Editor’s Note: This is the 315th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — In 1924, Stanley L. Evans opened a small grocery store in Gallipolis, Ohio. In the first week of operation, the store grossed a total of $124. From that less-than-impressive start, Evans built a grocery chain that by the late 1950s included 15 supermarkets in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.
In 1948, the Evans Grocery Co. opened a Huntington supermarket at 2445 3rd Ave.
It went on to own and operate four more stores in Huntington — on 6th Avenue at West 5th Street, 825 10th St., 2501 Washington Blvd. and at the Eastern Heights Shopping Center on U.S. 60 at Russell Creek.
In 1959, the Evans Co. reported that in the previous year its five Huntington stores accounted for $7.5 million of the company’s gross sales of $19 million.
The company’s offices and warehouses were located in Gallipolis. Food and other items were trucked into Huntington daily with the exception of produce and other perishables. Each year saw Evans spend millions of dollars buying wholesale produce at the old Huntington City Market, making it one of the market’s largest customers.
The payroll for the 180 employees at the company’s five Huntington stores was more than $380,000 a year.
In 1961, the Evans Grocery Co. merged with Thorofare Markets Inc., of Pittsburgh. The Evans name initially was retained on the Evans stores, with Evans becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Thorofare.
In 1967, Thorofare gave the Evans stores a new name — Pennyfare Super Markets.