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TOUR: JG Food Warehouse - Clearfield, PA

JG Food Warehouse
Owner: Drew Rowles
Opened: 1983
Cooperative: none
 200 River St
Photographed: June 23, 2023
Here in Clearfield, PA, where we saw a former ACME yesterday, today we're taking a look at a former A&P! This A&P appears to have been opened in the early- to mid-1950s, renovated and expanded to its present 17,000 square feet in the mid-1970s, and closed no later than 1983. JG Food Warehouse opened in that year, as one of the retail grocery stores owned by a local group called Jefferson Wholesale Grocery. They were a wholesaler and small chain of retail grocery stores in this area, based in Clarion, about 50 miles west of here where they also owned a grocery store. There's not a whole lot of information out there about Jefferson, and a 1958 lawsuit regarding a company of the same name but based in Pittsburgh may or may not be referring to the same company. (And is JG Food Warehouse just short for Jefferson Grocery?)
Jefferson has been shrinking for some time, closing their Punxsutawney location in 2013, closing their Clarion location in 2019, and selling this one just recently. At one time, the chain had 13 retail stores around the region. This one was sold to the former store manager earlier this year. I don't believe Jefferson has any remaining operations, unless there's still a wholesale business I am not aware of.
We can tell that this was definitely an A&P from the distinctively shaped sign out by the street! The interesting thing is that the street the store faces is now a tiny street that doesn't even have any lines painted on it, but the main street through town goes basically behind the store. Looking at Historic Aerials, I'm not sure whether the small street seen here once was a more major one.
The store faces the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, and looks directly out at the former ACME.
So let's tour the store! We enter on the left side of the storefront and then walk across the front, in front of the registers, to the right half of the store (we can see where the original A&P ended and the expansion begins very clearly both outside and inside). There's a sale section on the front wall that we walk through to get to produce, which lines the first aisle along with dairy. Deli and meat are on the back wall with frozen in the last aisle on the left side, along with nonfoods. This is definitely set up like a discount store, but has a lot of selection including a lot of local brands.
We turn left at the end of the storefront to enter the produce department. I love the retro decor here! I believe this was installed by Jefferson at some point, since their store in Clarion had the same decor.
Although the store is set up a little bit like a discount supermarket, it's definitely not in the Save-A-Lot or ALDI category. It's very much a complete, full-service supermarket.
Also in the first aisle is a bulk candy department...
...and behind produce is dairy on the left side of the aisle and "poppoppoppoppoppoppop" on the right side! We're almost in the midwest here, just 100 miles east of Ohio.
Lots of interesting candies, including these chocolates made in eastern Ohio.
This store doesn't have a bakery department, but there are some baked goods here and some others in the last aisle.
I don't know if any of the fixtures are left from A&P, but I doubt it. I think it's more likely that Jefferson did a large renovation when they moved in and then haven't since.
Discount-style shelving with products (some still in their cases) on the warehouse shelving. This is the JG Food Warehouse, after all.
The store does have a full line of all the products, though. It's not a limited-assortment store, beyond the limits of simply being in a relatively small space.
Some local favorites show up on the shelves too. Can't say I'm in a hurry to try some of them, although maybe they're delicious...
I noticed that grocery prices were very low across the board, but if you're competing with ALDI and Walmart, the differences may be insignificant (while I'm comparing to mainstream supermarkets).
Paper goods in the back left corner of the store, with frozen foods in the last aisle.
As we can see, maintenance here has not been great, with the flooring looking very worn, lights burnt out, and a few visible water stains on the ceiling. I have no idea what kind of volume this store does, because I was here on a Friday night around 7:30.
The frozen foods department is built around a long row of coffin cases. This setup reminds me strongly of a Save-A-Lot, although they typically have dairy at the back of this section.
Baked goods are in the front, with customer service in front of that.
And here's a look at the front-end! Clearfield has a few other places to buy groceries, with a Save-A-Lot and a Walmart closer to the highway outside of town, but for the next full-service supermarket, you'd have to go about six miles southwest to Goodman's Foodliner in Curwensville. That's all for Clearfield, but on Monday we're headed out to Clarion to see one of Jefferson's former stores on Grocery Archaeology!