A Little Help?

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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eltf177
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A Little Help?

Post by eltf177 »

I found a 1990 WASHINGTON POST article about the top 10 grocers in the DC area (Giant and Safeway were #'s 1 and 2; surprise surprise!). Number 9 was Basics (3 stores) while Number 10 was Dayton/Mitchell Thriftways (also 3 stores). I've never heard of either.

There's a post here that says Basics was what of left of Grand Union after it left the area, but I know nothing about them either. And I think Thriftways was more a distributor than a wholesaler from what I've run across.

Does anyone know more about these stores - their locations and when they ceased operations? Thanks in advance.
BillyGr
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by BillyGr »

eltf177 wrote: 03 Sep 2021 16:01 I found a 1990 WASHINGTON POST article about the top 10 grocers in the DC area (Giant and Safeway were #'s 1 and 2; surprise surprise!). Number 9 was Basics (3 stores) while Number 10 was Dayton/Mitchell Thriftways (also 3 stores). I've never heard of either.

There's a post here that says Basics was what of left of Grand Union after it left the area, but I know nothing about them either. And I think Thriftways was more a distributor than a wholesaler from what I've run across.

Does anyone know more about these stores - their locations and when they ceased operations? Thanks in advance.
Can't say specifically on that area, but I seem to remember seeing Thriftway as more of a franchised name elsewhere - that is, the stores were individually owned (or perhaps in this case one owner had three) and supplied by a common supplier and allowed to use the name.

Grand Union has a fair amount of information around on their overall history, not so sure about the Basics name.
rich
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by rich »

Basics was a brand for Grand Union's warehouse stores--GU was gone from DC by 1990. They were bought by Foodarama of Baltimore which must have kept the name for awhile.
eltf177
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by eltf177 »

Thanks for the info. But never heard of Foodarama either, looks like I have more research to do...
mjhale
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by mjhale »

eltf177 wrote: 03 Sep 2021 16:01 I found a 1990 WASHINGTON POST article about the top 10 grocers in the DC area (Giant and Safeway were #'s 1 and 2; surprise surprise!). Number 9 was Basics (3 stores) while Number 10 was Dayton/Mitchell Thriftways (also 3 stores). I've never heard of either.

There's a post here that says Basics was what of left of Grand Union after it left the area, but I know nothing about them either. And I think Thriftways was more a distributor than a wholesaler from what I've run across.

Does anyone know more about these stores - their locations and when they ceased operations? Thanks in advance.
Could you post a link to the article? I'd like to see who was in spots 3-8. Shoppers and Magruders would be in there but I'm curious who else.

Here is an article about the Thriftways you speak of. Apparently they got caught up in a coupon fraud scheme. The article lists the locations of their three stores: Piney Branch in Silver Spring, Laurel and Upper Marlboro. I suspected that an independent like this would be in the older, established, closer to DC suburbs as opposed to the fast growing (then and now) further out suburbs in MD and VA where Giant and Safeway were concentrating the bulk of their 1990s construction. I'm thinking that Thriftway took over old groceries that either left town or relocated to larger stores.
BillyGr
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by BillyGr »

eltf177 wrote: 03 Sep 2021 19:39 Thanks for the info. But never heard of Foodarama either, looks like I have more research to do...
http://www.fdrama.com/ - This has history on that chain (and when first opening it mentions buying Basics).
eltf177
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by eltf177 »

Here's the link to the article:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/ ... dcd6483a5/

And thanks for the Thriftway article, that was "interesting" to say the least. Is there any followup as to what happened in court?
BatteryMill
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by BatteryMill »

Did Basics ever operate in Woodbridge, VA in the shopping center that was demolished for Lowe's (late 80s-early 90s build)? Looks to have been a grocery-sized building there, and there were two Shoppers in town at the time.
eltf177
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by eltf177 »

Here's a 2019 article on Grocery Store sales in Loudoun County:

https://www.insidenova.com/news/loudoun ... ce6ac.html

Since this article was written Lidl opened a second store in Ashburn while Aldi opened a second store in Leesburg.
Steve Landry
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by Steve Landry »

As mentioned above regarding Grand Union's Basics format................it was also during the explosion of Generic products in grocery stores and warehouse stores.

White labels with sans serif fonts saying Genric or other non descript verbiage.
The Food Fair Empire
mjhale
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by mjhale »

eltf177 wrote: 04 Sep 2021 06:44 Here's a 2019 article on Grocery Store sales in Loudoun County:

https://www.insidenova.com/news/loudoun ... ce6ac.html

Since this article was written Lidl opened a second store in Ashburn while Aldi opened a second store in Leesburg.
It is commendable that even with all of Giant's ups and downs after the Ahold buyout that they are still at the top of the heap (even though they are statistically tied with Harris Teeter) when it comes to the grocery rankings in fast growing and affluent Loudoun County. I'd be curious if the rankings are similar elsewhere in the DC area. Certainly Giant has the most stores. But if your product and service are bad, having the most stores still doesn't matter. Looking back to the 1990 rankings when Giant had almost 50 percent of the market share, they are down a lot. My guess is that loss is to Wegmans, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter primarily. Still, Giant soldiers on. I hope that with Ahold bringing Giant's management back to the DC area instead of being run out of Stop and Shop in Quincy, MA that Giant can continue on as the local traditional grocery store in the DC area.
mjhale
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by mjhale »

eltf177 wrote: 03 Sep 2021 20:43 Here's the link to the article:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/ ... dcd6483a5/

