stores

Grand Union (stores)

Grand Union was a large supermarket chain based in Elmwood Park, New Jersey (later moving to Wayne, New Jersey) operating in the northeastern United States. It entered bankruptcy protection for the third (and final) time in 2000. The company, which operated about 200 stores at the time of its demise, was divided among competitors like Shaw's Supermarkets, Stop & Shop, Key Food, and Tops Friendly Markets. C&S Wholesale Grocers, a large distributor of grocery products, took over Grand Union's warehouse operations and kept a handful of stores in smaller communities under the name Grand Union Family Markets.

History

Origins

Grand Union started as the Jones Brothers Tea Company in 1872. By the 1930s it was one of the largest grocery chains in the United States. The name "Grand Union" was inspired by the desire to "unite shoppers with low prices in a 'Grand Union of Value'" as described by company associate Elvin Sanders. Each aisle was named after a state, with Wisconsin representing the dairy aisle, Nebraska representing the corn aisle, and New York representing bagels, smoked salmon, and other Jewish foods. The store's mascot was Abraham Lincoln wearing a deli apron, and most stores featured a costumed Lincoln to accomplish deeds, talk to customers, and proclaim the general splendor of the Grand Union, and to urge them to "Save the Union" when the company faced economic hardship. The company also operated "Grand Way" stores in Florida starting in 1960. These stores were similar to today's super-centers as they combined a discount department store with a grocery store all under one roof. The grocery stores were later separated from the discount stores and sold to Winn-Dixie/Kwik-Chek.

Ownership by Sir James "The Red Raider" Goldsmith

British corporate raider Sir James Goldsmith acquired Grand Union in the early 1970s. Grand Union was a money loser during much of Goldsmith's time of ownership. The company, which was then a national chain, was forced to sell over most of its stores outside of the northeastern states during the early 1980s, such as its Florida, Texas, and Washington D.C. divisions. (However, the company did retain the Big Star Markets chain operating in the Atlanta metro region up until 1993) In the mid 1980s, Sir James Goldsmith brought in former Target Corp. executive Floyd Hall to manage the chain. Goldsmith also had world-renowned artist Milton Glaser complete a graphical redesign of the chain, which included the "red dot" theme. Through the new management under Hall, the chain was able to make record making profits for once throughout the late 1980s. Sir James Goldsmith sold the chain to Floyd Hall and a group of investors in 1988. The chain, however, was quickly resold.

1989 acquisition by corporate raider Gary Hirsch

In 1989, investment banker Gary D. Hirsch, a partner in the firm Miller Tabak Hirsch & Co. acquired a portion of the Grand Union Company with Solomon Brothers. Hirsch had been looking to assemble a grocery empire on the east coast at the time, as he had also recently acquired Penn Traffic of Johnstown, PA, P&C Food Markets of Syracuse, NY and the Big Bear Stores Company of Columbus, OH in hostile takeovers. Hirsch assumed the position of chairman while Joseph McCaig became CEO. Floyd Hall left upon the acquisition. Under Hirsch's reign the company had been driven into serious debt and ran out of the necessary capital for store improvements and upgrades, making it difficult for them to compete with other better financed retailers. The company entered its first bankruptcy in 1995 and exited in 1996. After the reorganization, Hirsch resigned and sold off his stake in the company.

The J. Wayne Harris era

In 1997, Grand Union brought in the well-respected former A&P and Kroger executive, J. Wayne Harris to begin a turnaround of the ailing chain, which entered bankruptcy again in 1998. Harris attempted to turn around the Grand Union chain through the introduction of new store formats, such as "Hot Dot," a limited assortment store in the mold of Aldi and Save-A-Lot, "Grand Union Fresh Markets," an upscale gourmet concept, and "Mega Save," another discount format. None of the new concepts worked and Harris left the company in 2000 to oversee a turnaround of the Eckerd Corporation. Shortly after Harris's departure the company assumed large amounts of debt and entered its third bankruptcy, this time to be its last.

2001 acquisition by C&S Wholesale Grocers

In 2001, C&S Wholesale Grocers, a New England-based wholesale food distributor, now one of the largest in the nation, was facing a huge loss of revenue because Grand Union was its largest customer at the time. If a non-C&S customer, such as Hannaford or Price Chopper, were to acquire most or all of the assets of the bankrupt retailer, it could have put C&S in serious financial risk themselves. To correct this problem, C&S opted to acquire the Grand Union chain themselves. In March 2001, C&S sold most of the former Grand Union Co. locations to other grocery retailers, such as Shaw's and Pathmark, which use C&S as their primary distributor.

