Historic Preservation Month tribute to Denver's version of 7-11: Kenny Be's Special Report
1962 Big Top convenience store advertisement that ran in the Denver Post.
The ad shown above was found on agilitynut.com, a Debra Jane Setzer website devoted to vanishing American roadside design that includes noteworthy Denver attractions. When published, the Big Top convenience store advertisement listed eight locations. A message on Groceriteria.com suggests that the local chain grew to sixteen stores. Only five of the iconic buildings remain...
Westwood Big Top is a fashionable mannequin hangout.
Pictured above, the original Big Top convenience store location still stands at 845 South Federal Blvd., in the Westwood neighborhood. Originally known as Auto Mart, the store was opened by Denver investors who were inspired by a Texas-based convenience store chain that went by the name of 7-11.
Designed by the Denver architecture firm of Kellogg & Sayre, the store was renamed Big Top in 1958 to correspond with the building's circus-tent appearance. Three Big Tops were built in 1959 but had trouble getting slow-paced Denver shoppers to accept the higher price of quicker service.
Below, a November 2, 1959 Vendor Billboard magazine article reveals Big Top's business model...