And thanks for the Thriftway article, that was "interesting" to say the least. Is there any followup as to what happened in court?
Thanks for posting the link. It is interesting to see what has transpired over the past 31 years. The big influence has been much more grocery competition in the DC area at all price points. Still, the big three of Giant, Safeway and Shoppers are still here though with reduced market share, and Shoppers with drastically reduced store counts too. The independents for all intents and purposes are gone. Even the Asian markets have become essentially Lotte and H Mart for the big guys. Super Fresh and A&P were gone from DC long before their final demise. Weis exists on the periphery with their own stores and the Food Lions they purchased. Magruders is gone too. It will be interesting to see what things in the DC area are like in 5, 10 or 20 more years in terms of grocery. How much influence will new competitors like Amazon Fresh and Lidl have on the market? Will the big three still be around? Even with new ownership at Giant (Ahold) and Safeway (Albertsons) they haven't imploded like so many other major grocery chains in big metro areas after a buyout. Time will only tell, as they say.
BatteryMill
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by BatteryMill »

mjhale wrote: 06 Sep 2021 15:47
eltf177 wrote: 04 Sep 2021 06:44 Here's a 2019 article on Grocery Store sales in Loudoun County:

https://www.insidenova.com/news/loudoun ... ce6ac.html

Since this article was written Lidl opened a second store in Ashburn while Aldi opened a second store in Leesburg.
It is commendable that even with all of Giant's ups and downs after the Ahold buyout that they are still at the top of the heap (even though they are statistically tied with Harris Teeter) when it comes to the grocery rankings in fast growing and affluent Loudoun County. I'd be curious if the rankings are similar elsewhere in the DC area. Certainly Giant has the most stores. But if your product and service are bad, having the most stores still doesn't matter. Looking back to the 1990 rankings when Giant had almost 50 percent of the market share, they are down a lot. My guess is that loss is to Wegmans, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter primarily. Still, Giant soldiers on. I hope that with Ahold bringing Giant's management back to the DC area instead of being run out of Stop and Shop in Quincy, MA that Giant can continue on as the local traditional grocery store in the DC area.
Harris Teeter beat the others to a lot of sites in Loudoun and the other budding developments near Washington, therefore they have attained such a high market share in said county.

Now I do wonder what exactly was the state of Giant's HQ since the Ahold buyout. Although some sources point to Giant-MD having moved in with Giant-PA in Carlisle, I could have sworn there were still executives that were with the chain until MD operations were consolidated with Stop & Shop's in 2004.
mjhale wrote: 06 Sep 2021 15:57 Thanks for posting the link. It is interesting to see what has transpired over the past 31 years. The big influence has been much more grocery competition in the DC area at all price points. Still, the big three of Giant, Safeway and Shoppers are still here though with reduced market share, and Shoppers with drastically reduced store counts too. The independents for all intents and purposes are gone. Even the Asian markets have become essentially Lotte and H Mart for the big guys. Super Fresh and A&P were gone from DC long before their final demise. Weis exists on the periphery with their own stores and the Food Lions they purchased. Magruders is gone too. It will be interesting to see what things in the DC area are like in 5, 10 or 20 more years in terms of grocery. How much influence will new competitors like Amazon Fresh and Lidl have on the market? Will the big three still be around? Even with new ownership at Giant (Ahold) and Safeway (Albertsons) they haven't imploded like so many other major grocery chains in big metro areas after a buyout. Time will only tell, as they say.
What are some examples of local grocers crumbling after being bought out by conglomerates?
rich
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Re: A Little Help?

Post by rich »

Crumbling chains?

Colonial and Grand Union crumbled under the ownership of Sir James Goldmith's empire
Pathmark, Food Mart, Kohl's and Farmer Jack withered as part of A&P
Dominicks & Genuardi's under Safeway

I'm sure there are lots of others.

As for DC.......it's is an odd market in that Safeway and Giant dominated it so completely for decades, yet there were always small competitors that stuck around for long periods of time, despite often underperforming. Acme was around from the 20s to the early 80s but never had a large footprint. Food Fair/Pantry Pride wasn't around as long but also never had a large footprint. A&P was very undersized compared with other areas during the super market era and was not much of a factor. Grand Union managed a distant third for a couple decades but never truly emerged as a major competitor to the big two. In some ways, Shoppers emerged as a new distant third. Kroger and Shop-Rite were two interlopers who didn't stay long.

Niche players have emerged everywhere and in the DC area some have done well--Wegman's, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Aldi (which has done it very quietly) and Harris-Teeter. Food Lion went for fringe areas but also oddly entered markets like Rockville. Giant seems to be in resurgence while Safeway seems to be in a holding pattern.
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