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Corner Market Eba’s Store Number 2

Eba’s Cut Rate Groceries opened in the Corner Market in 1927, located just behind the 1st and Pike storefront occupied by 3 Girls Bakery. Eba replaced and probably bought out Ralph McDonald’s Corner Market Grocery in stall 103. In 1932 after Eba’s merged with Mutual Markets, this store did not continue as part of the chain. Instead, Eba’s former manager Harold Cohen took it over. It became Trade-Well Grocery. Trade-Well also had a location at 4901 Rainier in Columbia City.

Corner Market Building (photo by author, larger on Flickr)
Corner Market Building looking northeast at the corner of 1st and Pike. (Photo by author, larger on Flickr)

These two stores must have still been entangled financially with Eba’s Mutual Markets, because they became locations for Tradewell Groceries after M. L. Bean took over Augustine & Kyer and Eba’s Mutual (Piggly Wiggly) Markets for Pacific Gamble Robinson in 1939. The Corner Market location continued as a Tradewell until at least 1940. 4901 Rainier continued all the way to 1957, when it was replaced with a modern store a couple blocks north. This later Columbia City location was discussed in my history of the Burien Tradewell.

Just inside the First Avenue entrance to the Corner Market Building is this plaque:

Plaque at Corner Market installed to celebrate renovation (Photo by author; larger on Flickr)
Plaque at Corner Market installed to celebrate renovation (Photo by author; larger on Flickr)

It’s misleading on a few levels and flat wrong on many others.

  • First, Eba’s store opened by November 1908, not in 1910 as the plaque says.
  • It implies that Herman and Minnie Eba’s store started in the Corner Market. In fact the stall was over in the Main Arcade. Which was the only part of the market in 1908.
  • It implies that Earl Eba’s store at the Corner Market was the singular end result of his parents’ store. Actually it was the second store in what grew into a large chain of forty stores. Earl Eba had a store in the Corner Market for only a few years, while in contrast had his Main Arcade store for 17 years.
  • Eba’s store in the Corner Market opened in 1927, not 1929.
  • Finally, Tradewell Stores was formed in 1939, not 1934.

After the 1970s effort to save the Pike Place Market succeeded, the Corner Market Building was the first to be refurbished. Tradewell had an honest connection to the building, more than a decade long, so they donated large and got a plaque on the wall. It’s understandable for them to overstate the Corner Market connection of Eba’s itself. No excuse for getting the dates wrong, though.

The Tradewell Grocery Story

In the series:


  1. Pris Miller

    Subject: Eba’s Markets

    In the mid-1990s my husband and I purchased some property on Guemes Island, WA. There was a large shed that had some old items in it, including a folder of clippings, one of which was a full-page ad from Eba’s Mutual Grocery, Anacortes. The starting date for the sale was Sept 17, but the year wasn’t mentioned altho it had to be 1909,15, 20, 26, 37, or 43.
    Would it be possible to find out year that might have been? My daughter works at Haggen in Mount Vernon, part of the Safeway chain, and she’s had the ad framed to put in her manager’s office.
    Thank you.

    • Rob Ketcherside


      The Eba’s chain existed from 1926 to 1939. In 1926 they were Seattle only. I feel confident that it was 1937.

      In 1939 Eba’s was transformed into Tradewell, regional arch-rival to Safeway for many decades.

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