CRESTVIEW — Today, residents choose from four Crestview supermarkets and one in Baker to meet their households' grocery needs.
In the 1940s, folks had far more choices.
"Crestview: The Forkland," by Betty Curenton and Claudia Patten, lists more than 15 family-owned grocery stores among 1940s businesses.
Curenton, whose parents operated Sanders Grocery and Market, said personal service was a commodity the family-owned stores had in abundance.
"They cut their own meat," she said. "They waited until the customer came in and wanted a special cut. Mother could cut it as well as Daddy could."
The chains arrive
Homer Holland brought the first chain grocery store to Okaloosa County in 1944.
Later, Ferris Youman aligned his grocery store with another chain.
By the 1950s and '60s, chain supermarkets were squeezing small locally owned grocery stores out of the market.
With chain supermarkets' arrival, customers lost personal service, Curenton said.
"Mother had one German man who'd come in and order a pound of hamburger meat and he'd eat it right there in the store...," she said. "We couldn't stand to watch him, but Mother would be glad to sell it to him. She wanted him to come back."
By the 1950s and '60s, residents were experiencing "modern" shopping — complete with Muzak and pre-butchered meat in the refrigerated cases — at these chain supermarkets:
JITNEY JUNGLE: Holland opened the city's first grocery store chain on Main Street. It later moved to the corner of Oakdale Avenue and Wilson Street, where Pensacola Pools is today.
Jitney Jungle's final location was in a strip shopping center formerly behind the present-day McDonald's on U.S. Highway 90.
THE IGA: Jitney Jungle's third home became Hartzog's IGA Foodliner, which residents just called, "the IGA." It shared the shopping center with the public library.
The IGA later moved to Northwood Plaza at the corner of North Ferdon Boulevard and Stillwell Avenue, taking up retail space that Goodwill and Azteca now occupy.
PIGGLY WIGGLY: Youman's Grocery Store opened on Main Street in 1942. Within years, it became a Piggly Wiggly and moved to what became the Sears catalog store on Oakdale and Wilson, which now is Gordon Martial Arts.
Piggly Wiggly next moved across the parking lot to the corner of Beech Avenue and Wilson Street. Until recently, the now-unoccupied building was an urban church.
The store finally moved to Big Lots' present location on South Ferdon Boulevard.
WINN-DIXIE: New Beginnings Church now is located on U.S. 90, where this store once stood.
When TG&Y — then located beside the site of today's Pic-n-Sav — went out of business in the early 1980s, Winn-Dixie moved in.
Later in the '80s it moved to its present location on North Ferdon Boulevard.
Today, apart from Thrifty Foods on Wilson Street and Brown's Grocery in Holt, most neighborhood family-owned groceries have closed.
1940s grocery shopping
Small, family-owned grocery stores once lined Main Street and the downtown district. "Crestview: The Forkland" by Betty Curenton and Claudia Patten lists these 1940s grocery stores:
Bowers' Grocery, Four Point Cash Grocery, Grady's Grocery and Market, J.J. Kilpatrick Groceries and Gasoline, Jitney Jungle, L.E. Bowers Grocery, Eggs and Feed, Live Wire Grocery, Publix Curb Market, Quality Food Store, Sanders Grocery and Market and Ice Cream Shop, Suwannee Store, T.C. Garrett's Cash Market, Talbot's Grocery and Market, Taylor's Curb Market, W.A. Lawson Gas, Oil and Groceries, Youman's Grocery and Curb Market.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.