Grand Union started in Scranton, Pennsylvania as the Jones Brothers Tea Company in 1872
. By the 1930s it was one of the largest grocery chains in the United States. The name "Grand Union" was inspired
by the desire to "unite
shoppers with low prices in a 'Grand Union of Value'" as described by company associate Elvin Sanders. The store's mascot
was Abraham Lincoln wearing a deli apron, and most stores featured a costumed Lincoln to accomplish deeds, talk to
customers,and proclaim the general splendor of the Grand Union, and to urge them to "Save the Union"
when the company faced economic hardship.
In the early 1950s, Grand Union began construction on a new shopping
center in what was then known as East Paterson
(now Elmwood Park) New Jersey. The strip was to include a new Grand Union store with an office tower attached that would
serve as the company's new corporate headquarters. The store and new headquarters opened in 1951. In 1987, Grand Union
moved its corporate headquarters to Willowbrook Center in Wayne, abandoning its Elmwood Park offices. Grand Union did not
close the Elmwood Park store, though, and it remained in operation until 2001.
In 1956, Grand Union opened a discount department store chain (called Grand Way) in Keansburg, New Jersey.
Many of these stores combined
a grocery store and a department store, which was similar to the combination Bradlees and Stop & Shop
stores that were around during that t
ime as well. Others were separate stores. For instance, a multi-level Grand Way store was built on a
vacant lot across from the Elmwood Par
k corporate headquarters while the company built a strip mall in nearby Paramus, where
the Grand Way anchored one end with the
anchoring the other. These stores were eventually closed and sold to other competitors, such as Winn-Dixie.
The Elmwood Park and Paramus Grand Way stores
were sold to Kmart; the Paramus store was liquidated and closed in December 2014
while the Elmwood Park store met that same fate in 2017.