Loblaws put supermarkets in the news this week, saying it will build 50 new stores and renovate more than 100. That announcement reminded us of Hamilton’s original grocery empire: The Barn, founded by George Love in 1970. Do you remember?
The Barn grew out of a Hamilton Farmers’ Market stall into a chain that was gobbled up by A&P in 1999.
* 1970: The Barn moves out of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market after it goes indoors. Then a wholesaler, George Love, operated out of two steel huts at Hess and Barton (hence “The Barn”). Retail happened by accident as employees sold ripe bananas to passersby.
* 1983: George Love opens his first permanent store on Hess Street North.
* 1999: A&P Canada buys Barn Fruit Markets Inc., which includes seven locations and a Burlington warehouse. A price was never disclosed.
* 2001: A&P converts five of its Hamilton Super Fresh and Miracle Food Mart stores as well as an Oakville location into Barn format stores, bringing the total number of locations to 13.
* November 2001: A&P announces the closure of the only Burlington Barn location.
* January 2002: A&P announces the closure of the first Barn store at Hess and York, along with a Barton and Kenora location and its G.A. Love Foods warehouse in Burlington. A third Barn store on Rymal Road was converted to a Food Basics. A location at Upper Paradise and Stone Church roads closed earlier this year.
* July 19, 2005: Quebec-based Metro Inc. buys A&P Canada for $1.7 billion.
* Aug. 7, 2008: Metro announces a rebranding of its chain that sees The Barn and other grocery banners such as Dominion, Loeb and Ultra disappear.