Farm Fresh may be on its way out

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. No non-grocery posts.
pseudo3d
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Re: Farm Fresh may be on its way out

Post by pseudo3d » March 2nd, 2018, 9:21 pm

klkla wrote:
March 2nd, 2018, 2:31 pm
Do they operate in any non RWT states now?
They do not. More interestingly, they operate mostly in states that are at-will employment (an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason without having to establish "just cause" for termination, and without warning, as long as the reason is not illegal) AND do not have a "implied contract" exception. Cross referencing the list of states that don't have that exception (you can lose your job for anything at any time), and those states include Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, coincidentally the states where Publix has a high concentration of stores.

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Re: Farm Fresh may be on its way out

Post by storewanderer » March 2nd, 2018, 10:07 pm

buckguy wrote:
March 2nd, 2018, 7:41 pm
Shoppers has a fairly random distribution of stores and few in the kinds of areas where Publix would do well. If Publix wanted to enter the DC area, they'd have to build from scratch which would be very expensive. They'd also be facing Wegman's for the first the time and they would face much more competition from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's than usual. Harris-Teeter currently occupies something resembling Publix's market niche in the DC area--they don't seem to do huge volumes and the stores are really unimpressive, but they have continued to expand. Publix grew in Atlanta by buying H-T's unsuccessful operation there--I suspect they'd only enter the DC area if they had that kind of opportunity again.
I think Publix will be careful about where to expand so they don't push their limits. They are starting to get into markets with, for lack of kind words, much better competition, than Florida and the surrounding states generally have...

In Nashville, Kroger was doing way better than Publix when they went head to head. Publix was running ghost towns. So was H-T. We see what happened to H-T in Nashville.

H-T seems to be pretty indifferent outside the Carolinas. I remember going to a couple of their VA/DC Stores and also being quite unimpressed. Similar to my feelings on their stores in TN. But in NC/SC it is another story and H-T is a really great store.

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Re: Farm Fresh may be on its way out

Post by buckguy » March 3rd, 2018, 5:48 am

Publix is as anti-union as Winn-Dixie, but not as overtly nasty. Non-union stores have done okay in DC, but except for Whole Foods seem to lack the militancy that comes from being in a part of the country that's still pretty feudal in many ways.

Publix would face much more competition in DC than in their current markets, particularly in their niche. TJs and Whole Foods have much larger operations than elsewhere and they would face two entrenched mid-market competitors which are showing signs of life after years of neglect. They also would face Wegman's which will soon enter DC proper and is willing to take some chances in the market---their Prince Georges County store is the kind of place that well-off African Americans keeping asking for and rarely get and that store has been a huge success because Wegman's figured out how to engage a market that was being neglected. Tbhey've been very careful in finding a location in DC proper and will be part of a redevelopment of the Fannie Mae campus that will put them in an excellent location for well-off neighborhoods while also being in a pretty good spot for transit, although not really close to a Metro stop.

Publix did well in Atlanta because they only had to be a little better than Kroger in the perishables department and for service. The other competition was weak and most left the market (Cub, W-D, A&P). There was a real need for decent bakery, deli and produce selections---for a place its size with relatively strong economics, Atlanta's food selection was terrible and still isn't that great (Whole Foods doesn't try as hard as they do in DC). Harris-Teeter started strong but wound up with uncompetitive pricing--they had strong produce which no one else had (until Whole Foods even their's was disappointing), but other things were a mixed bag---their delis didn't seem to be well managed--I got food poisoning twice from them. Ultimately they folded. In DC, H-T often has gone into "up and coming" areas or areas being redeveloped, so they often aren't exactly head to head with someone else---probably a good strategy to start but they need to build beyond that, and the volumes I've seen in some of their stores don't suggest the momentum to do such a thing. I liked Publix in Atlanta, but I can't imagine getting all that excited about them in DC.

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Re: Farm Fresh may be on its way out

Post by storewanderer » March 3rd, 2018, 9:16 pm

We will see how things go for Publix in Richmond. I suspect as it has already been alluded to, if Richmond goes well for them, maybe they will make a play for some of these Farm Fresh Stores...

Publix vs. Wegmans I think would be a no contest, but I am sure Publix would try harder than normal under such a scenario. It may be interesting to see what they would come out with.

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Re: Farm Fresh may be on its way out

Post by buckguy » March 4th, 2018, 12:11 pm

I don't know enough about Farm Fresh to know how the stores would work for Publix. The Shoppers locations probably wouldn't work. Shoppers recently remodeled a store in Virginia by making it smaller which makes me wonder if Supervalu is thinking about going in a direction more like Lidl or Savealot, which seems a bit late for them, esp.with Food Lion retreating from the area.

