Eisner Food Store

Eisner Complete Food Store, 1955
Eisner's Complete Food Store preparing to open, 1955

Eisner's food store workers look over the plans for the new location at Lincoln Square in Urbana.

Eisner Foods ready for Opening Day, 1955

Eisner Foods ready for opening day, 1955

112 N Market St


Owned by Albert Eisner Sr. (1851-1926), this business started as a wholesale grocer at 112 N. Market St. Albert Sr. was born in Hungary in 1851 and came to the United States at age 18. Upon moving to Champaign, Eisner worked at a Jewish owned dry goods store, Eichberg & Baerand married KatherineKariher (1857-1922), a Methodist. After sale stints in Iowa and Chicago, Eisner and his family returned to Champaign and built a warehouse and general office in 1904. The firm Eisner Grocery Company was incorporated in June 1906.    

Beginning with only four employees, Eisner Food Store became one of the largest grocery chains in Champaign-Urbana. After establishing his businessAlbert Sr. began buying retail grocery stores in central IllinoisIn 1919, he bought into the Piggly Wiggly franchise, which was the first self-serve grocery store. Following the death of Albert Sr., Albert Jr. (1885-1980) took over the company. In 1951, he severed ties with Piggly Wiggly and in 1957, the grocer was bought by Jewel Tea Co. Jewel retained the Eisner name for nearly 30 years until 1985 when all remaining Eisner stores became Jewels. The last local store closed in 1998.