Editor's note: This is the 283rd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON - John Beckwith (1909-98) started in the food business in 1939 when he invested $500 to open a small open-air produce stand at 2651 5th Ave.
In 1946, at the same 5th Avenue site, Beckwith built the area's first supermarket. Lured by a combination of low prices and personal service, customers flocked to his B&B Food Market. Over the years, it would be continuously remodeled and expanded and become the region's largest independent food retailer.
Squeezed by growing competition from the chain supermarkets, B&B Food Market closed its doors in 1987.
In 1989, Mayor Bob Nelson and Gov. Gaston Caperton presided over a groundbreaking ceremony for a new 64,700-square-foot store to be built at the site of the old B&B Market by Cub Foods, a discount chain operated by Super Valu Stores.
A Cub Foods spokesman said the new store would cost $6 million to $8 million and when completed would stock $2 million worth of inventory and employ 300 people.
Shoppers crammed into the new Cub Foods for the store's grand opening on July 22, 1990.
The store's 500-space parking lot was filled by early morning and by 2 p.m. the lines to its 17 checkout counters were 20-people deep.
Taking note of the store's popularity with Huntington area shoppers, Kroger purchased it in 1994. Today, a Kroger supermarket stands where the B&B Food Market once stood.