Save-Rite Food Town name question

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Save-Rite Food Town name question

Post by Andrew T. » 12 Dec 2021 13:09

In the pre-Delhaize era (and even the early Delhaize era, if this photo is any indication), the Food Lion chain in NC was known as "Save-Rite Food Town."

But why "Save-Rite?" Was this a buyers' cooperative or supplier arrangement that Food Town was a part of? Or was it just a tagline that Ralph Ketner came up with to flesh out the signage and store logo?
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Re: Save-Rite Food Town name question

Post by Groceteria » 12 Dec 2021 19:45

I don’t remember that they ever really used Save-Rite as part of their branding other than the fact that it appeared on some signs at the early stores. I imagine it was a co-op that they were probably associated with until they built their own distribution network. I vaguely remember other stores in this area having Save-Rite logos as well, but I would not be willing to swear to that fact.

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Re: Save-Rite Food Town name question

Post by Groceteria » 12 Dec 2021 20:09

Actually, it was a joint cooperative warehousing venture that Food Town started with two other small NC chains in 1967 so they could cut ties with MDI, the large distributor. But still, other than the signage, I don’t think they ever used Save-Rite in any significant way in their branding. The stores were always just known as “Food Town.“

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Re: Save-Rite Food Town name question

Post by BillyGr » 12 Dec 2021 23:09

In the book about the chain, they do mention using one store (Main St in Salisbury) and renaming it Save Rite, at least for a time.

This was when they were trying out their LFPINC (Lowest Food Prices in NC) before it was expanded to all the stores, thus the name difference to make it obvious that that store would operate differently as a test market (literally).

Otherwise, it was (as you mentioned) the warehouse, which they eventually bought out the other two (smaller) chains when they started expanding after that price reduction campaign took off.

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Re: Save-Rite Food Town name question

Post by Groceteria » 12 Dec 2021 23:28

I really should read that whole book again. It’s been like 20 years. Since it lacks an index, I only found the part about the warehouse when I was skimming through tonight. I missed the one store they renamed. Thanks!

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Re: Save-Rite Food Town name question

Post by BillyGr » 13 Dec 2021 11:43

Groceteria wrote: 12 Dec 2021 23:28 I really should read that whole book again. It’s been like 20 years. Since it lacks an index, I only found the part about the warehouse when I was skimming through tonight. I missed the one store they renamed. Thanks!
You're welcome - I'm not sure how I happened to hit that part either. Seems to be an issue with books in that category, and I don't know why they don't put at least some type of index in them - it surely would make it much easier to find details!

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Re: Save-Rite Food Town name question

Post by Andrew T. » 14 Dec 2021 00:04

Groceteria wrote: 12 Dec 2021 20:09 Actually, it was a joint cooperative warehousing venture that Food Town started with two other small NC chains in 1967 so they could cut ties with MDI, the large distributor.
BillyGr wrote: 12 Dec 2021 23:09 Otherwise, it was (as you mentioned) the warehouse, which they eventually bought out the other two (smaller) chains when they started expanding after that price reduction campaign took off.
Thanks, that makes sense! But what were the names of the other two chains?
Groceteria wrote: 12 Dec 2021 20:09But still, other than the signage, I don’t think they ever used Save-Rite in any significant way in their branding. The stores were always just known as “Food Town.“
Most versions of the Food Town print logo that I've seen (in ads, on grocery sacks, etc.) gave "Save-Rite" top billing:

Image

Also, does anyone know when the "Save-Rite" name finally disappeared? It survived into the Delhaize era, but I don't know if it survived to 1983.
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Re: Save-Rite Food Town name question

Post by BillyGr » 14 Dec 2021 11:13

Andrew T. wrote: 14 Dec 2021 00:04
Groceteria wrote: 12 Dec 2021 20:09 Actually, it was a joint cooperative warehousing venture that Food Town started with two other small NC chains in 1967 so they could cut ties with MDI, the large distributor.
BillyGr wrote: 12 Dec 2021 23:09 Otherwise, it was (as you mentioned) the warehouse, which they eventually bought out the other two (smaller) chains when they started expanding after that price reduction campaign took off.
Thanks, that makes sense! But what were the names of the other two chains?

Also, does anyone know when the "Save-Rite" name finally disappeared? It survived into the Delhaize era, but I don't know if it survived to 1983.
The book only gives the names of the owners of the other two stores - Oren Heffner (3 Stores) and Russell Walker (6 Stores), no information as to what they used for a store name.

I did spot that Food Town parted ways with them somewhere around 1968 (after the LFPINC started, since the warehouse needed an expansion and the other two thought that Food Town should pay for it, which they didn't want to do in a partnership) and in addition to buying out their shares in the warehouse, also took over 2 stores in Mount Airy that had been bought by all three and run under the Save Rite name, so I guess that makes a couple more places it showed up on a store.

Beyond that (given the lack of easy information finding in the book), the second question is harder to answer.

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Re: Save-Rite Food Town name question

Post by Groceteria » 14 Dec 2021 18:02

Andrew T. wrote: 14 Dec 2021 00:04 Thanks, that makes sense! But what were the names of the other two chains?
The chain owned by Heffner was called (surprise) "Heffner's." Not sure about the Walker chain.
Groceteria wrote: 12 Dec 2021 20:09Most versions of the Food Town print logo that I've seen (in ads, on grocery sacks, etc.) gave "Save-Rite" top billing:
I can say with pretty much 100% certainty that the stores were always known just as "Food Town" (except maybe the one that rebranded temporarily). That was definitely the case in the early 1970s when they went into expansion mode; their branding and jungles made no reference to Save-Rite at all. The "Save-Rite" logo reads more like the small "Speedee System" add-on that used to appear on McDonald's signs. Most people probably just ignored it altogether.

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