"Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

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Ephrata1966
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"Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

Post by Ephrata1966 » 17 Jul 2010 21:23

Why did Food Fair/Pantry Pride ever have stores in Florida, being a Philadelphia chain? (That is why I put this under "USA Northeast"). I know Food Fair stretched into the New York, New England, and Virginia markets. There were Food Fair/J.M. Fields centers in all these regions. But I doubt J.M. Fields stretched into Florida. What I don't understand is why Pantry Pride stayed in Florida of all places after the 1978 bankruptcy. I would think if that was such a profitable market, they would at least have had J.M. Fields there.

In fact, were they ever even called "Food Fair" in Florida? All I hear is Pantry Pride.

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Re: Pantry Pride in Florida?

Post by Steve Landry » 18 Jul 2010 06:31

There was an understandable interest in Florida for "the business" because so many of "Fabulous Food Fair" customers in the northeast traveled and retired in Florida (bringing their culture, for many years, to Florida; which today is not the case).

The Friedlands also had a lot of personl interest in Florida, after all they "founded" and developed Palm Beach.

So the business strategy became to "fill in" the market between the northeast and Florida (usually by buying existing esteemed chains to get a quick foothold).

Food Fair did this quite early in the 1950's. They bought Carl's Market (the TRUE first supermarket chain in Florida), Frederick's Market (decades ahead in many ways) and other respected/progressive chains on the east and west coast of Florida. You have to know, under Sam Friedland, Food Fair Stores INC. was the darling of the supermarket industry. They could almost do anything they wanted. The praise, respect, accolades, innovations flowed abundantly in those days!!

Depending on the area and Food Fair's name recognition......they would use the exisiting chain's name.......use a combo name......or change it to the Food Fair name. The Frederick's name was retained right up until Pantry Pride was introduced.

The Food Fair name quickly attained a high level recognition statewide.

There were several J.M Field's department stores in Florida. Some were stand alones, some were adjacent (but no connecting access) to Food Fair, some had connecting access and some were downright combo with no separating wall.

As the years went by, and a horrific level of incompetent nepotism took control of the company (this is during the reign of Sam's sons) the only region and division of the entire company that WAS profitable was none other than Florida. That is saying alot..........because at this time they were still HIGHLY diversified.

Florida (eventually only the east coast) carried the entire company for quite a while. There was a limited amount of time that a division could survive without it's OWN profits.
The Food Fair Empire

Ephrata1966
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Re: Pantry Pride in Florida?

Post by Ephrata1966 » 18 Jul 2010 13:11

Actually, now I remember seeing a 1949 photo of a Food Fair in Florida. And I think I saw a photo of a J.M. Fields/Kmart too. They never had Bradlees or Caldor down there.

But did A&P ever operate in Florida?

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Re: Pantry Pride in Florida?

Post by dooneyt63 » 18 Jul 2010 14:33

Echoing Steve Landry, there were a fair number of Fields/Pantry Pride combos. One was in the city of Fort Walton Beach, FL, and is open as Kmart to this day. The adjacent Pantry Pride hosted several supermarkets post-Pantry Pride but is currently used for storage by Kmart. Pompano Beach and Winter Park come to mind as other Kmart locations formerly Fields. Also, Pensacola. These are common in FL even today.

Many companies chose to have locations in Florida because of the influx of northeastern tourists. In addition to Food Fair, Florida hosted Grand Union and A&P. In fact, though this is really for another thread/category, A&P had an extensive presence in FL that lasted in Pensacola up until the early 1990's. Before Publix' massive expansion, Winn Dixie and A&P sort of went head to head...witness the WD history, "Don't Make A&P Mad".

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Re: Pantry Pride in Florida?

Post by Ephrata1966 » 18 Jul 2010 14:45

Most Food Fair/Pantry Prides and Penn Fruits in the Philadelphia market became other supermarkets. Acme bought quite a few, some of which were remodeled into standard 70's Acmes. The ones in Ventnor and Cherry Hill, NJ (paired with J.M. Fields) are Pathmark now. I wonder if they could have also been Acme at one point. Several others went the independent route. They became familiar franchises such as ShopRite, Thriftway/Shop 'n Bag, IGA, and Great Valu/The Fresh Grocer. My nearest Acme was a Food Fair, then ShopRite, then became Acme in the early 90's!

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Re: Pantry Pride in Florida?

Post by Groceteria » 18 Jul 2010 15:21

Ephrata1966 wrote:But did A&P ever operate in Florida?
Moving this back onto the Florida topic, as stated in another post, A&P did indeed operate in Florida, as well as every other southern state. In fact, A&P was the dominant chain in many southern markets, and their operation in Florida wasn't a "jump"; it was contiguous to their other operations, although they may not have been as strong in parts of Florida as in many other parts of the south.

