The food story in Chapel Hill between the years 1940-1959 tell two important stories: one of rations, victory gardens,  and “only-buy-what-you-need”, and the other of post-war, economic boom, new types of fried, salty, and sweet foods. This advertisement from The Daily Tarheel, the campus’ student run newspaper, was published on on October 24th, 1957, and tells the latter. The advertisement is for the “Colonial Stores,” and features deals ranging from low prices on sirloins to announcements including fresh apples and oranges, pumpkins, apple cider, and popcorn, all foods that were not available during the difficult years of World War II. There is no doubt that this source tells the story in Chapel Hill, not only because of its feature in The Daily Tarheel, but also the inclusion of the store’s two locations, the “Glen Lennox Shopping Center,” and “W. Franklin at Graham Street.” Interestingly enough, this shopping center, as well as both of the streets, still exist in Chapel Hill today.

The Daily Tarheel (Chapel Hill), October 24, 1957, LVX ed., sec. 30.

Other foods that were previously rationed, such as bacon, flour and butter, could also be found at the Colonial Stores. It is evident that, although these were staple foods, the fact that they were now available in stores with no hindrances is something that Colonial Stores wanted to remind their customers. Not only did they carry these items, but they offered them at low prices. The introduction of new foods into the grocery store, such as the ones featured in this advertisements, represents a turn in consumer goods and a change in lifestyle for the millions of Americans affected by the food restrictions during the war. The heading of the advertisement, “No Tricks…Just Treats!” solidifies that fact that food had transitioned from something precious and necessary to something to be enjoyed.

By: Sophie Sheats