We recently lost a grocery store in Schuylkill County.
On July 9, the Giant store in downtown Pottsville closed its doors for good.
So, for whatever reason, we decided to jump into the Coal Region Wayback Machine – aka the Schuylkill County Parcel Locator – and take a look back at what grocery stores looked like waaaaay back in 1995. Buckle up … that was 25 years ago! (To some people, that’s ancient history.)
Schuylkill County Grocery Stores in the 1990s
Let’s start our journey with the inspiration for this post:
Giant – Pottsville, PA – November 1994
Giant grocery store in downtown Pottsville closed its doors permanently on July 9 at 6 p.m. It operated at this same location on Progress Avenue in Pottsville for nearly 37 years.
In the picture above, taken back in 1994, the store had been open almost 13 years exactly.
Kinda like the deep orange color scheme the store used back in the mid-1990s.
The closing of this store in Pottsville creates a food desert in the downtown area. People limited to being pedestrians are going to have to really hoof it to make it to a proper grocery store until something, potentially, takes Giant’s place.
Insalacos – Pottsville, PA – August 1995
Shoppers in Pottsville today know it as Boyer’s. But it wasn’t always Boyer’s, of course.
This grocery store in the city’s Yorkville section used to be the bigger and better Way-Mart store that lasted in Minersville for decades. Way-Mart took over after Insalaco’s departed this location. It may have been a BiLo in between those two. Insalaco’s and BiLo were each owned by the same company.
And before that, this store was an Acme store. It just looks like an Acme, or Ack-a-me.
Weis Markets – Pottsville, PA – October 1995
Weis Markets current location in the Pottsville Park Plaza wasn’t where it always was. Previously, the Weis Markets store was at the Fairlane Village Mall. After Weis built the store at the plaza, half this building above became a discount grocery store, Amelia’s, and the Harbor Freight tool store that’s still there today.
Insalacos – Cressona, PA – June 1995
There used to be an Acme, next to Hills, at the Cressona Mall. In 1995, the Acme was gone and something else took its place.
About 25 years ago, the best a digital camera could do was about 2 megapixels so barring any FBI technology to help us enhance this shot, it’s hard to tell what went in after the Acme.
This wasn’t long before Insalaco’s built a new store on top of where the Laneco department store sat at Cressona Mall. And this vinyl banner sign does seem to look like it’s got the Insalaco’s logo, but we don’t remember them having a temporary store there. It’s very possible, though.
Boyers – Schuylkill Haven, PA – October 1994
The Boyers in Schuylkill Haven back in 1995 looks pretty much the same as it does in 2020, including the blue Chevy van in front.
Delcamps – St. Clair, PA – January 1995
Delcamp’s in Saint Clair was the borough’s closest thing to a grocery store back in 1995. This is several years before the Walmart opened.
You can see it pretty much looks the same today as it did all those years ago.
McMullens Market – New Philadelphia, PA – May 1995
This is a favorite stop for people who live anywhere between Port Carbon and Tamaqua. That’s a long stretch of Schuylkill County without anything resembling a grocery store. McMullens Market may not be as big as some of the mega grocery stores in the area but it’s got everything you need.
Definitely a throwback. And it pretty much looks the same on the outside then as it does today.
Boyers – Orwigsburg, PA – July 1995
This is a look at the side of the building where Boyers in Orwigsburg is today. It looks pretty much the same today as it did then.
We’re also pretty sure 75% of the vehicles in this shot are still on the road.
BG’s Value Market – Pine Grove, PA – June 1995
The BG’s Value Market, along Route 443 in Pine Grove, used to be the local Acme. In the mid-90s, BG’s was rather new in town after the Acme closed for good. According to the Schuylkill County Parcel Locator, Acme sold the building to its current owner, Koval & Sninski, on April 17, 1995, not long before this photo was taken.
Berger’s Store – Pine Grove, PA – July 1995
The new Berger’s Store in Pine Grove has undergone several changes and phases over the last 25 years. It could be the best-smelling grocery store in Schuylkill County. You can see, on the right side of this July 1995 photo, it was undergoing an expansion.
The part with the shingled roof on the left used to be Berger’s restaurant for a short time.
Way-Mart – Minersville, PA – June 1995
The Way-Mart in Minersville was iconic. The aisles were barely wide enough to get a modern-day cart through but it served the town well for decades. Way-Mart tried expanding into Pottsville, when it occupied what is now the Boyer’s Food Store.
Today, this Way-Mart store is a Dollar General.
Boyers – Tamaqua, PA – May 1995
The Ack-a-me was on its way out in Tamaqua and Penn-Traffic was moving in. Based on this sign, it looks like another Insalacos was moving into the area. Without knowing better, it’s difficult to read the sign. If you know better, let us know in the comments.
Today, this place at 210 Cedar St. in Tamaqua is a Boyer’s.
BiLo Foods – Mahanoy City, PA – October 1995
Here’s another former Acme store, this one in Mahanoy City. By October 1995, it became the BiLo Foods store. BiLo was the Insalacos of the north and also owned by Penn Traffic Co.
The BiLo eventually became the P&R. Eventually it became vacated and purchased by Mahanoy Area School District back in 2014. This building is no longer standing, sadly.
Mahanoy City Food Store – Mahanoy City, PA – March 1995
This grocery store in Mahanoy City has been serving customers in the heart of the downtown for decades.
Boyers – Shenandoah, PA – April 1995
Again, with any of these photos from the mid-1990s, there’s a good chance you can go to the Boyers in Shenandoah at any point tomorrow and see at least half the same vehicles in the parking lot. We’re looking at you Pontiac Grand Prix. (We’re going to get mail on that one. Someone is bound to correct us on that model.)
BiLo Foods – Shenandoah, PA – April 1995
Here’s what the BiLo Foods building in Shenandoah looked like back in April 1995. This store is no longer operating. The building was purchased by the Twardziks in 2001.
Weis Markets – Frackville, PA – June 1995
The Weis Markets store in Frackville used to be up at “the New Mall” before it closed for good. Today, it’s a Big Lots store and we all know what happened to the Schuylkill Mall.
Boyers – Ashland, PA – February 1995
The current site of Boyers in Ashland used to be a BiLo Foods and before that, like all the others in the county, was previously an Acme. In this shot from February 1995, you can still see signs of the Acme.
Did we miss some? Probably most definitely. We’re expecting to get letters from Hegins. We had trouble locating the place now known as Redners. And we know we’re missing others.
If you remember a grocery store from the mid-1990s in Schuylkill County that’s not listed here, please let us know in the comments section below.
Images: Schuylkill County Map Viewer