Sunday, January 3, 2010

Schwegmann Giant Supermarkets New Orleans


Schegmann in Metairie at Vets & Division Street

A tradition that began in 1869; Schwegmann Giant Supermarkets were a place for New Orleaneans to "make groceries". Schwegmann started as a small grocery store and became the largest grocer in New Orleans. Some of the stores built in the 1960's such as Harvey and Algiers had mini-malls attached to the store. Some of the stores such as the Old Gentilly Rd location had businesses in the front of the store just like the Wal-Mart superstores of today. Schwegmann became the largest grocer in the New Orleans area and acquired the National Food store chain in the mid 1990's. Since Schwegmann had a near monopoly of the New Orleans market they were forced to close seven of their acquired stores. The acquisition also put the company into financial trouble and the chain was purchased by Kohlberg and Co after 127 years in business. The chain only lasted a little more than a year after the takeover and closed all the stores in 1999. The Schwegmann stores were known for their low prices and huge selection of store branded items. Fiesta Markets in Houston are very similar in layout and merchandise selection to the Schwegmann Giant Markets in New Orleans. Some of the old markets have been converted to different brands, but several have been abandoned or demolished.

Here is the Mardi Gras Carnival Corner that was open during Mardi Gras season. The Carnival Corner sold beads, parade supplies, and novelties.



Here is another shot of the Schegmann in Metairie at Vets & Division Street. This store was demolished in the early 2000's and replaced by a Lowe's home improvement store.

18 comments:

  1. It is all too easy to cry over losing an old friend and, all to hard to find a new one.I don't think any thing can really replace them. So long Schegmanns, you guys will be missed!!

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  2. When I lived in Metarie in the early 80's I shopped at Schwegmann's all the time. It was a great store. I recently visited Metarie for the first time in over 20 years. It made me very sad to see the Lowe's had replaced Schwegmann's on Veteran's.

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  3. There was just nothing like Schwegmann's in the NOLA area.

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  4. Ain't there no more....I remember the lounge at the front of the Schweggmans store on Gentilly when I was a child in the '60's.....My mom tried really hard to avoowid telling me what that was! I used to love to go to the fish market and look at all the strange fish that were for sale....wow~

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  5. Worked at the Airline Hwy store just down from Causeway Blvd. A great before and after school job in the early 70's. Never made a lot of money, but that was where I learned to do a job very well. The people I worked with and for were always very nice. Most of us were just high school kids and some in college. Had some real good times in that store.

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  6. I haven't lived in N,O, in over 25 yrs. but when I think about growing up in NO and Metairie Schweggmanns is a part of my thoughts and memories. What was great he carried all the local company's products. Big Shot drinks, Hubig pies, Jacks, Dixie, Falstaff beer, and etc. It was New Orleans. Making Grocery's at Schweggmanns was a big part of my life. Miss you a lot.

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    1. You can get Dixie Beer again in most parts of the state at grocery stores. I am not sure of the status of Hubig pies since their factory burned down. Big Shot is still going strong but so many other New Orleans things are gone.

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  7. Uncle John was tough but fair. He gave a lot of people jobs in the store.I am glad to see the people of New Orleans remember.

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  8. What I would give for just 1 Schwaggmann store. Everything you needed _
    With the right price

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  9. Schwegmann sold out in late 1996 to KKR, which put into place a bunch of store closings--many of which were acquired from National. Schwegmann had planned to convert National, That Stanley, Canal Villere, and The Real Superstore to their own name, but since a Real Superstore exists in Baton Rouge (with its name almost entirely intact until being altered to "store" c. 2012), that obviously never happened.

    In March 1999, they sold 6 stores to A&P, which converted them to Sav-a-Centre, but didn't close them in the converting process (employees went through a re-hiring process)...or at least that's what would have happened had Schwegmann not filed for bankruptcy. In mid-1999 all their stores closed, and A&P renovated and reopened theirs.

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    1. Thanks for the additional information, the stores really began changing when KKR took them over. The first sign of trouble for me was when they began having lots of empty spots on the shelves. Schwegmanns had a huge selection of just about everything. They were some of the earliest supermarkets in the New Orleans area with supercenter sized locations. They lost their identity with the new company and shoppers noticed the changes. Since the company never expanded more than 200 miles outside of the city and took over way too many locations in the New Orleans area they hurt themselves. I really enjoyed shopping at these stores and still have some store branded products in my collection including an unopened bottle of Schwegmann liquor. There are a couple of old locations still standing and untouched since the store closed. One you can find in my Tall Timbers Mall article, the other store is in Gentilly near the industrial canal. There is another store in Slidell that has been partially redeveloped but most of the old store is still untouched.

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  10. Roof parking.....pharmacists in attic

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  11. Worked on the airline highway store in 1975. Www.drpfastship.com

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  12. Wow work on the airline hwy store near Kenner in 1975...
    D Picou

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    1. so did i in '84. Memories are weirdly sad, now, looking back

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  13. My dad and I both worked at the location in Harvey west bank exspressway. Paid the bills. Its a shame many of those retail jobs are being eliminated due to technology like online shopping and self check outs. and you rarely see bagboys and girls anymore , in some stores you must bag it yourself, it sucks.

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    1. Thank you for your comment on your history at the Manhattan Schwegmann. We lived right off Manhattan from 1983 to 1986 so we frequented that store. We also visited the small Kmart there from time to time, but my parents preferred the larger Kmart stores on Lapalco. I don't know if you still live in the area, but the Tall Timbers Mall which was very similar to the Manhattan Mall (Old news articles called that location Manhattan Mall). Here is my article from that mall. http://southernretail.blogspot.com/2012/02/tall-timbers-mall.html

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