Article and photos by Arlene Feldman. Her father-in-law, Irving Kolovson, owned the IGA Foodliner franchise. Her husband George even took the store’s architectural plans on their honeymoon in 1955. The Foodliner later became the Building 19 ½ rug/furniture annex, and the whole area is now under development as the Shoppes at Simonds Park.
After experiencing success in a small grocery store in another town, Irving, Burt, and George Kolovson were looking to develop a grocery store in an area with an expanding population and growth. The electronics industry was springing up along Route 128 and drawing more people into the area. Burlington, with a population of 3,200 people in 1955, was an ideal location.
The first store was in the future Rexall drugstore, at 1,600 square feet. By 1965, Burlington had grown dramatically, and the IGA expanded to 30,000 square feet to meet the demand. The Kolovsons developed a franchise agreement with IGA and completely owned and managed the store.
The self-service meat cases were 120 feet in length with another 40 feet devoted to service fish and delicatessen. Word spread quickly of the good quality, prices, and service in all departments.
A store policy was to sample as many new products as possible to entice the customer to buy. One of their best promotions was a cheese that weighed 5,580 pounds. It cost $240 to get it from the truck through the window into the store. The cheese sold out in three weeks!
The bakery situated within the supermarket was a novelty feature for the time. Not much attention was given to a bakery as a separate department in most supermarkets, but at the IGA it became a separate department managed by George. You could always smell the aroma of baked goods and were very likely to receive a sample of what had just come out of the oven. There were always new products in the showcase. American, European, and maybe something your mother or grandmother made that brought back many memories. You could have a snack at the coffee shop next to the bakery, with the swivel seats being a big hit with the children.
The IGA gave back many times to the community. The market awarded two scholarships a year to Burlington high school seniors. Their service and generosity resulted in receiving many awards, amongst them: the American Legion Community Service, Morgan Memorial Goodwill, Service the Handicapped, Family Circle Gold Merit Award and the Outstanding Business Supermarket in the U.S.
Irving passed away in 1964. George went on to develop freestanding bakeries incorporating new bakery products and ideas and Burt pursued a career in the real estate field. George died in 1998, and Burt in 2011.