For a brief time, Loblaws operated stores in the United States, through National Tea. Loblaws had long operated Real Canadian Superstore and in the 1980s expanded that concept to Louisiana.

The store looked exactly like the Baton Rouge store. The photos are good, but the interloper who took them didn't know the history of it and just blamed Walmart.

The Real Superstore, as it was called, in Lafayette, opened in 1985 as the second store of its kind in the United States, with the first opening in Baton Rouge in 1984. The 105,000 square feet store boasted a wide variety of upscale groceries, and not just groceries with a deli, bakery, and seafood departments (called "Ziggys Kitchen", "A Taste of France", and "The Southern Seafood Company" respectively), it had several non-food departments, including a kitchen department, automotive department, hardware department, floral, camera, a leisure department (stationary, books, and toys), an "audio-video department" with rental tapes, but also included a few local shops as well, including a Hallmark, a locally-operated jewelry store, and a local women's clothing store called Inscrutable. It also had a bank branch, First Louisiana Federal Savings Bank.

Some of the departments at the Superstore.

It wasn't as big as a Wal-Mart Supercenter but much larger than other supermarkets of the era. However, it would start to lose its luster over time. While some issues were small...there was a 1992 article of some mislabeled cat food story, reassuring Superstore shoppers that no one bought cat food labeled as tuna, the bigger issues were already coming up. In 1993, National Supermarkets suffered an impact from a months-long strike (The Real Superstore was no exception), and in 1994, Lafayette got a 190,000 square foot Super Kmart—essentially giving shoppers the same sorts of things The Real Superstore did, but on a much bigger scale with a full apparel department and garden center, among other things. It wasn't just Super Kmart that was putting a strain on Real Superstore, the area had gained a few Winn-Dixie and Albertsons stores, and those stores also were eating into Real Superstore's profits.

By 1995, Loblaw Cos. had enough and pulled the plug on its North American operations, selling to Schnucks, which then sold the New Orleans-area stores to Schwegmann Giant Supermarkets of New Orleans. In June 1995, Schwegmann annoiunced it would close the store for remodeling and conversion to the Schwegmann name. This would unofficially open as "Schwegmann/The Real Superstore" in August 1995, in practice, the Superstore name remained on the building and in the phone books, but it was a Schwegmann in all but name.

Still, the store had seen its best days behind it. A months-long strike by National in 1994 hurt sales permanently prior to its sale to Schwegmann, and Schwegmann's remodel failed to bring back shoppers long-term. In October 1996 with only a quarter of the employee count that the store had when opening, Schwegmann announced that the store would close. Anonymous sources had quoted that Schwegmann had mismanaged the store, accelerating its demise. It wasn't just the Lafayette store that suffered. In December 1996 it was announced that Schwegmann would be sold out to private equity, and by 1999, the chain was gone, with the remnants picked up by A&P, which reopened some as Sav-A-Center stores, before A&P sold the New Orleans division in 2007, at which point they became Rouses.

As for the Lafayette store, in the early 2000s it was demolished and rebuilt as the Grand 16 in 2004. The Grand would go on to have its own drama but for now, that's the end of the Superstore story.

Although it closed as Real Superstore, Schwegmann used their new logo to close out the store. The 1996 logo wasn't used on stores to my knowledge (not enough money).
The pictures here are all from The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette (
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