12 Supermarkets You Might Remember That Are Gone Forever

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In my many years on this earth, I have found two kinds of people: Those who hate going to the market and those who enjoy it. Truth be told, I am the latter and have seen my fair share of grocery stores through the years, making me a self-proclaimed expert. While today’s big box stores are convenient and offer better prices (or so we are told!), I miss the old days of smaller, friendlier grocers, like these 12 supermarkets that may be gone forever but live on in our memories:

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company 

Wikimedia Commons/Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

Who didn’t love shopping at the old A&P? What began as a mail-order tea business in 1859 morphed into one of the top grocery stores in the country, which expanded into other such subsidies as Super Fresh, Family Mart, and Farmer Jack. Sadly, A&P could not keep up with the changing times and shuttered in 2015.

White Hen Pantry 

Flickr/Jonathan Khoo

If you hail from a larger city, there’s a great chance you ran into a White Hen Pantry a time or ten. Essentially a convenience store, White Hen Pantry sold your standard gas station fare plus staples like bread, eggs, and various deli items. While the White Hen was one of the first of its kind, it could not keep up with the competition and closed all of its stores by 2013. (Since then, most White Hen locations have been converted into 7-Elevens.)

Food Fair 


At its peak, Food Fair – which had its humble beginnings in the 1920s in Harrisburg, PA – was considered one of the top 5 grocery stores in the country, thanks, in part, to its 500+ locations. (I know it was one of my favorite places to shop – how about you?) After its closure, Food Fair evolved into another alliteration-inspired chain: Pantry Pride.

Pantry Pride

Wikimedia Commons/Morning Call Newspaper, Allentown PA

Did I mention that Pantry Pride (1981-2000) didn’t “fair” well, either?

Ultra Foods 

Google/Bernard Granderson

Coupons? Who needs stinking coupons? This is Ultra Foods, where items were 25% to 30% less than the competition! Whether you were looking for pantry staples, fresh produce, meats, cheeses, or sundries, you could find them at Ulta Foods, which officially closed in 2017.


Wikimedia Commons/GeekyTV

Located along the east coast (primarily New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut), Waldbaum’s was a beloved institution for some 115 years. What made Waldbaum’s even more remarkable is that it was one of the first stores of its kind to break racial boundaries, as, in 1938, it promoted identical black twins from stockboys to cashiers in a predominantly white neighborhood.

Kash n’ Karry 

Wikimedia Commons/Bgtbbum

Despite the weird spelling (which I never understood), I loved shopping at Kash n’ Karry, as the employees were always extremely friendly and QUICK! Like many of these stores, Kash n’ Karry was a rags-to-riches story that began with a small business (in this case, a produce stand along the roads of Tampa) that turned into a grocery empire. Also, like many of these stores, Kash n’ Karry has a sad ending, as all 117 stores were closed by 2007.

Alpha Beta 

Wikimedia Commons/Werner Weiss, courtesy of Orange County Archives

It may be the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, but to many of us, Alpha Beta is where we went to stock up on all of the necessities. Operating from 1915 to 1995, Alpha Beta eventually merged with the Ralph’s brand of stores, the latter of which can still be found in many of Alpha’s original buildings.


Youtube/Analog Memories

We don’t talk about Bruno, no, no, no… (I’m sorry, I had to sneak it in for the grandkids!) Founded in 1932, Bruno’s was a popular southern grocer that – at its height – operated a whopping 300 stores. Thanks to competition from Walmart and other related chains, Bruno’s found itself in a downward spiral and officially closed by 2009.

Super Duper 

Wikimedia Commons/Dirtyharry667

Had I lived in the east (where the chain was located), I can safely say that I would have shopped at Super Duper for its name alone. Once prevalent throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and New York, this positively-named chain closed its last store in 2010.

Twin Valu

Wikimedia Commons/Niceckhart

Twin Valu was one of those places you either loved or hated, as it introduced the concept of “hypermarkets” (superstores with a high-volume, low-margin sale model) to several communities. Unfortunately for Twin Valu, the idea wasn’t as “valued” as the company had hoped, with all of its locations shuttering after a mere seven years.

Wild Oats Markets 

Flickr/Miss Shari

Today, it is easy to find a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or other health food store, but when Wild Oats entered the scene in 1987, it was an exciting new concept. While Wild Oats is no longer a standalone store, it still manufactures organic food and drinks.

Do these places remind you of simpler times? Me, too! I hope this quick recap of supermarkets that are gone forever offered a fun walk down memory lane.

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