Grand Union Family Markets

That year, C&S opted to continue operating several of the Grand Union stores they were not able to sell under the modified Grand Union Family Markets name. (Still, most operating Grand Union stores still feature the old "red dot" logo on their facade, not the newer logo with Family Markets attached to the Grand Union name) Most of the remaining Grand Unions operate in rural towns in Vermont and portions of Upstate New York, particularly the Hudson Valley region below Albany. C&S closed off all of the remaining Grand Union stores in downstate New York and New Jersey. According to its website, GUFM still operates:

Locations

New York

  • Albany (Central Ave ACROSS from Westgate) - later was a Toys for Joy, now is Hannaford
  • Albany (Central Ave IN Westgate) - A former Albany Public turned Scot's Lo Cost (Same company)- turned into GU when merged then torn down during renovations a few years back - sat in the "corner" of the plaza
  • Albany (Central Ave just ABOVE Westgate same side) - This was a former Caldor/Price Chopper plaza - the Caldor was torn down and a MEGA SAVE store was built (identical to the one in Poughkeepsie that never opened) - this was open 6 MONTHS then closed during bankruptcy. In fact, at one point, a "Grand Opening" sign and a "Store Closing" sign were seen on the store at the same time. The whole plaza was torn down and a Home Depot is now there.
  • Amsterdam - now True Value Hardware
  • Ausable Forks - became Tops in 2001; returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • Ballston Spa - now Ocean State Job Lot
  • Bolton Landing - became Tops in 2001; returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • Burnt Hills - now Dollar General
  • Brunswick - closed and became a Salvation Army Store, now closed.
  • Binghamton - closed now Auction Centre.
  • Cambridge - closed 2002; now Dollar General (small part vacant for lease)
  • Champlain - became Tops; closed in 2005; currently Ace Hardware
  • Chatham - now Price Chopper
  • Chappaqua, New York - stayed open till 2006 now a Dagastino's
  • Chestertown - became Tops in 2001; returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • Carmel - became Key Food in 2001; now NYSC (fitness chain)
  • Clifton Park - now a Kohls
  • Cold Spring - caught on fire in 2002; rebuilt as Foodtown
  • Corinth - became Tops in 2001; returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • Delmar - now Hannaford
  • Cornwall - Became Key Food in 2001
  • East Greenbush (Rt 4)- Torn down when WalMart expanded to super store, where part of parking lot/driveway is now.
  • East Greenbush (Rts 9 &20) - Another former Albany Public, was Grand Union for just a short time, then Big Al's discount, later Fay's and then Eckerd before closing last year after the Rite Aid buyout (as there is a Rite Aid just across street) - now vacant.
  • Elizabethtown - became Tops in 2001, returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • Elmira - closed in the early or mid 1980s. Was an independent hardware store for several years as of the early 2000s.
  • Endicott - A&P prior to becoming Grand Union in mid-1980s. Closed and vacant for 3 years. Demolished in 2001, now undeveloped land in Endicott K-Mart Plaza
  • Endwell - closed and vacant for 2.5 years. Demolished, rebuilt as Giant Market (http://www.giantmarkets.com - Local Binghamton Area Chain)
  • Forest Hills, NY - became Met Food, now Walgreen's
  • Freeport - became a Compare Foods Supermarket and is now a CVS
  • Fultonville - Still Open
  • Garden City - 7th St. Location - now a Pathmark
  • Glenville - now vacant
  • Glenmont - now a Marshall's
  • Goshen - now a CVS
  • Greenwich - became Eagle Bridge Furniture in 2002; now vacant
  • Guilderland - now Price Chopper
  • Hamilton - later Tops, now Grand Union again
  • Hancock - Still Open
  • Hicksville - Became Scatturo's, now Best Yet
  • Highland - Became Hannaford
  • Hoosick Falls - Still Open
  • Hudson Falls - closed in 2001; remains vacant
  • Hudson - on Union Street, closed many years ago, has housed offices since and still does
  • Hyde Park - Closed in 2004; now an Amish Market
  • Jay - still open
  • Kingsbury - demolished in 2005; now Hannaford
  • Kingston - There were two. One near uptown Kingston and one just outside of the city in the town of Ulster. The Ulster location is a grocery store but the uptown site is now vacant.
  • Lake Placid - became Tops in 2001; closed 2005
