Denfeld Super Valu Closes, 2001

October 19, 2001

Two boys walk past the Denfeld Super Valu store on Grand Avenue Thursday afternoon. The grocery store will close and a new Walgreens drugstore will be built on the same lot, according to documents filed with the city. (Justin Hayworth / News Tribune)



By Craig Lincoln, News Tribune staff writer

The Denfeld Super Valu in Duluth will close and Walgreens will replace it soon if the city approves permits, according to documents filed with the city Board of Zoning Appeals.

The Super Valu has been a fixture in the Grand Avenue business scene for decades, but has faced stiff competition from a nearby Super One store.

The new Walgreens store on Grand Avenue at 46th Avenue will be five or six blocks away from its current location in the Spirit Valley Shopping Center.

The city still has to approve a request to vacate part of the alley on the property and to allow the store to be closer to the street than zoning laws allow.

The Board of Zoning Appeals, which decides whether the store can be built close to the street, has the request on its Oct. 23 agenda.

Although business officials involved wouldn’t confirm that Walgreens would close the current store, the corporation is moving as many stores as possible out of less-visible locations in shopping centers and into free-standing stores, according to the company’s 2000 annual report….

According to city documents, the new Walgreens store would be about 15,000 square feet, a common size for one of its stores.

The 100-year-old chain has been aggressively expanding lately. It plans to open 500 stores this year, or about one every 17 hours.

14 Responses

  1. Jim

    I went into my archives and found a 1951 City Directory. The store that was on 40th and 5th-across from Merritt School was the Miller Grocery.
    I also did a count of the grocery stores listed in the directory and at that time there were about 296 stores listed–this included Piggy Wiggly which had seven locations and J J Thorp which had 5 locations listed and also a Marine Supply. As an aside, restaurants and coffee shops were also plentiful as there were many listed in the directory.

  2. Matt

    I used to work as a merchandiser for a pop company and I had to bring the pop up from the basement (the basement was the size of the whole store and they kept all the inventory there) I liked the 100 year old elevator that you had to hold the button down to operate. You even had to slide the fence down before it would work.

  3. Dan

    There probably was a market on the corner of 40th Avenue West and Fifth Street across from the front of Merrit School. That corner house was square and flat like a market would look, but that had to be maybe 50 years ago. I don’t know what the name was.

    Home Market was on 40th Avenue West and Sixth Street.

  4. Mike G

    The store was called Home Market, there meat counter was the best. They had a fire maybe 5-6 years ago not to sure on when but nobody rebuilt the store, it was a big loss for the neighborhood. Its funny how we take our past for granted and when its gone a part of us goes with it.

  5. Jim

    Wqasn’t there another corner store at one time at 40th and 5th–right across from Merritt School?
    I do remember Emma’s market. I must have been thinking about George and Edna Perich who ran the store at 39th and Grand. Also, wasn’t there a Mattel market and Larson Markein the same general area?

  6. Dan

    The little corner market on 39th Avenue West and Fifth Street was Emma’s, not Edna’s, owned and operated by Emma Sundeen. Talk about a throwback to the good old days and this was at least 40 years ago. She was a sweet, sweet old lady and I’m sure a lot of kids from those days remember her well. I’d LOVE to see a photo from the inside of her store, but I doubt anybody took the time to talk to Emma.

  7. Patt J

    My sisters and I remember Suttons very well! There was one called Upton’s, too, and I think it was on Ramsey Street. Home Market was right across from Merritt School when I attended. There was also a smaller market on Fifth Street, I think. Can’t remember the name, but they had a big SALADA TEA sign in the window, which always puzzled me. In the 70s I lived on West Fifth and Lake Avenue, and there was a small market in the middle of the block. I didn’t drive at the time, so it was very handy. Great memories.

  8. Jim

    I remember a grocery on West 8th Street–which I belived was owned by the Thorp Family. It is
    interesting to reminisce about all the corner stores that were not only in West Duluth, bur throught the whole city. To name a few– Suttons at 42nd and Grand; Grand Avenue Confectionary or Perich’s
    store at 39th and Grand; Edna’s at 39th and 5th
    St, and Home Market owned by Ralph Beck at 40th and 6th St. Ahh, for the good old days.

  9. Andrew

    There still are a few small grocery stores in town that have that “small-town” feel (and decent prices if you shop for what’s on sale). Piggly Wiggly up in Woodland tops my list. There also are Homecroft SuperValu, the SuperValu out by Pike Lake… maybe even Super One in Lakeside would make the list.

  10. Chris

    Personally I loved Denfeld Super Valu. And in all the years of shopping there, I never remember our groceries falling off the track. There was something very small town about that store. You knew all the clerks, stockers, and baggers. Earl Thorpe would be ambling around stocking shelves. It was really one of the last of the neighborhood grocery stores. If you had an item that they stopped carrying, you would mention it to somebody and within a week or two it would be back on the shelf. Now that I”m on my own and responsible financially for my family, I’ll head to Super One, Cub Foods, or Super WalMart in order to save a buck or two. But it really is a shame that places like this were simply priced out of existence by huge conglomerate grocery stores.

  11. Mike G

    I used to work there from 1974-1978 as a carry out, when Earl Thorp owned it we where all treated like family members. It was a great place to work and to shop.That picture sure brings back good memories. Thanks…..

  12. Patt J

    I remember that system, too, that Jim mentioned above. I suppose your groceries could have been conveniently picked up by the last car, too… It was kinda crazy.

    It was a good store, though, and one of those last neighborhood stores like Loop Super Value in Lakeside, which we all miss. I long for some small neighborhood grocery store whose name does not include the words “Super One.”

  13. Jim M

    I’ll never forget that conveyor belt system where they put your groceries in a numbered tub so you could “conveniently” drive up to get your groceries without pushing a shopping cart to your car. By the time you got there, there was a good chance that your bin fell off the conveyor leaving all of your food in road salt slush.

Comments are closed.