If Supervalu ultimately throws in the towel one possible beneficiary might be Shop-Rite, which has made inroads in Baltimore and has one store in the Cherry Hill area, which is a sort of no mans land near Silver Spring/White Oak, Beltsville and College Park--the last store built by Super Fresh. Shop-Rite's frequent ability to combine competitive pricing with strong perishables would be somewhat unique for DC and something that could work in a variety of neighborhoods including the eclectic collection of locations that Shoppers has. The issue would be finding operators---DC doesn't have the history of independents that places further North do and I would guess that the VIrginia markets might be similar.

Trivia note--Shop-Rite briefly was in DC during the mid 60s. It was either Foodarama orSupermarkets General. They opened a few stores with a strong pricing emphasis. Safeway, Giant and Grand Union set up pricing zones around them and Shop-Rite left within a couple years. The one store I know from that experiment was in College Park in a shopping center away from the main road, but adjacent to a large subdivision--so a somewhat odd location and it had been an unsuccessful Acme. After Shop-Rite it was an A&P but had its greatest success as an REI for about 30 years which recently closed when they opened a new flagship store downtown. Shop-Rite would have an easier time now because no one dominates the market like Giant and Safeway did in those days and they would have a unique niche even with all chains in the market.

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Re: Farm Fresh may be on its way out

Post by storewanderer » March 4th, 2018, 1:08 pm

buckguy wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 12:11 pm
I don't know enough about Farm Fresh to know how the stores would work for Publix. The Shoppers locations probably wouldn't work. Shoppers recently remodeled a store in Virginia by making it smaller which makes me wonder if Supervalu is thinking about going in a direction more like Lidl or Savealot, which seems a bit late for them, esp.with Food Lion retreating from the area.

If Supervalu ultimately throws in the towel one possible beneficiary might be Shop-Rite, which has made inroads in Baltimore and has one store in the Cherry Hill area, which is a sort of no mans land near Silver Spring/White Oak, Beltsville and College Park--the last store built by Super Fresh. Shop-Rite's frequent ability to combine competitive pricing with strong perishables would be somewhat unique for DC and something that could work in a variety of neighborhoods including the eclectic collection of locations that Shoppers has. The issue would be finding operators---DC doesn't have the history of independents that places further North do and I would guess that the VIrginia markets might be similar.

Trivia note--Shop-Rite briefly was in DC during the mid 60s. It was either Foodarama orSupermarkets General. They opened a few stores with a strong pricing emphasis. Safeway, Giant and Grand Union set up pricing zones around them and Shop-Rite left within a couple years. The one store I know from that experiment was in College Park in a shopping center away from the main road, but adjacent to a large subdivision--so a somewhat odd location and it had been an unsuccessful Acme. After Shop-Rite it was an A&P but had its greatest success as an REI for about 30 years which recently closed when they opened a new flagship store downtown. Shop-Rite would have an easier time now because no one dominates the market like Giant and Safeway did in those days and they would have a unique niche even with all chains in the market.
Supervalu may be looking to streamline things like those Food Lions they bought which would be smaller size...

Shoppers seemed to have an odd mix of stores. Some were quasi-warehouse style stores (sort of) and others just felt like outdated conventionals.

Shop Rite has a merchandising flexibility that the larger chains don't have.

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Re: Farm Fresh may be on its way out

Post by mjhale » March 4th, 2018, 5:37 pm

storewanderer wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 1:08 pm
Supervalu may be looking to streamline things like those Food Lions they bought which would be smaller size...

Shoppers seemed to have an odd mix of stores. Some were quasi-warehouse style stores (sort of) and others just felt like outdated conventionals.

Shop Rite has a merchandising flexibility that the larger chains don't have.
In the 1980s and 1990s Shoppers was the price impact chain in the DC area. The was especially so when the chain was still owned by the Haft family. Shoppers seemed to have locations in lower to lower middle class neighborhoods to match its pricing strategy. When I first moved out on my own and had what seemed like zero dollars to spend I bought my groceries from the Shoppers at Rt. 236 and I-395 in Alexandria. At that time the store was in an old marina Safeway. Very bare bones - warehouse shelving, product displayed in cut out shipping boxes, buy/bring your own bags, bag your own groceries. As I began to earn more money I ditched Shoppers for a combination of of Giant and Safeway. Most of my friends did the same thing. Back then Shoppers had the reputation of the place you shop when you couldn't afford Giant or Safeway. Personally I think that same feeling holds true for long time Washingtonians. Even after SuperValu upscaled the chain it really didn't seem to make much traction. Aside from the donuts (which are still awesome) there isn't much to make you say I'm going to Shoppers over any of the other competition that exists in the market. I just don't see Publix being interested in the vast majority of the Shoppers locations. I actually think that ShopRite would be a better fit for the Shoppers locations if SuperValu ever bailed. I have always thought of ShopRite as the working man's grocery store with the high end touches to bring in a broad clientele. I'd welcome ShopRite in the DC area though I wonder who the operator would be. Perhaps one of the operators from the Philly area or maybe the Kliens group from Baltimore would be interested if any potential locations ever came on the market.

