Skip to main content

TOUR: DeKalb Supermarket - Norristown, PA

DeKalb Supermarket
Owner: Young Kim
Opened: unknown
Cooperative: IGA
 815 DeKalb St, Norristown, PA
Photographed: July 22, 2021
We arrive at the supermarket in downtown Norristown for a look around! This store was built in the 1950s as an A&P, which closed by the 1970s and became the Norristown Thriftway at some point. After that, it transitioned to the DeKalb Supermarket which was also affiliated with Thriftway/Shop n Bag (and branded with both logos). In 2016, when Thriftway/Shop n Bag dissolved, this store and most of the others joined IGA under the Retail Marketing Group.
This store is under the same ownership as the Chelten Market, and interestingly enough, that store received a new fleet of carts shortly after it opened and that store's old carts were sent here to Norristown. As we see, they're all Pathmark carts, but some of them have been labeled with Chelten market stickers.
The 21,000 square foot store appears to have been expanded out from an original 8300 square foot A&P, which faced the street. It's been expanded out three sides, and on the fourth a small strip mall has been constructed. The outside has very clearly been renovated well after the inside, and in fact I was surprised to see how old the store was inside compared to the rather cool-looking exterior.
The inside is clearly old, but it's been maintained well. I doubt the decor still on the walls is left over from this store's days as A&P (the lettering doesn't quite match what A&P was doing in the 70s, and it would mean A&P renovated the store right before closing it). But I do think the decor goes back to the early days of the Norristown Thriftway, which would also have been done in the 1970s.
The aisles run perpendicular to the street, meaning that the entrance and exit are on the side wall of the store. Produce here lines the first aisle, with meat, deli, and seafood on the back wall. Frozen and dairy are on the right side of the store, with international foods and soda in the front right corner.
As we see, the store is definitely old but plenty bright and clean. There is part of me, though, that wonders if the back wall was pushed out a little and this lower-ceiling area was originally part of the backroom.
This may have been roughly where the original store ended, as we can see from the poles here.
This store had a surprising amount of nonfood items, including a lot more HABA than I was expecting. We see a lot of HABA, including international and ethnic HABA items, here.
There's also hardware, kitchenwares, and other home items.
Check out these coffin freezer cases! They don't look like they've been here for 45 or 50 years, though.
Note that the aisle markers actually are over the shelving, not the aisles. Interesting and not something we see normally. Does anyone recognize these aisle markers from anywhere? I don't think they're secondhand from elsewhere.
And back over to the back wall for deli and seafood service counters.
I wasn't expecting to see the large seafood counter here, given the store's size, but it's a nice feature to have.
As we see, the store's not that large, as below we're looking across the full back wall. Again, these fixtures look newer than the 70s -- maybe the 90s.
Cold cuts and dairy in the last aisle. Again, I don't think the flooring is left over from A&P.
And in the front corner, we have the soda department and some additional international foods.
There are I believe two or three more aisles in the front corner here. There's a large Asian department here, but not much Asian population in town (Norristown is roughly 40% Black, 30% white, and 30% Hispanic). However, the owners are Korean.
Here's where the front corner meets the grocery aisles.
The DeKalb Supermarket is a good resource to have in the middle of downtown Norristown. I was really hoping for some great A&P relics inside, but unfortunately it doesn't look like there's too much left.
And although it's a good location to have, there is another, much larger international supermarket just outside of town. We'll check it out in a few days, but first, we're going to see one more small store here in Norristown. Come back tomorrow to check it out!


  1. Those Pathmark carts look fairly new. Was A&P/Pathmark buying blue plastic carts for Pathmark stores and grey technibilt metal carts for the A&Ps? Or did they just basically not invest at all in carts the whole time that A&P and Pathmark were together?

    1. Yes, they always had that degree of separation with ordering blue plastic carts for the Pathmark stores and the grey wire Technibilt carts for A&P (and even SuperFresh to an extent). In fact, A&P was still ordering their wire Technibilts as late as 2015 when they were going under. Pathmark has been using the TB Renaissance at least since the company they previously ordered their carts from went out of business.

  2. Aisle markers over the shelves are why I don't shop at ShopRite of Cinnaminson. I can't stand it.


Post a Comment