Throw Back Tuesday: Dobler's Califo Market

2917 S. Jefferson Avenue was built in 1902. Like many merchant businesses, the owner's apartment was above the store front.

Photo: Dobler's Califo Market, 2917 S. Jefferson, September 17, 1931.

During the Great Depression of the 1930's retailers were seeking new ways to attract customers. Califo Markets became a popular trend among mom and pop stores. Califo Markets specialized in produce grown in California and not readily available in midwest states whose climate would support the growth of oranges, bananas, and other tropical fruit..

Photo: Inside Dobler's Califo Market, September 17, 1931.

The Dobler's Califo Market sold meats, groceries, fruits, and vegetables; the shelves are fully stocked with these products. The checkout counter is situated in the back of the store.

As grocery continued to look at ways to cut costs, the first national grocery chain was established by King Kullen. Selling some items at costs and others with 30% mark ups, low-rent locations, night hours, self-service, and aggressive advertising, quickly became popular in price sensitive depression buyers. Quickly other chains followed a similar model with the rise of Kroger's and A&P to name a few. These new grocery chains signaled the end of mom and pop shops/corner stores.

Photo: 2917 S. Jefferson today.

Today 2917 S. Jefferson is home to Chunky Boy Bar and Grill.

Sources:

Missouri Historical Society, http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/591323

New Deals of the 1930s, https://progressivegrocer.com/new-deals-1930s

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Benton Park West Neighborhood Association (BPWNA) was incorporated in 1998 with the state of Missouri and the IRS to be a 501(c)3 organization. © 2014 by Benton Park West Neighborhood Association. All rights reserved. Webmaster at info@bentonparkwest.org.

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