Be-lo stores in Hampton Roads(Not to be confused with Bi-Lo)

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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ajsanjua
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Be-lo stores in Hampton Roads(Not to be confused with Bi-Lo)

Post by ajsanjua » 18 Jan 2009 17:34

Can anyone shed some light on what Be-lo stores in the Tidewater region of VA were. All I know is that they tended to operate small markets in inner city locations as well as in some of the surrounding small towns. I believe that they were/still are owned by Camellia Foods. I would like to know the chain's history and if they are still around today, esp. with competition from Food Lion and the other area grocers.

Thanks!

carolinatraveler
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Re: Be-lo stores in Hampton Roads(Not to be confused with Bi-Lo)

Post by carolinatraveler » 19 Jan 2009 14:15

The Be-Lo trademark was developed in the late 1950s as a common brand that could be used by retailers who bought primarily from Norfolk, VA based wholesaler Camelia Foods. While stores were marked "Be-Lo", print or radio often advertised "Bonnie Be-Lo Markets" and featured a Scottish lady trademark and plaid designs, implying thrift. In later years I believe, but cannot confirm, that Camelia operated some stores direct, and I know that many stores opened after the initial dozen or so sites shared a common architectural theme. Somewhere along the way they bought or associated with some stores on the Eastern Shore, these being operated under the Meatland trademark. Many of the inner-city Colonial Stores became Be-lo in the late 1980s when Colonial broke up. I do have an address listing from 1958-59 and another compiled from phone books that I think is reasonably complete that I can post or email if you are interested.
After I left Hampton in 1987 some of the better locations rebranded Fresh Pride, and although the company has passed through at least one bankruptcy, I believe there are a few Fresh Pride sits still operating. There are listings in Newport News, Suffolk, and one in Hampton in a former 1940 Big Star that was a Colonial Store for most of my lifetime.
I am working on a new feature for the site that details all of the chain supermarkets operating on the Virginia Peninsula over the past century, and I am trying to nail down some details on Be-Lo to finalize this project.

Wayne Henderson

ajsanjua
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Location: Elizabeth City, NC

Re: Be-lo stores in Hampton Roads(Not to be confused with Bi-Lo)

Post by ajsanjua » 19 Jan 2009 19:05

Yes, I've noticed over the past few years that Be-Lo and Fresh Pride locations have disappeared gradually - in my experience, the most visible absences along US 13 on the Eastern Shore, which I assume contained the perfect customer demographic for the chain until Food Lion started expanding up that way...

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