BTW, Grand Union tried to do "infill" as well with its 1978 purchase of Colonial/Big Star, which filled in that area between the mid-Atlantic states and Florida. It didn't last long, though, and they ended up losing Colonial/Big Star and the Florida stores.

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Re: "Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

Post by Ephrata1966 » 18 Jul 2010 18:36

I have never really lived near a Grand Union. But that seemed like a strange chain in that it was kind of "scattered". It was mainly a Northeastern chain, but avoided Philadelphia. Their other operations were in Virginia, Georgia (Big Star; stores sold to A&P, then Kroger), and Weingarten's in the Houston area. Weingarten's was Texas's finest homegrown chain, in my opinion. They were only owned by Grand Union for a brief time in the early 80's. Then they were merged into Safeway. And just a few years later, that chain's Houston division was spun off as AppleTree. Neither did that chain last...

And many Food Fair/Pantry Prides became the same franchises/cooperatives after they closed as the Philadelphia A&Ps, most of which were Centennials. So did many a long-gone Acme. Independent grocery stores never looked this unique, eh?

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Re: "Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

Post by Groceteria » 18 Jul 2010 19:14

Ephrata1966 wrote:I have never really lived near a Grand Union. But that seemed like a strange chain in that it was kind of "scattered". It was mainly a Northeastern chain, but avoided Philadelphia. Their other operations were in Virginia, Georgia (Big Star; stores sold to A&P, then Kroger), and Weingarten's in the Houston area.
Again, the Colonial/Big Star stores were not just in GA but also in SC, NC, and southern VA, so they made for a largely contiguous operation for Grand Union between DC and FL for a decade or so between 1978 and 1988. That was actually sort of the point of the merger to soem extent. The only gaps remaining were Philadelphia metro and the Gulf Coast area.

FL was abandoned in 1983, while the stores in the Carolinas were mostly sold to Harris Teeter in 1988 (apparently few Big Star stores remained in VA by this time). The Atlanta area stores were sold to A&P in 1993. I'm not sure right now when the DC stores went, but I think it was the mid 1980s.

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Re: "Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

Post by werememberretail » 19 Jul 2010 02:01

Groceteria wrote:
Ephrata1966 wrote:I have never really lived near a Grand Union. But that seemed like a strange chain in that it was kind of "scattered". It was mainly a Northeastern chain, but avoided Philadelphia. Their other operations were in Virginia, Georgia (Big Star; stores sold to A&P, then Kroger), and Weingarten's in the Houston area.
Again, the Colonial/Big Star stores were not just in GA but also in SC, NC, and southern VA, so they made for a largely contiguous operation for Grand Union between DC and FL for a decade or so between 1978 and 1988. That was actually sort of the point of the merger to soem extent. The only gaps remaining were Philadelphia metro and the Gulf Coast area.

FL was abandoned in 1983, while the stores in the Carolinas were mostly sold to Harris Teeter in 1988 (apparently few Big Star stores remained in VA by this time). The Atlanta area stores were sold to A&P in 1993. I'm not sure right now when the DC stores went, but I think it was the mid 1980s.
The DC division got axed along with the FLA division. this was part of Sir James Goldsiths plan to concentrate on the Northeast and Big Star. 12 stores including all of the Basics Warehouse stores (GU's discount format) were sold to Food-A-Rama (now part of Supervalu's Shoppers Food and Pharmacy chain) others became locally owned, Supervalu supplied Magruder' s stores at least one store became a Giant. In Florida (Sweetbay)Kash N Karry got a dosen Tampa GU's. I also recall WinnDixie got some stores too.

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Re: "Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

Post by rich » 19 Jul 2010 14:17

There are a numerous other, non-supermarket examples of Northern Chains that went where their customers retired and vacationed: Cleveland's Gray Drug, Florida relatives of the PA Eckerds, Boston's Jordan Marsh.

There was a parallel process in Californis, probably more driven by profit than organic/family relationships: Acme and Alpha Beta, Kroger and Market Basket, Loblaw and the small Better Markets chain.

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Re: "Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

Post by Ephrata1966 » 19 Jul 2010 18:18

I believe Grand Union entered the DC market around 1965, and pulled out between 1978-1980. They have been gone about as long as Food Fair/Pantry Pride. And the Big Star/A&P deal I thought was a little later. Then Kroger bought many of the same stores in 1999. Weren't some Big Stars remodeled/expanded into the standard A&P (used by Super Fresh too) format at the time? Here is an example: http://dcgrocery.multiply.com/photos/al ... #photo=257

Not to be off-topic, but this is ironic. This Super G (Giant) store in PA later became a Clemens. It closed when Clemens was sold to Giant of PA/Martin's. In my opinion, it kind of looks like a Centennial A&P: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N ... 713529268/

And Super Fresh (A&P) did acquire six Clemens stores, all close to here. Half of them have since closed.