  • Latham - in the Latham Circle mall as an outparcel, later Gold's Gym, torn down when Lowes was built
  • Latham (Route 2 between Latham & Watervliet) - now houses a church
  • Loudonville - now Price Chopper
  • Little Neck - now Stop & Shop
  • Mahopac - now a Key Food Marketplace
  • Malta - now Price Chopper
  • Massapequa - now a Pathmark
  • Menands - Broadway. Originally an ALBANY PUBLIC MARKET, now the space is used as an operations center for Bank of America.
  • Middleburgh - Still Open
  • Monroe - now a Super Stop & Shop
  • Monsey/Wesley Hills - became Wesley Kosher Supermarket
  • Mount Kisco - became Stop & Shop; closed in 2007; now a CVS
  • Niskayuna - now multi-purpose space, including medical offices
  • North Bellmore - Took over the former Shop Rite, which was The Big Apple supermarket now Super Stop & Shop
  • North Creek - became Tops in 2001; returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • Northport - became a Key Food Marketplace; now closed
  • Northville - Still Open
  • Peru - became Tops in 2001; returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • Plattsburgh - now a TJ Maxx
  • Pleasantville - now a Key Food Marketplace
  • Pomona/Mt. Ivy - became Stop & Shop
  • Port Henry - became Tops in 2001; now Mac's Markets
  • Port Jefferson Station - became Giunta's Meat Farms
  • Poughkeepsie - constructed to become a Mega Save Grand Union in 2000, but was never finished because of the bankruptcy and never opened; it is still vacant
  • Queensbury - now Toys "R" Us
  • Rhinebeck - original store vacant, Stop & Shop built next door
  • Rouses Point - closed in 2000; became Save-A-Lot in 2002; currently a Dollar General
  • Saranac Lake - there are two Grand Unions still operating. Both became Tops in 2001, then returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • Saratoga Springs (Congress Ave.) - became Off Broadway Theatre & Grill; now vacant
  • Saratoga Springs (West Ave.) - now Empire State College outreach center
  • Saugerties- closed a couple years ago, now vacant
  • Sayville - now Stop and Shop
  • Schodack - Built as Grand Union in 1977, closed during last bankruptcy and remained vacant, opened as Tractor Supply in 2007.
  • Schroon Lake - became Tops in 2001; returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • Sidney, New York - became Tops in 2001; now a Price Chopper
  • South Glens Falls - now Hannaford
  • Spring Valley/Hillcrest - now Bravo Food
  • Smithtown - now a Waldbaum's
  • Stamford - Still Open
  • Stony Point - became Stop & Shop
  • Suffern - now vacant
  • Tallman - opened as a King Kullen, became Grand Union, now vacant
  • Tannersville - Still Open
  • Ticonderoga - became Tops in 2001; closed 2005
  • Vail Mills - now Adirondack Wildlife Museum
  • Valatie - closed in 2007; now vacant - becoming Ocean State Job Lot in September 2008
  • Vestal (Four Corners) - Was the IBM Endicott IDEAS Department before the building was split in half, with IDEAS keeping one side and the other becoming a Grand Union in 1978. Grand Union closed in 2001, was first vacant, now Vestal Big Lots
  • Vestal (Vestal Plaza) - first turned into a dollar store, demolished, now private student housing for Binghamton University
  • Warrensburg - became Tops in 2001; returned to Grand Union in 2006
  • West Babylon - became Foodtown; now is a Shop Rite
  • West Nyack - became Stop & Shop
  • Whitehall - became Tops in 2001, then closed; now Dollar General
  • West Coxsackie - Still Open
  • West Hempstead - now a Pathmark

In October 2005, C&S's Grand Union Family Market division announced it would acquire 12 Tops Markets supermarkets in the Adirondack region of New York state. Ironically, these were Grand Union stores before Tops acquired them from C&S in 2001.

New Jersey

Vermont

- US 7 N and US 4 E- still operating
- US 7 S - was P&C, closed in 2004

- Williston Road - Store closed in September 2008. To be replaced by Price Chopper Supermarket
- Shelburne Road - closed in 2002, replaced by Shaw's; Shaw's re-built in 2004

Connecticut

Pennsylvania

  • Milford - still open
  • Matamoras - currently being demolished; movie theater planned for July 2008

New Hampshire

  • Lebanon - became a P&C in 2000 after the expiration of a ten year lease agreement with Penn Traffic
  • Lincoln - became a P&C in 2000 after the expiration of a ten year lease agreement with Penn Traffic

References

External links

Search another word or see storeson Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature