Marsh Supermarket 1960s-70s

Marsh Supermarket 1960s-70s

Marsh was founded in 1931 by Ermal Marsh, after taking an interest in his fathers’ grocery store. He opened his first store in Muncie in 1931 on Jackson St. Marsh soon franchised to other locations, like Kilgore Ave, and were small supermarkets, but the company began opening larger stores in 1947. The first distribution center was built in Yorktown in 1952, and the company went public in 1953, and had 97 stores at the time. Ermal Marsh died in 1959, and the company was taken over by his brother Estel.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Marsh Supermarkets went through some big changes under the guidance of Ermal’s brother, Estel Marsh. In 1960, the name of the company shifted from Marsh Foodliners to Marsh Supermarkets. By 1960, the number of stores had grown to 62 with their yearly sales hitting $80 million.

Keeping up with what shoppers wanted, Marsh Supermarkets started opening new smaller convenience stores across Indiana. In 1966, they opened the first Village Pantry store and gas station, stepping into a new area of retail and offering more to the people in the area.

The 60s and 70s were important years for Marsh Supermarkets as they continued to grow and adapt to what shoppers were looking for, as well as new technologies. In 1974, a store in Ohio was the first store in the world to use barcode scanners. In 1978, Marsh opened Foxfires restaurant, a new venture for the company, which itself has become a Muncie legend. 

Marsh filed for bankruptcy in March of 2017, after significant financial trouble, and had only 44 stores remaining at the time after closing around 20 in early 2017. 11 of the 44 were sold to Kroger, and two of the five Muncie locations were converted into Payless stores. Two of the three locations were made into self-storage, and one sits empty. The original Foodliner on Jackson St. is now home to Tom Leaird’s Underwater Service.


marsh gallery (photos from lost muncie and star press)

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