Morning Headlines: Supermarket Shakeup of Fresh Grocer, Super Fresh

It’s a tangled web they weave, the supermarket chains, but let’s see if we can get this right: The grand old A&P (subject of the canonical story by John Updike that no one reads in school anymore) owns Super Fresh and Pathmark. A&P–called by its full name, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., in the Wall Street Journal, of course–is likely putting itself up for sale.  Who will buy it? Maybe Kroger, maybe a chain in the Netherlands–it’s hard to say.

Whoever the buyer, this makes our area Super Fresh and Pathmark locations vulnerable, or at the very least, in for some change. Within Philadelphia, there are four Super Fresh markets: 10th and South (across from Whole Foods, which the Journal charges, in part, with eating Super Fresh’s upscale lunch); Fifth and Pine; Delaware Ave., and near 3rd and Girard. There are many more Pathmark stores spread out over the city.

Now, on to Fresh Grocer supermarkets, which are being acquired by Wakefern, owner of the Shop Rite chain. Fresh Grocer locations in the Greater Philadelphia area will retain the name with the exception of Drexel Hill, which is due to become a Shop Rite.

Meanwhile, a new Shop Rite will open on Friday in Northwest Philly, and SEPTA has announced that it will reroute a couple buses so that they go directly into the parking lot of the Bakers Centre complex.

And there’s more!

• “The historic Engine 46 firehouse on Front Street remains endangered, now with an even greater urgency,” writes Brad Maule over at Hidden City. So what can we do about it?
• Philadelphia City Council has more hearings today on the building collapse at 22nd and Market. Today’s topic? Best practices for demolition. Which, um, obviously weren’t used.
• SugarHouse is trying to block a second casino license with a lawsuit. Good luck, fellas.
• Proctor & Gamble goes for massive space in Shippensburg, Pa., at a cost of $92+ million. “It’s a huge deal for Liberty and the state,” writes the Business Journal‘s Natalie Kostelni

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  • Sandy Smith

    Oops! The proper way to phrase it is that Fresh Grocer is joining Wakefern. The company is a co-operative owned by the supermarkets it supplies. The co-op, however, is acquiring the Fresh Grocer name – apparently, with plans to expand it to other Wakefern-affiliated stores.

    • Liz Spikol

      Thanks for the clarification!

  • SuperFresh CLOSING

    A ShopRite executive has learned that Wakefern/ShopRite will bid on at least 12 area SuperFresh and Pathmark sites from bankrupt A&P. One will be Pier 70 to replace the problem-ridden Snyder Plaza ShopRite, which has structural problems. The other replacement will have Roxborough ShopRite moving to SuperFresh building a few blocks away in Ivy Ridge Shopping Center, which is much larger. Also the two smaller SuperFreshes on 5th and the one on South street, will become “Fresh Grocer-ShopRite”. ShopRite also would takeover 2nd & Girard, as a regular ShopRite. Cross Your Fingers, Shoprite has better prices and quality

  • ShopRite is BEST

    LIz, A&P is now very desperate to unload ALL Superfresh and Pathmarks in Philly area. ShopRite is poised to acquire the “better” locations for its members.

  • A&P’s CEO Smith

    Now that A&P has “canned” CEO Sam Martin, Mr. Sandy Smith has been named interim CEO of the once Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Party. Smith is expected to immediately fast-track the closings and real estate sales of remaining retail locations.

  • Jim Smith

    Where is this information coming from? What kind of ShopRite executive learned this? This kind of information can really hurt the employees of these store that are mentioned. These are good people to have their lives played with like this.

  • Superfresh CLOSING

    Wakefern head honcho Joseph Sheridan confided with well-known industry insiders recently at a local University. A&P is dumping everything in Philly-Wilmington corridor that is remaining. It is a damn shame that Ron Burkle, a very close friend of dictator obama, has ruined this once-great corporation in the name of greed. God will pay them back! Please pray that new operators will give current veteran employees a CHANCE!

  • Jim Smith

    Thank you. Folks in the stores know they want to close everything south of Trenton. Remodels to a couple of stores were canceled, no reason is ever given. I guess the lower price project will get some sales up to show potential buyers. I agree with you it really is a shame what they have done to these stores. These remaining stores are good stores that they have ruined by not doing anything.

  • Ricky Russel

    It would be nice if Wendell Young of local 1776 would issue some type of statement about all the rumors that are going on with this company, but as long as the unions dues keep coming in whats he care?
    Truly a union that does nothing for its members.
    Prove us wrong Wendell, prove us wrong……

  • ShopRite is BEST

    Sandy is a former seafood manager

  • Sandy Smith

    News to me.

  • ShopRite is GREAT

    Should read: Sandy Brown

  • Fresh Grocer

    Sandy, Since you are a professional consumer activist, The Fresh Grocer now sells all ShopRite items and has ShopRite signs all-over the store, but has higher prices on the same items. How can that be?

