It may already be apparent to you that something is different.
The usual black bar at the top of Page 1 has been replaced by a gold bar. There's also a new feature on Page 4 called "This Week in Supermarket History."
What's up? These elements were added to help commemorate SN's 50th anniversary year. You'll be seeing them -- along with related features -- throughout this golden anniversary period. All anniversary-related stories will be marked with the "SN 50" logo pictured in this column.
When SN was launched in 1952, Harry Truman was president, the Korean War was in progress, the minimum wage was 75 cents an hour and milk was 96 cents a gallon. The first Wal-Mart store was still about a decade from opening.
A lot has changed, but supermarkets and SN are still on the scene. SN will honor the past 50 years of the supermarket industry with a number of features during the course of this year. Here's a brief description:
This Week in Supermarket History: This time-capsule feature, which will run on Page 4 each week, will recall a story from the past that still has some relevance today. The story can come from any year in SN's history but must be from the same week of the year as the current issue. For example, this week's installment, from Jan. 4, 1954, points to a quote from Ralph W. Burger, who was president of A&P. He said: "If we are to insure fair prices to consumers and adequate returns to producers, we must concentrate on efficient practices that will bring operating costs down rather push them up." As this week's feature points out, that quote was an early articulation of the thinking that would lead to the Efficient Consumer Response initiative of the 1990s, and to later efforts as well to make the industry more efficient. Each week, the history feature will also appear on the SN Web site, which will include an archive of prior stories in the series.
Anniversary Issues: Two SN issues in particular will be devoted to the history of the industry. The first, July 22, will commemorate the top events of the past 50 years and will revisit many of the old stories and covers of prior issues. The second issue, Nov. 25, will focus on the companies and people who made the modern supermarket industry.
Other Anniversary Features: In a number of issues, SN will spotlight the history of specific parts of the industry while also looking at the future of these same sectors. These "Looking Back -- and Forward" articles will include features on in-store services, community service, Fresh Foods, Center Store, Home & Health and Technology & Logistics.
In short, SN will present a 2002 anniversary package that isn't just for the nostalgic or the historians among us. It should excite anyone who feels proud to be associated with this industry (even if they don't want to admit how many years they've been associated).