Back in the day, before ‘super’ markets, there were just normal markets and as no such thing as one-stop food shopping. You had to go to the butcher’s, the baker’s, the fish-stick maker’s, etc. — and the milkman brought dairy products to your door. For canned goods and other non-perishables, there was the grocer’s, and among the most popular was the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. Established in 1859, the A&P was among the first American chain-store groceries. (Thank you, groceteria.com, for the history lesson.) This particular shop stood at the corner of Crystal and Gold Sts. in North Arlington.
We had presumed it was an A&P — yes, the stores were once this small — but closer inspection shows that the ‘A.P.’ on the awning lacks the asterisk.
(Was it a pretender and these were just the owner’s initials?) The photo also lacks a date, but the USO placard in the window and what looks like a man in uniform on the Chesterfield sign could indicate it was taken sometime in the 1940s.
Today, the same building is standing, but the ground floor, formerly occupied by the grocery, is now living space. We wonder if the residents ever get a faint whiff of freshly ground coffee beans.
– Karen Zautyk