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Snapshot: Grade A Market - Glenbrook, Stamford, CT

Grade A Market
Owner: Tom Cingari
Opened: 2001 (?)
Cooperative: Wakefern Food Corp.
Location: 495 Hope St, Glenbrook, Stamford, CT
Photographed: May 2019
Today's snapshot is one of two Grade A Markets in Stamford, although there are also three ShopRites owned by Grade A in Stamford, along with several more in the suburbs including Danbury. After Grade A joined Wakefern in the mid-90s, two of their stores were deemed too small to be converted to the ShopRite branding -- or perhaps, two stores were acquired later that were too small to be ShopRites, I'm not sure of the timing here. This one is under 20,000 square feet. Both of the Grade A stores are former Grand Unions but I don't know whether they closed before the 2001 bankruptcy.
As the crow flies, it's only about 0.6 miles between this store and the other Grade A, which we'll tour tomorrow. But in reality, it's kind of hard to get between the two stores, and you kind of have to wind your way through residential streets to get there. Come back tomorrow to tour the Newfield Grade A!


  1. Given its very small size, it is hard to tell if this was built in the early 1970s as a relocation from the Colonial-styled store or was itself a much older store that got this early 1970s facelift. It definitely resembles the former Ringwood and Sparta GU stores.

    1. It's a really good question, and either one could be a reasonable explanation.

  2. This supermarket started life as a 14,000 - later 17,000sqft First National supermarket, later nationallay abbreviated to FiNaSt(First National Stores). It shared a vertical metal facade plus awning with the rest of the new Glenbrook Shopping Center located still on Hope Street in Stamford Connecticut.

    It anchored the Glenbrook SC in the '60s with a similar sized W.T. Grant Department store, which was doubled in size early 1970s and became 'Grant's City". In between these two large establishments were 3-4 smaller bays, occupied by a package store, a Johns Best Pizza, later a Hibachi restaurant, and a laundromat.

    In 1977, when WT Grant folded, FW Woolworth moved in to the expanded Grant City location, becoming at that time the biggest store of the Woolworth/Woolco portfolio in of Connecticut, if not all of New England. A Boston Woolworths would best that record sometime during the 1980s, with three levels if I recall what a Glenbrook Woolworth store manager explained to me.

    At the other end, First National-Edwards folded, and Grand Union renovated that store and opened in 1991. It would last about ten years.

    In 1997, when FW Woolworth declared bankruptcy, that 50+thousand foot upper and lower space remained vacant until 2001, when Bob's Discount Furniture relocated to Stamford from its Norwalk location on Cross Street(now a Goodwill Super Store). Actually - Bobs did not occupy that entire former Woolworth's - the far left end(closest to the newly opened Grade A Market) became the fourth location in Stamford for Karps/True Value/Rocky's/Ace indpendent hardware store. Amazingly, that family-run hardware continues not only to hold its own against certain big-box hardwares, but is actually thriving, providing what counts: product that is hard to find at the big chains, and, one on one personal customer service.

    Underground fitness, appropriately, located beneath Karps, with a street-level entrance and stairs down to that gym.

    Bob's Furniture in the 2010s relocated to Norwalk, where the rent was lower, in the former Toys R Us store on Connecticut Avenue. "You can go home again"!

    As of early 2024, the former Bobs/Woolworth space is still vacant, but, from right to left: Rocky's Ace Hardware, Underground Fitness, the laundromat, the package store, the Hibachi, and Glenbrook Grade A market occupy Glenbrook Shopping Center.

    1. Thank you for all the details here!

      I am quite familiar with Rocky's Ace Hardware -- when I lived in Worcester, MA, I would frequently go to their location there (when I wasn't going to Barrows, the other independent hardware store in my neighborhood). In my town in New Jersey, we have an Ace Hardware that thrives and has been in business since 1923. I was just there yesterday. I do love independent hardware stores!


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