What It Looked Like Wednesday: Grocery wars of the ’50s spark deja vu on Hertel

By Steve Cichon

North Buffalo and the neighborhoods around the Hertel strip are abuzz with excitement over what promises to be a revolution in grocery shopping in the very near future.

A&P and Loblaw’s fought grocery wars on Hertel Avenue in the 1950s from the same storefronts where the Lexington Co-Op and Dash’s will be vying for customers 60 years later. (Buffalo Stories archives)

The Lexington Co-Op is slated to open a new branch in what was most recently a CVS drug store on Hertel Avenue. Renovation and construction have been ongoing at the 10,000-square-foot store, which will boast a sidewalk café and meat and seafood counters.

Meanwhile, Dash’s Markets caused an uproar in 2013 when plans to close the current Hertel Avenue store and merge it with a larger facility on Kenmore Avenue were made public. Speculation has been rampant about plans for an enlarged Dash’s store in the footprint of buildings owned by the Dash family, taking up nearly the entire block from Starin to Voorhees avenues.

2017 rendering

If the speculation comes true and consumers soon have two gleaming modern supermarkets within a block of each other — it won’t be the first time that’s happened. It won’t even be the first time for the two buildings involved.

In the 1950s, the same North Buffalo neighborhood watched two grocery behemoths battle for their shopping patronage from the same exact locations.

While the building at 1678 Hertel Ave. has been known for the last several decades as a CVS drugstore, for several decades starting in the 1940s, the location was home to an A&P Supermarket.

1950 ad for the renovated A&P Market on Hertel Avenue. It’s expected that the Lexington Co-Op will open in the building sometime in 2017. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Renovations to the existing store in 1950 promised the ladies of North Buffalo modern shopping like none they’d ever experienced. “Step down the aisles,” the ad invites. “You’ll find them lined with new departments, sparkling new refrigerated cases and modern marketing equipment of every sort.”

The A&P lasted in the spot through the late 1970s.

Perhaps feeling the heat from the sparkling new A&P, in 1955, Loblaws closed its dated location at Hertel and Parkside (now the site of Walgreens) and opened a new store just up from Hertel and Starin.

1955 ad for the grand opening of the Loblaws supermarket on Hertel Avenue. The same building is now the home of Dash’s Markets. (Buffalo Stories archives)

In 1971, the store – which had also been known as Star Discount Market for a brief time – was sold to become a B-Kwik Market. It was operated as B-Kwik by the Dash family for decades, until a corporate sale mothballed the name B-Kwik and the store became Dash’s in 2003.


What It Looked Like Wednesday: A&P, Delaware at Great Arrow, 1948

By Steve Cichon

Buffalo News archives

Now known as Marshalls Plaza, the strip mall has also been known as Great Arrow Plaza and, when it first opened in 1948, the Delaware Park Shopping Center. The apartment buildings in the background are still recognizable.

The big tenants when this photo was snapped were the A&P market and the Western Savings Bank branch — which was opened after state law changed allowing savings banks to open two branch locations. Episcopal Bishop Lauriston Scaife was joined by about 6,000 onlookers when the bank location opened.

Buffalo Stories archives

The plaza was built on the northeast corner of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition — on the site of the 12,000-seat stadium.