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

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

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.

 

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and spent 20 years working in Buffalo radio and TV, climbing his way to news director at WBEN Radio. Since then, he's been an adjunct professor, produced PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.