- Douglas Towne
Grocery Turnover: Oldest Bashas’ Store Closes
“Here’s Everything: Truly a Dream Come True,” touted the advertisement about the Grand Opening of its new store located at Seventh Avenue and Osborne Road on November 15, 1956. For a devoted group of grocery shoppers, the store lived up to its billing for more than 60 years.
The market ended its run of being the oldest continuously operating Bashas’ in Arizona when it closed on April 28, 2017.
The site will be redeveloped for apartments by Dallas-based developer Trammell Crow. It is not known if portions of the Bashas’ building will be preserved.
The shopping center was designed by A.E. Hansen, a Los Angeles architect. The market featured an unusual mezzanine floor above the main shopping area, where shoppers could sit, enjoy a snack, and take in a bird’s eye view of the store. A Skaggs Drugstore occupied the space to the north, a location later used by the China Doll restaurant. An Osco Drug store, which closed some years ago, was the last occupant of the southern portion of the building.
Construction of the building was done by R.H. Hamm, who had built several other Bashas’ Markets in the Valley. The building featured cream and red Norman brick and native stone for planter boxes.
A few days after closing, the Christy Sign Company removed the Bashas’ signs from the building. Dane Christensen, the sign company owner, said they had to have been installed by one of three sign companies in 1956: Myers-Leiber, Virgil Moss or Guererro Lindsey.
“My guess is Guererro Lindsey, which had been linked to the grocery store chain for more than 30 years," he says. Christensen added that after Guererro Lindsey closed a few years ago, his company was finally able to work with Bashas’.
Christy Signs is temporarily storing the Bashas’ neon signs at their facility. “One of them will probably be moved to the Bashas’ warehouse museum in Chandler,” Christensen says. “We hope to add others to the signs we have displayed at our sign yard.”
Many long-time customers made a bittersweet final visit to the Bashas’ store and enjoyed an ice cream cone in the mezzanine, which overlooked the mostly bare aisles. They nostalgically contemplated the store’s somewhat dated ambiance that was called, when it opened, “the state’s largest complete food store with wide aisles for your leisure shopping, air conditioning for your comfort, self-opening doors, and warm, restful decorative color schemes.”