A&P is a chain of supermarket and liquor stores that still exists in the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. Founded in 1859 as The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company and based in New York, A&P was a tea company only until its first grocery store opened in 1912. By the 1940s and 1950s it was sufficiently big and powerful to be slapped with anti-trust suits and subject to anti-predatory pricing laws.
A&P became an American icon, “a Wal-Mart before there was Wal-Mart,” and as of 2009 was still the 34th largest retailer in the U.S., according to STORES.org. A short story by John Updike, “A&P,” is about a cashier who works in an A&P store, and in the movie “Born on the Fourth of July,” the character of Ron Kovic, played by Tom Cruise, works in an A&P before shipping out to Vietnam.