Marketing Modernization

in Modernizing Main Street

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780226218007
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226218021 | DOI:
Marketing Modernization

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The Independent Grocery Association (IGA) is a network of storefronts formed in the early years of the Great Depression by independent merchants who affiliated as a so-called voluntary chain to compete with corporate retailers. By the mid-1930s, under intensifying competitive pressure and with the encouragement of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the IGA began to promote store modernization in its member newsletter, the IGA Grocergram, dutifully explaining the operations of the Modernization Credit Plan, the business benefits of building modernization, and the merchandising attributes of modern design. IGA's stylishly modernized storefronts were the products of a highly sophisticated marketing campaign. From the commencement of the Better Housing Program in the summer of 1934, the FHA sought the cooperation of major industries, but initially the agency's energies were focused on the organization of local campaigns in those cities and towns where Main Street would become the front line of the modernization effort. One material that stands out as a compelling example of a product marketed expressly for modernizing buildings on Main Street America is structural glass.

Keywords: Independent Grocery Association; storefronts; modernization; Main Street; Great Depression; Federal Housing Administration; Modernization Credit Plan; marketing; structural glass; Better Housing Program

Chapter.  15142 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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