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Grocery Archaeology: Leicester & Cherry Valley

Welcome to the first Grocery Archaeology Roundup post! In and around Worcester, I have a lot of long-ago grocers -- many independent stores once built into houses or apartment buildings, some from so far back that they didn't even use a brand name beyond the owner's name. Rather than doing a post each, at the end of the group of towns or neighborhoods, I'll be doing one post that takes a quick look at each spot. Using the Groceteria method of consulting city directories, I have listings for what each location was roughly every 5-10 years from 1916 up through today. Today we're looking at Leicester (pronounced "lester") to the west of Worcester (pronounced "wuhster"), and an unincorporated community within Leicester called Cherry Valley. A note on sources:  To get these listings, I've consulted Worcester city directories going back to the 1920s. In the Worcester suburbs, the directories aren't the most frequent, so I have looked at 1926, 1937
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Snapshot: Crossroads Marketplace - Leicester, MA

Crossroads Marketplace Owner: Zahoor Tariq Opened:  2005 Cooperative:  none Location:  1060 Main St, Leicester, MA Photographed:  October 14, 2019 and October 2, 2020 Crossroads Marketplace is a small convenience store/deli right in the center of Leicester, MA. It looks to me like it might have previously been more of a grocery store and now it's more of a liquor store/deli/convenience store. It also looks like new ownership has added a pizzeria inside the store. At about 8,000 square feet, the store is larger than the average convenience store, too. Hard to say how old the store is, but the building dates back to the 1970s, and prior to its construction an independent called Leroux's Market and, before that, an A&P had been in a smaller building on this property. If you're interested in grocery history like that, you're in luck! Tomorrow we have a new feature to check out the history of grocery stores in Leicester!

TOUR: Price Chopper - Spencer, MA

Price Chopper Opened: 1995 Previous Tenants: Big D Supermarkets Location: 133 Main St, Spencer, MA Photographed: October 14, 2019 Spencer has two supermarkets in town, a Big Y and a Price Chopper that's right in the middle of town. A Hannaford is to the northwest in North Brookfield, and a massive Walmart is east in Leicester. At around 37,500 square feet, this Price Chopper is much smaller than the Big Y. The store opened in 1967 as a Big D Supermarket, a Worcester-based chain that sold out to Price Chopper in 1995. The store was originally closer to 19,000 square feet, and was expanded out three directions either right before Big D went under or right after Price Chopper took over. This store is also a big rougher around the edges than the Big Y, but it's still a nice store. It's an older-fashioned store, though. There's no grand aisle, and produce is on the left side in the first aisle. Seafood is in the back left corner, with meat and bakery on the back wall.

TOUR: Big Y World Class Market - Spencer, MA

Big Y World Class Market Owner: D'Amour family Opened:  1995 Previous Tenants:  unknown Location:  62 W Main St, Spencer, MA Photographed:  October 14, 2019 We're here in Spencer to tour the Big Y just outside of town! Now Spencer's downtown is only 10 miles outside of downtown Worcester, but you really feel like you're in the country. Just behind this Big Y is Charlie's Diner, with an expansive dining room that feels more like a cabin than a traditional restaurant. Down the street is Klem's, the enormous country department store with anything from clothes and shoes to hardware and lawn equipment and a massive paint store. In downtown Spencer, Whitco Sales has any appliance you can think of and more bikes and toys than you can shake a stick at. You definitely don't feel like you're just outside the big city -- although we're definitely in greater Worcester here, as we're still within the 33 bus route out of Central Hub. Or the 19 on weekends, bu

TOUR: Hannaford - North Brookfield, MA

Hannaford Opened:  2004 Previous Tenants:  Victory Supermarkets (closed 2004) Location:  5 Gilbert St, North Brookfield, MA Photographed:  May 22, 2021 Welcome to the Hannaford of North Brookfield! This is a small town of just under 5,000 people, and this is the only grocery store for several miles around. The 30,000 square foot store was built between 1986 and 1997, although it replaced an older building on the same property. And up until 2004, the store was owned by local chain Victory Supermarkets . Their stores were primarily in northern Worcester County and southern New Hampshire until Hannaford acquired the chain in 2004. The outside has similarities to actually both Stop & Shop and Shaw's stores, although those similarities are likely coincidental or perhaps because the same architecture firm was responsible for all of them. And although Hannaford and Stop & Shop are now under the same umbrella of Ahold Delhaize, you'd barely know it. Nearly every Hannaford I&