys, Piggly Wiggly, Pathmark, Acme, and Publix follow this style. If you didn’t know they were grocery stores, you’d be hard-pressed to figure that out. Acme, through no fault of its own, found itself identified with the supplier of Wile E. Coyote’s malfunctioning roadrunner-catching gadgets.
Then, there are the names easily recognizable as food suppliers, with magic words like fresh, shop, market, and the like, such as Foodland, ShopRite, and QFC (Quality Food Center.) These are the kind I was after here, if you need an imaginary grocery store chain.