This Super Fresh, a rare new 1982 Super Fresh, closed and became Clemens, then Giant: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/3391623230/

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Re: Pantry Pride in Florida?

Post by Ephrata1966 » 19 Jul 2010 19:09

Steve Landry wrote:There was an understandable interest in Florida for "the business" because so many of "Fabulous Food Fair" customers in the northeast traveled and retired in Florida (bringing their culture, for many years, to Florida; which today is not the case).
One more thing, what do you mean people no longer retire to Florida? What exactly do you mean by "their culture" other than Food Fair?

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Re: "Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

Post by krogerclerk » 19 Jul 2010 20:26

Grand Union sold its Miami area stores to Publix in the 1950's, giving Publix the foothold that led it becoming the dominant chain in Southeast Florida. However, Grand Union continued to operate in South Florida, re-expanding and surviving into the mid-80's having expanding to the Southwest Gulf Coast. Many of the Gulf Coast stores were sold to Kash-n-Karry, at the time a division of Lucky Stores.

Pantry Pride was still a strong player in Southeast Florida in the late 80's, ranked 3rd behind Publix and Winn-Dixie. Pantry Pride survived until its liquidation in the early 90's and even had a few new builds at that time. Publix didn't operate any stores in the Keys until after Pantry Pride folded. At its peak Food Fair/Pantry Pride had at least 2 divisions in Florida, Jacksonville and Miami and coverage of most of the peninsula. The Jacksonville division had scattered coverage as far north as Charleston, SC and include locations in Brunswick, Waycross and Valdosta, GA. The Valdosta shopping center survives today as part of the Valdosta State University campus.

A&P's Jacksonville division was eliminated in the mid-70's while there were still many stores in Florida, mainly in Central Florida as well as scattered outposts in South Georgia and the Port Royal, SC store. The division was folded into the Atlanta division and the stores closed while a new subsidiary, Family Stores, Inc. based out of Clearwater, FL opened Family Mart stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama. Technically the stores were part of the divisions, FL, GA and AL part of Atlanta while the Carolina stores were part of the Charlotte division. The Pensacola and other Northwest Florida A&P stores were part of the New Orleans division and as stated survived until the early 90's with even a FutureStore being built in Pensacola. The Florida Family Marts were sold to Kroger in 1986.

Kroger, while not a northeastern chain, made several attempts at the Florida market over the years, but never as Kroger. In the early 80's, Kroger opened up SupeRx Food&Drug stores, as part of the SupeRx Drug subsidiary, but actually a Kroger in everything but name. These were primarily along the east coast, from Daytona Beach to Ft. Lauderdale. They were augmented in 86 by the acquisition of Family Mart from A&P when they and the Family Marts became Florida Choice. In 1987, Kroger restructured to fend off takeover attempts from Dart and KKR, and the Florida Choice stores were sold, primarily to Albertson's, Publix and Kash-n-Karry. Also, in Jacksonville, Kroger operated a Welcome warehouse store during the same timeframe, which along with Welcome units in Mobile, AL; Greenville, SC; and Richmond, VA were shuttered as part of the restructuring.

Additionally, Albertson's and Lucky Stores via Kash-n-Karry are western chains with a Florida presence. Albertson's survives, though barely, as part of Albertson's LLC, having sold a large chunk of its stores in 2008 to Publix and several in 2009 to Sedano's. Kash-n-Karry was sold due to the American Stores takeover of Lucky Stores, first to private equity then to Delhaize USA. Under Delhaize, the stores were operated as part of Food Lion, which had expanded to Florida. Most of the Food Lions in Central Florida became Kash-n-Karry, leaving Food Lion primarily in the Jacksonville area. Kash-n-Karry became Food Lion by a different name until converting the chain to Sweetbay supermarkets, under the direction of Hannaford Bros., Delhaize's New England chain. American Stores opened several Jewel Osco units in the Tampa Bay area after the Lucky Store merger, but within a few years sold the stores to Albertson's.

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Re: "Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

Post by Ephrata1966 » 19 Jul 2010 21:53

I thought Publix dominated the whole of Florida. They bought many stores from Albertsons a few years ago. I think a few more years ago, they bought some "Seessel's" stores from Albertsons in Tennessee. Many of these stores were almost new.

In fact, does Albertsons have any stores in Florida today? I am not sure!

What are the leading chains in Orlando? And Tampa? I wonder what Lakeland used to have too. Same with St. Augustine.

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Re: "Northeastern Chains" in Florida?

Post by rich » 19 Jul 2010 22:09

Grand Union was in DC well before 1965. They probably entered in the late 40s or very early 50s. They slowed their investment in DC during the mid-60s, then built new stores in combination with new K-Marts in the 70s.

They closed many stores and converted the rest to the semi-warehouse "Basics" format for a while before they left.

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