Cowtown Yoostabes, Mom and Pop Edition: Neighborhood Grocery Stores

Neighborhood grocery stores. Remember them? Not that long ago every neighborhood had at least one grocery store. Often they were on a corner. Often they were tiny, no larger than the houses that surrounded them. Many didn’t have a parking lot: Customers arrived on foot. Sometimes the proprietor lived in the same building. Here are some buildings that yoostabe neighborhood groceries.

Henry Sawyer built this building on South Main at Daggett as a grocery store in 1909 after the great South Side fire of that year destroyed his previous building. He operated a grocery there into the early 1920s.


By 1888 Sawyer already was operating a grocery store and living at that 201 South Main location.

post office exchangeAs the ghost sign shows, this building (1909) on West Exchange Avenue was Frank Brooks’s grocery store. Now Pearl’s Dancehall & Saloon.

grocery dillAlso on West Exchange Avenue, this building (1908) yoostabe the grocery of James F. Dill.

grocery safeway on main 1940 withc 45 cdEven chain supermarkets were smaller and served an immediate neighborhood. For example, one block north the Sawyer Building at 104 South Main was Safeway store no. 332 in the 1940s. The 1945 city directory shows that Henry Sawyer’s building at 201 South Main now housed Pat Crow.

The building that houses the venerable Paris Coffee Shop at 704 Magnolia Street once was Safeway store no. 335.

safeway paris 45The coffee shop in 1945 was east of Hemphill at 614 Magnolia.

This building on the near South Side is on May Street, but the main house (in right background) faces West Leuda. The house was built by brick contractor William Graham as his own residence.

About 1920 the Graham outbuilding was converted to house Graham Bros. grocery store. Because the Graham house was built in 1910, the outbuilding may have originally been a carriage house. (Photo from Amon Carter Museum.)

grocery puquasThis building (1928) yoostabe Fuqua’s Supermarket on Evans Avenue.

look up evans 1928Although the store was owned by Charles and Clarice Fuqua, the sign reads “Puqua.”

grocery helpy selfy vickeryThis 1927 building at 2673 East Vickery Boulevard made a career of housing grocery stores: first a Helpy-Selfy, then an A&P, a Safeway, and Lee’s Food Market.

watsonstore2Typical of neighborhood grocery stores was the Watson family store on Fitzhugh Street in Poly. This article appeared in the Fort Worth Press in 1964. (Clip from Sherry Newman Mallory.)

The building that housed the Watson store, which survived from 1918 into the 1960s, is gone now. But these buildings survive:

safeway on rosedale 57In 1957 this building at 2918 East Rosedale was Safeway store no. 325.

grocery piggly wiggly college1930 pigglyIn 1930 half of Old Home Supply on College Avenue in Fairmount, as the ghost sign shows, was Piggly Wiggly store no. 15.

On the near East Side, this building on the corner of Tennessee Avenue at 1201 East Leuda was built about 1911. It long ago lost its face: awning, windows, door.

But almost a century ago Adolph Schilder operated a grocery store in that building. It continued to be a grocery store into the 1930s. Next door lived ex-slave Hattie Cole.

grocery 614 nw 22 1930 bolesIn the 1930s this was the neighborhood grocery of A. B. Boles on Northwest 22nd Street on the North Side.

grocery bransoms thrifty withitaBransom’s Thrifty Supermarket on Wichita Street near Oaklawn Elementary School.

grocery nashvilleOn Nashville Avenue at Avenue B across from Meissner Funeral Home, this was an F&M Food Market.

grocery mitchell villageAt Mitchell and East Berry streets, the Village Food Mart is now a church.

grocery a.l. davis berryOn East Berry Street, this was an A. L. Davis supermarket.

Here are three more from a time when people went to the corner market, not the Central Market:

corner markets(Top) William Peavler opened a grocery store across from D. McRae Elementary School at the corner of Millet and Bishop streets in 1920 in a building dating to 1915. It is now a residence.

(Center) John Beckelman ran his grocery store on Little Street from 1932 to 1953. He lived next door.

(Bottom) W. R. Hester ran a grocery store across Alston Avenue from Daggett Elementary School in a building dating to 1922.

yoostabe collupIts footprint looks tiny now, considering the treasures it once held. This is the foundation of William B. Collup’s grocery and market at the corner of Bishop Street and Avenue N, across the street from D. McRae Elementary School. They tell me the store sold food. But many of us boys knew Collup’s as the nearest fix for our habit: baseball cards. I diverted all my lunch money from the cafeteria at D. McRae to the register of Collup’s for six years, buying baseball cards (and that gum you could shingle a roof with). I graduated weighing eighty-seven pounds, but by God and Gehrig, I had me a genuine Mickey Mantle card!

yoostabe cardsOf course, for every Mickey Mantle I unwrapped, I unwrapped seventy Joe Nuxhalls.

Neighborhood grocery stores are largely history now. But some of the buildings that housed them remain, reminding us of a time when doctors made house calls, drugstores had soda fountains, gas stations were full-service, and heroes batted cleanup in Yankee Stadium.

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4 Responses to Cowtown Yoostabes, Mom and Pop Edition: Neighborhood Grocery Stores

  1. Michael Lavender says:

    I lived on Crouch St., about a block from the A. L Davis store. It was just across the street (then Tarrant Road) from what I think was a YMCA at the corner of Edgewood Terrace and Tarrant road.
    Walking to the store was high adventure for me in the 50′s.

    • hometown says:

      Michael, I remember my family shopping at that A. L. Davis, probably as we were going to the family farm south of Arlington before the lake was built.

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