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TOUR: Maxwell's Food Store - Auburn, NY

Maxwell's Food Store
Owner: Scott Maxwell
Opened: 1930
Cooperative: None
Location: 43 N Lewis St, Auburn, NY
Photographed: August 2020
Our first of two stores here in Auburn, NY! Auburn anchors the north end of Owasco Lake and is home to the Auburn Correctional Facility -- plus a vibrant downtown with small business, history, and arts. Among the notable figures who lived in Auburn are William H. Seward, former New York governor, senator, and secretary of state under Lincoln; and probably the most famous abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. Their respective houses have been turned into museums, along with an Equal Rights Heritage Center next to Seward's house. Lots of cool stuff in the city, and this family-owned grocery store that dates back to 1930 is no exception.
The store uses Best Yet storebrand products from C&S Wholesale Grocers, as do most independent stores in the Finger Lakes region.
The 3,000 square foot store is located just to the northeast of downtown Auburn, about half a mile from the outer limits of what you might call downtown.
The storefront here is just gorgeous and in excellent shape given its age (though I doubt it is as old as the store itself is). It gives the store a unified feeling you don't get inside, as we'll see, it's very divided into the different rooms from its various expansions.
Produce and flowers are on the front of the left side wall, with frozen in the rest of the first aisle which is a dead-end into the backroom.
Great old cases! I actually love how they're all red matching the storefront -- and I love the shiny chrome around the edges.
The rest of the first aisle.
Dairy and meat in the next aisle with the butcher and deli counter at the back.
The butcher/deli is clearly the biggest department in the store.
Moving into the next room to the right, we find beer, grocery aisles, and nonfoods.
I love these older small town-feeling grocery stores (even though Auburn is a pretty large city).
I think there are about four grocery aisles in this section of the store, which run parallel to the front wall of the store.
Some extra carts in storage here.
Here's a bit of an overview of the whole store, actually, looking from the back wall towards the front corner where produce is. Beer and meat/deli are to the right of the camera, with the very top of the dairy cases in red visible behind the yellow balloon.
More frozen foods in the front of the store.
One last shot of the entrance/exit before we head out. I loved this store because it's a classic grocery store, and they just don't make 'em like this anymore. But they do make 'em like the next store we're going to see over in downtown Auburn -- in fact they make a lot of 'em just like this one -- tomorrow on The Market Report, so make sure to come by then to check it out!


  1. The fixtures were the more exciting thing I found here. The vintage carts (manufactured by Folding Carrier Corporation) were from a Western NY chain called Nu-Way, which was absorbed by Acme, which departed from upstate NY a couple decades later. Also found it interesting that this store had wire baskets, which seems rather uncommon in this day and age.

    I kind of find these kind of stores a welcome break from modernized chain stores that almost have a sterile nature to them.

    1. Oh wow, I had no idea those carts were that old! Thanks for the history here!

    2. Sadly this store closed at the end of July in 2022.


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