Food 4 Less - Arkansas

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storewanderer
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Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by storewanderer »

It appears Food 4 Less in Arkansas was owned by Wal Mart for a time period in the early 90's.

What happened to these stores ultimately?

It looks like there were about 17 stores.

https://www.oklahoman.com/article/23708 ... n-arkansas

Guessing they decided to take control of these stores to fully learn the grocery business and that is why they were gone by the mid 90's from what I can tell...

So that would allude that the Food 4 Less format was basically the foundation for the Wal Mart Supercenter grocery program and format. That explains a lot.
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Re: Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by Bakeragr »

Back when the Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in Jefferson City, MO in the early 90's (I think 92?), it was one of the first in the chain. I think Washington, MO opened first. Anyway, the stores were serviced by Fleming, and had Fleming store brands, which slowly over time were phased out by "Sam's American Choice." I believe Fleming was the owner and developer of the Food 4 Less brand and franchise. I don't remember the timeline that caused Fleming to go bankrupt, but I think it was after Walmart sort of used them for ideas and quit using them. Fleming was big with KMart at that time or after as well, which I think hurt them.

In the Midwest, I know Fleming owned the Consumers chain of grocery stores based in Springfield, MO, which had nice stores but were all shut down and sold off. They also owned the Baker's chain in Omaha, which was picked up by Kroger.

Additionally, there was a Food 4 Less for many years across Stadium Blvd. from that first Walmart Supercenter in Jefferson City. It is long gone, was operated by many local (AWG) operators and finally closed for good a few years ago. The property is owned by an entity from northwest Arkansas, coincidentally. I wonder if it is a related entity. It just got remodeled into a new Aldi's in the past year.
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Re: Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by veteran+ »

Fleming played around in Florida as well with Pantry Pride, Woolleys, Hyde Park and MORE:

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/busine ... 43204.html
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Re: Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by retailfanmitchell019 »

Then there is the Falley's/F4L stores in Kansas that was part of Yucaipa/Ralphs/Fred Meyer... what happened to those?

Falley's started the F4L concept, not Fleming. I don't know how and when F4L got out to SoCal.
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Re: Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by pseudo3d »

I made a Groceteria thread a while back that asks some questions about how Fleming got involved in F4L (and what exactly the licensee terms was, seems Fleming got a big territory...and why didn't Woodland's store get re-absorbed). It also answers a few questions from this thread--Falley's Inc. was acquired by Yucaipa Cos. in 1990 and built the first SoCal store then.
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Re: Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by storewanderer »

Before Fleming went bust, there were basically two Food 4 Less chains- the one run by Kroger and the ones run by independents supplied by Fleming. What was interesting is the network of F4L Stores outlived Fleming though many did get dragged down along with Fleming.

The independents running F4L Stores to this day under multiple wholesalers still sort of kind of present as a chain. You will see the same bags, the same promotion signs, and some other things whether you go to the AWG Harps F4L in Missouri, the Supervalu Sherms F4L in Medford, OR, or a C&S supplied F4L in California.

PAQ Inc. has added new F4L Stores in Sacramento as recently as 2020 by buying two Food Source locations and converting them to F4L so there is some way to get a new F4L Store even today.

I didn't know Wal Mart was ever using Fleming as a supplier; this is also quite interesting and ironic. Not to be cynical but I find it funny a wholesaler who supplied independent stores (including IGAs nationwide) helped Wal Mart launch its grocery business which has put thousands of independent stores and ultimately that supplier Fleming out of business. Well, if it hadn't been Fleming supplying Wal Mart early on, someone else would have I guess...
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Re: Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by jamcool »

Actually Fleming was the main supplier to K Mart, when they were going full blast with Super Kmart. When Kmart went bankrupt, they stopped expanding the Super Ks which hit Fleming hard, causing their demise
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Re: Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by storewanderer »

jamcool wrote: June 16th, 2021, 9:15 am Actually Fleming was the main supplier to K Mart, when they were going full blast with Super Kmart. When Kmart went bankrupt, they stopped expanding the Super Ks which hit Fleming hard, causing their demise
Fleming signed an exclusive agreement with Kmart in 2001 and then that agreement terminated in 2003. Prior to that Kmart was using Supervalu for about 2/3 of its stores and Fleming for the other 1/3, roughly. Prior to 2001, Kmart favored Supervalu and used them wherever they could. Fleming was being used only in geographies where Supervalu wasn't an option. A few Super Kmarts had other suppliers too. Even after the Fleming agreement terminated, some Kmarts kept using Fleming for a brief time period but did ultimately switch to other suppliers, plus Kmart had to ramp back up its private labels since they had flipped to offering many Fleming labels in paper/grocery.

This Wal Mart/Fleming thing seemed to be in the early 90's through mid 90's.
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Re: Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by TW-Upstate NY »

storewanderer wrote: June 16th, 2021, 9:26 pm Prior to 2001, Kmart favored Supervalu and used them wherever they could.
I remember seeing Sweet Life products in a local Super K in the late 90's. Prior to that, Central Markets (the name Golub Corp. used before rebannering as Price Chopper) used that as a house brand and that goes back to at least the early 70's. Have no idea who owned/owns the brand or if it's even around any longer.
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Re: Food 4 Less - Arkansas

Post by buckguy »

Sweet Life was a wholesaler (the name came from a predecessor company being in the sugar business) based in the Suffield CT (Hartford-Springfield area). They supplied a variety of independents--there many small chains in that area into the 80s and 90s.

Super Valu bought them in 1993. With a little web searching, I discovered that Supervalu sold the Sweet Life facility to Fleming and now it's owned by C&S.
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