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Re: Farm Fresh may be on its way out

Post by mjhale » March 4th, 2018, 5:55 pm

buckguy wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 12:11 pm
I don't know enough about Farm Fresh to know how the stores would work for Publix. The Shoppers locations probably wouldn't work. Shoppers recently remodeled a store in Virginia by making it smaller which makes me wonder if Supervalu is thinking about going in a direction more like Lidl or Savealot, which seems a bit late for them, esp.with Food Lion retreating from the area.

If Supervalu ultimately throws in the towel one possible beneficiary might be Shop-Rite, which has made inroads in Baltimore and has one store in the Cherry Hill area, which is a sort of no mans land near Silver Spring/White Oak, Beltsville and College Park--the last store built by Super Fresh. Shop-Rite's frequent ability to combine competitive pricing with strong perishables would be somewhat unique for DC and something that could work in a variety of neighborhoods including the eclectic collection of locations that Shoppers has. The issue would be finding operators---DC doesn't have the history of independents that places further North do and I would guess that the VIrginia markets might be similar.

Trivia note--Shop-Rite briefly was in DC during the mid 60s. It was either Foodarama orSupermarkets General. They opened a few stores with a strong pricing emphasis. Safeway, Giant and Grand Union set up pricing zones around them and Shop-Rite left within a couple years. The one store I know from that experiment was in College Park in a shopping center away from the main road, but adjacent to a large subdivision--so a somewhat odd location and it had been an unsuccessful Acme. After Shop-Rite it was an A&P but had its greatest success as an REI for about 30 years which recently closed when they opened a new flagship store downtown. Shop-Rite would have an easier time now because no one dominates the market like Giant and Safeway did in those days and they would have a unique niche even with all chains in the market.
I'm curious which Shoppers store was remodeled and downsized. I'd be interested in taking a look simply out of curiosity.

One of the challenges for anyone coming into the DC market is the amount of current competition. Within that competition there doesn't seem to be one operator who dominates market wide like Giant did in its heyday and to a certain extent Safeway too. On the price impact end you have Aldi, Lidl, Save-A-Lot and Walmart/Walmart Supercenters. In the traditional grocer you have Giant, Safeway, Weis, Shoppers (in its current format), Food Lion and yes Harris Teeter. Sorry but Harris Teeter is a very average but overpriced grocery store. IMO, Kroger would have done better to make them Kroger stores and run them as standard groceries instead of pretending they are high end. High end/specialty is Wegmans, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. And don't forget all of the ethnic and international operators. Where does someone like Publix fit into this mix? As much as I'd like to see Publix in the DC area I just don't see a space for them unless another operator has a major sell off. To me Publix is what Giant was back when Izzy Cohen was still alive - a high quality, high service, moderately priced traditional grocery store. That space is very full right now. ShopRite seems to draw from a broader clientele. With their high volume, promotion driven stores I think they could make it in the DC area if the stores were backed by a strong operator who wasn't afraid to spend money on the stores to have high quality perishables, prepared foods and good service. I think it is the Saker ShopRies that are marketed as "World Class ShopRite". Something along those lines has the potential to work in the DC area.

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Farm Fresh selling 21 stores to Kroger/Harris Teeter and Food Lion; the remainder to be sold or shut down

Post by cathandler » March 14th, 2018, 4:54 pm

Supervalu is officially pulling the plug on Farm Fresh. The prescription files at the remaining units are being sold off. Is Shoppers next on the chopping block?
https://pilotonline.com/business/consum ... ad85e.html
http://www.supervaluinvestors.com/mobil ... id=2338149
http://www.dailypress.com/business/dp-t ... story.html

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Re: Farm Fresh selling 21 stores to Kroger/Harris Teeter and Food Lion; the remainder to be sold or shut down

Post by pseudo3d » March 14th, 2018, 6:54 pm

cathandler wrote:
March 14th, 2018, 4:54 pm
Supervalu is officially pulling the plug on Farm Fresh. The prescription files at the remaining units are being sold off. Is Shoppers next on the chopping block?
https://pilotonline.com/business/consum ... ad85e.html
http://www.supervaluinvestors.com/mobil ... id=2338149
http://www.dailypress.com/business/dp-t ... story.html
With Kroger in Farm Fresh's market and what looked to be a surprisingly strong Food Lion market (not to mention others like Aldi, Wegmans, etc.) it's not a huge surprise they pulled out. It's always sad when a chain pulls out, it always leaves a scar that can be never really be filled unless it was never meant to begin with (Albertsons run in Houston was one such case). Their declining market share and strong competitors probably prevented the chain from being sold whole.

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