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TOUR: American Family Market - Narberth, PA

American Family Market
Owner: Paul Bovo
Opened: 1964
Cooperative: none
 230 Haverford Ave, Narberth, PA
Photographed: December 2021
Welcome to the small, quaint downtown of Narberth, PA! Retail fans know of this town from its ACME, but we're downtown for the 3700 square foot American Family Market. Originally an A&P, the American Family Market was taken over by its current owners in 1964. And AFM appears to have once been a small chain or cooperative of grocery stores in the Philadelphia area, which has long since dissolved. But other locations were at 911 N Franklin St in Philadelphia, since demolished, and 5429 Girard Ave, another obvious former A&P. There was at least one more but I haven't been able to find where it was exactly (I just recall seeing it once). Narberth is the only remaining American Family Market, which celebrated its 50th anniversary back in 2014. While it has been ranked as the top grocer in the area in the past, noted in the 2014 article, I'm not sure the last 8 years have been very kind to the aging store.
There's a certain amount of charm present in the tiny supermarket, but as we'll see, its best days are unfortunately clearly behind it. The first aisle on the left side of the store is produce in the front with frozen and dairy behind it, but as we'll see there's not much selection left here or anywhere else. Meats and deli line the back wall.
Empty cases, bare shelves, and uneven floors, unfortunately, do not make for a pleasant shopping experience. A sign of hope appeared earlier this year when a sustainability-focused startup opened a popup shop within the supermarket, although it appears that's only its temporary location while they prepare for their permanent home.
The aisle markers are wonderful, though, as historical relics! And speaking of historical relics, check out this decor on the back wall...
I love the look of this vintage interior! However, as we see, it comes with an ailing store. There's lots of empty space in this meat case (or things that are not meat used as space fillers), and while the grocery aisles appear to be pretty fully stocked at first glance, they are really bare but well fronted.
And so that is a credit to this store's staff, that the store is very tidy and orderly despite having only the bare minimum of stock on the shelves. I assume this store is nearing the end of its life, at least as the American Family Market. I wouldn't be surprised if a higher-end gourmet market moved in in the near future.
Looking towards the back of the store.
The deli seems to be rather popular, as it's probably a spot that people stop in and pick up the basics including lunchmeat or sandwiches quickly.
The front corner visible straight ahead here is home to the bulk foods business now.
Looking towards the back of the store in the last aisle. And we need to see the wonderful front-end before we head out...
You can see the store's single employee (possibly manager) to the far left above, and we were the only shoppers in the place, which does not give me high hopes for the store's future. But it's certainly a great preservation time capsule here in Narberth, and I'm sure it's a convenient stop. From this store, we move into Philadelphia proper tomorrow for a very large and modern store on The Market Report. Go check it out tomorrow for something completely different!


  1. Unfortunately, yesterday was AF's last day in operation. It's the end of an era.

    1. That's a shame, but I can't say I didn't see that coming. It's unfortunate that it won't live on as the last American Family Market in operation.

  2. I appreciated seeing the aisles of the now closed American Family Market in photos. As said above, they unfortunately closed July 1rst 2023, the whole block is being redeveloped...While I agree that the infrastructure was old, this was a remarkably well stocked small store. During the pandemic in particular, you could find many articles that had disappeared at nearby larger supermarkets, including mustard when it suddenly disappeared everywhere else. It was a great help for the community, and as a neighbor, I certainly miss the ease of shopping there without having to take the car. I also always enjoyed a chat with the owners and their employee, something you do not find at the larger supermarkets...The American Family Market really contributed to the walkability and attraction of Narberth, and it is really missed in this neighborhood.

    1. Thanks for telling us about the history here!


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