August 31, 2021
Last week, we covered 1961’s Hillman’s Bakery as our 84th Top Project; today, we feature the Hillman’s Pure Foods grocery store and warehouse as our 80th project.
Located at the corners of Harlem and North Avenue in Chicago, this particular store, Epstein designed and engineered, was noted by Chain Store Age magazine in 1952 for its "drama and in color and lighting" and as a great post-war example of how "color and color combinations can be best used in retail food outlets."
The grocery store portion of this project featured a laminated wood arched roof that eliminated columns and helped make this store the largest of its kind in Chicago.
In addition to the bold and vibrant grocery store, Epstein was also responsible for designing a large food production and warehouse space that featured production kitchens, racked storage and staff lunchroom.
One of the store's unique customer service aspects was a conveyor system that allowed customers to make their purchases and have them packed up and “shipped” to the back dock of the store, where they could then pick up their items and have everything placed in their car.
This particular store is no longer with us, and the Hillman’s brand is long gone, as well, falling victim to the rise of the national grocery mega-chain.