All Sales Final; Fanwood A&P permanently closes its doors


John Marquardt

Fanwood’s local A&P, officially known as The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, closed its doors for the last time on Wednesday, November 19th. Locals and employees alike are disappointed to see it go after decades of service.
First founded in 1859 by George Gilman, A&P started as nothing but a simple tea store. As the years progressed and the 20th century reared its head, the company upgraded to include meat and dairy products, and continued to grow into the massive supermarket it is known as today.
In the early 20th century, A&P was ranked the largest retailer in the US; The Wall-Street Journal declared it the “Walmart before Walmart.” However, during the second half of the century, it began to decline. A&P struggled to compete with commercial powerhouses such as Walmart and Stop-and-Shop.
By the 21st century, A&P faced mass customer dissatisfaction, problems with restocking, and fierce competition, which caused the company to file for bankruptcy multiple times within the span of one decade. In a last ditch effort, A&P purchased Pathmark, one of its chief rivals; but even this wasn’t enough. On July 20th 2010, A&P officially filed its second Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
All A&P stores were immediately put up for sale; any that are not purchased by November 25th will be closed, the buildings demolished or returned to their owners. Many New Jersey locations were bought and replaced; ACME, for example, has officially taken over the A&P in Clark. While many NJ locations were bought out, Fanwood’s sister location was not so lucky; a rather strange choice considering the convenient location and lack of competition.
Citizens of Scotch Plains and Fanwood alike are greatly disappointed by the loss. The lack of local supermarkets and convenient location made A&P a saving grace for children, parents on their way home from work, and senior citizens, all of whom would most likely not wish to drive all the way up to Watchung for a carton of eggs.  In the end, A&P will be missed, and residents are hoping the now-vacant space will be purchased by another supermarket.