  • Sandy Smith

    One, I’m not a “professional consumer activist” – I’m a professional journalist, nothing more, but I am interested in food and grocery shopping. Two, that puzzles me as much as it does you, as ShopRite is the low price leader in the Philadelphia market. But once again, keep in mind that ShopRite is a co-op owned by its members, and the owner of the Fresh Grocer chain is operating all but one of his stores as a separate unit with its own identity, ShopRite private-label products and price tags notwithstanding. (The co-op bought the name from the owner.) IOW, ShopRite TV ads won’t apply to Fresh Grocer stores.

  • Fresh Grocer NOT SR

    Fresh Grocer accepts the Price Plus card, but will not apply purchases to free turkey offer of ShopRite, and does not sell USDA Choice beef, and does not accept ShopRite ad coupons, and also has a modified ad. Might as well go to regular ShopRite, which is very much better. Fresh Grocer is only a cheap clone. When Pathmark closes all stores, very soon, a ShopRite manager tells us, some will be reopened by Wakefern, and be named PriceRite, i.e., the Pathmark which closed recently on Mt. Ephraim Avenue.

  • Sandy Smith

    a CHEAP clone?

    Don’t think you’ve actually shopped at a Fresh Grocer store, then. The chain’s specials are as competitive as any in the market, but its regular prices are the highest of any chain I’ve shopped in in this area, including Giant and Wegmans (whose regular prices on ordinary grocery items are actually quite low).

    On the other hand, if the rest of what you say is true, then I won’t be that happy, for unless someone buys the Pathmark at Chelten and Wayne avenues, it means one less supermarket option for me in Germantown; something tells me Wakefern wouldn’t operate a ShopRite so close to both another ShopRite and a Fresh Grocer.

  • Fresh Grocer all over

    Sandy, Fresh Grocer converted Chelten & Pulaski to Save-A-Lot two years ago, which has recently been sold to Sean Rimmier, whose late father was partner of FG owner Pat Burns. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Pathmark C&W closes soon, and becomes another Pat Burns owned Fresh Grocer?

  • CHEAP turkeys

    Bottom Dollar on Chew Avenue is creaming FG down the street with 37cent turkeys and $1.33 ground beef

  • Sandy Smith

    Given that the closing of the old Chelten and Pulaski Fresh Grocer was closely followed by the opening of the Shoppes at La Salle store, I seriously doubt that Burns would want to open another Fresh Grocer on the opposite side of Germantown, especially given the history of both of his stores there (my understanding is that the only thing the west siders liked less than the conditions at that recycled Fresh Grocer was its closing, and that they held Burns’ feet to the fire to make sure that the Save-a-Lot was better than the typical Save-a-Lot, a feat they accomplished).

    I can think of at least one local independent supermarket operator who would be an asset to Germantown: the owner of the Supreme (Supremo) Shop n Bag stores. Those folks dramatically improved the quality of the Thriftway at 43d and Walnut in U-City after taking that store over.

  • Sandy Smith

    Yeah, I know. I was in line for the store’s opening at 8 a.m. on Oct. 31. IMO, Bottom Dollar is the class act of the no-service, limited-selection, deep-discount grocers. I’m glad they’re now a short walk from me.

  • Salisbury NC

    Bottom Dollar jr. COMING SOON to Southwest CC on Greys Ferry Road

  • Irv A

    Supremo is a wholesale client of White Rose, who serves all Thriftway/Shop n Bags in region. Have you noticed the current Fresh Grocer weekly ad is identical to ShopRite’s?

  • Freebies

    Sandy, Did you get the free bag of groceries worth about $50?

  • Sandy Smith

    Similar, not identical: The typography and best of all the prices now resemble ShopRite’s. But the promotional programs are slightly different, as one commenter already pointed out: no free turkeys at the Fresh Grocer, for instance.

  • Bottom Dollar CHEAPEST

    Dear Sandy, CBS 3 Jim Donovan, on November 4, reported that Bottom Dollar, Chew Avenue, has the lowest prices of area grocery stores, and ACME has some of the highest.

  • Sandy Smith

    Sure did. Pancake breakfast to come. (The goodie bag contained pancake mix and syrup, a can of cream style corn, a package of iced oatmeal cookies, a loaf of white bread, and a 2-liter bottle of root beer, all My Essentials, Bottom Dollar’s high-quality private label [also found in other chains owned by Delhaize]. It also had large bags of Utz pretzel pops and Herr’s potato chips.) I’m not sure that’s $50 worth of groceries anywhere, but at Bottom Dollar, this haul probably runs around $10. :)

  • Bottom Dollar roxborough

    We have turkeys for 37cent at BD.

  • BD mgr

    ALSO, sweet potatoe at 28 cents pund

  • Jim Williams

    Any updates on Wakefern buying up the Pathmarks and A&P’s

  • A&P associate

    Unfortunately, ACME parent Cerberus in September, according to a UFCW 1776 stewarts meeting, has placed a bid on some Super Fresh locations. Hopefully ShopRite members will acquire some. We DONOT want Giant or Weis!

  • Former Acme shopper

    Doesn’t Acme sell ungraded substandard beef, sold through its Lancaster brand, which is tough as shoeleather?

  • Jim Perkins/Dennis Clark

    Please don’t tell anyone. We are full of Smoke and Mirrors per directions from corporate.