Thriftway vs. Shop 'n Bag

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Ephrata1966
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Posts: 550
Joined: 29 Nov 2008 13:45

Thriftway vs. Shop 'n Bag

Post by Ephrata1966 »

What is the difference between these two chains? Do the two have different franchise opportunities? Who bought who?
werememberretail
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Re: Thriftway vs. Shop 'n Bag

Post by werememberretail »

Ephrata1966 wrote:What is the difference between these two chains? Do the two have different franchise opportunities? Who bought who?
Ephrata1966 wrote:What is the difference between these two chains? Do the two have different franchise opportunities? Who bought who?
No there is no elemental difference between the two. however the two brands were once (far larger) separate organizations.
Thriftway Foods started out as the Willam Montgomery company, a wholesaler in King of Prussia. it coined the named Thriftway for its independent liscensed/frachised stores. It used the name "Montco" (MONTgomery COmpany) as its private label brand. the company AFAIK never operated or owned any stores itself but eventually began supplying many non Thriftway branded stores like Pickwell stores , Genuardi's and Clemens in the Philly Suburbs and Ciotti's markets (until the 70s) in Reading In 1965 the former Fleming Company (later Fleming Companies) bought the company by then renamed Thriftway Foods. however the Thriftway Chain did not grow signifigantly until the end of the 1970s "price wars" in Philadelphia it was during that time that Penn Fruit and A&P began closing and selling many stores, Thriftways began opening in some of these former stores, however Thriftway did not rapidly grow until the 1979 exodus of Food Fair stores from Philadelphia and the continued downsizing of A&P from 1980 to 1982. many ex A&P and Food Fair managers took over stores and joined Thriftway. In 1979 there were 35 Thriftways, many small mom and pop units by 1982 the chain had 65 stores most of the newest stores were ex-chain stores. in 1979 Thriftway introduced the current logo. during the 1980s Thriftway continued growing, adding newly built stores-with service departments like bakeries expanded delicatessens and prepared foods-in upscale neighborhoods, in some cases predating the big chains with such ammenities by a decade. It also picked up a handful of pitched roof Acmes in the mid 1980s as the latter began upgrading its store base. ultimately Thriftway had grown to a chain nearly 90 stores strong, however a strike by workers at the Oaks PA warehouse resulted in many defections from Thriftway and Fleming, Thriftway ultimately slimmed down to a 50 unit xhain by 1995 but has still a signifigant presence in the Philadelphia area. Shop n Bag grew from the Unity Frankford Grocery, a retailer owned cooperative wholesaler in North Philadelphia that served mainly small mom and pop corner stores, many under the Unity Frankford name (there is still at least one corner store in North Philly that has the Unity Frankford nameplate, though no longer affiliated to its successor) Unity-Frankford was known for its coffee which was marketed under brands like “Unity” and “Amazon” (much like A&P had 8 o clock and Bokar) U-F merged with another group called Quaker Grocery and became Frankford Quaker Grocery. In the 60s to better compete with Acme A&P and Food Fair many members old and new opened a new chain of large supermarkets named “Shop n’ Bag” they used a elf-type stockboy named Super Sam as a mascot . soon the new Shop n Bag chain grew to become a force in Philadelphia food retail and its members owned some of the highest volume grocery stores in the Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey areas. When Penn Fruit went bankrupt , numerous stores became Shop n Bags . Shop n Bag also took advantage of the misfortunes of A&P Food Fair and Grand Union as these chains shuttered stores, by 1982 Shop n Bag had about 70 units, but some high volume member/owners such as Stan Ravitz Leonard Brown and George Zallie were frustrated with the co-op as they wanted to build larger stores with more services that catered to upscale shoppers. And all of the aboved mentioned left F-Q to join Shoprite as a result the number of Shop n Bags shrunk to 40 by the mid 80s Fleming came calling and bought the co-op and ten years later merged it with Thriftway to save marketing costs, however as bigger chains began opening bigger stores with service departments once exclusive to the indy’s Thriftway Shop nBag began to experience heavy shrinkage as bigger stores defected and smaller stores closed , Ultimately this forced Fleming to shut the company’s Oaks PA warehouse more stores left the group (a number became Clemens , who switched to Richfood) Then Fleming went bankrupt and the group switched to White Rose for distribution Today in late 2010 less than 30 Thriftway and Shop n Bag stores COMBINED survive, some are state of the art upscale stores others are old dirty relics that survive only because of there being no competition . still a handful of former stores sit abandoned.
Ephrata1966
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Re: Thriftway vs. Shop 'n Bag

Post by Ephrata1966 »

I should know this by now, but did the old Philly chain stores actually close before becoming Thriftway? What Acmes are you referring to? I know about one on Lansdowne Ave and 61st as well as Lindbergh Blvd.

And another mystery has been solved. The Melrose/Cheltenham/North Philly? Penn Fruit was later a Shop 'n Bag before Save-a-Lot came in. And I have to assume the Wine & Spirits opened as "State Store" at the same time as Penn Fruit.

But why would Acme build a brand new store less than a mile away? They had access to a few of the "best" Penn Fruits. These I thought were preferred to their own store designs.
maynesG
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Joined: 22 Aug 2007 17:03
Location: DELAWARE

Re: Thriftway vs. Shop 'n Bag

Post by maynesG »

Hi, The simple answer is stores sites are sometimes purchased years in advance of a store
being opened. Plans, fees and other expenses have occured, contracts have been signed.
It becomes cheaper to go ahead then to abandon the project and purchase and an existing site.
Also, remember some of these stores had some mileage on them and were not energy efficent, were becoming expensive to maintain and needed to be renovated soon.
Besides this, why give a competitor a shot at building on a site that you have developed and abandoned
when it!s only a single store Thriftway or Shop&Bag owner that you had to deal with in
and old store with little cash to renovate or match your prices or promotions.
Gerry
MBZ321
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Re: Thriftway vs. Shop 'n Bag

Post by MBZ321 »

You can see the original Shop 'n Bag logo in this 1987 commercial:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12HN4llzxBY


And yes, as mentioned, there isn't much left of Thriftway and Shop 'n Bag (although currently, they have about the same number of stores as Genuardi's). There are some multi-store grocers far in the philly suburbs that are supplied by TW/Shop n Bag and follow the sales as the others, but have a hidden identity (though they are listed on the TW/SB website). Landis Supermarkets is one of them, with four stores in upper Bucks County. Very modern, having pharmacies, gas pumps, buffets, and other things the big chains have. A few stores in the city also use their own names instead of the TW/SB branding. Many of the other stores in the suburbs are in small towns with either no, or maybe one other grocery store. (Richboro Shop n' Bag is a smaller, old store that competes very well with a SuperFresh in the same town. This was one of the first stores in the area to install self-checkouts, so the owners are doing quite well.
maynesG
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Joined: 22 Aug 2007 17:03
Location: DELAWARE

Re: Thriftway vs. Shop 'n Bag

Post by maynesG »

Hi actualy Thriftway/Shop&Bag does not supply any one! They are a ad group that purchases
groceries from White Rose a distributor. They maintain and office in Bucks county and have a four person staff that worked for Fleming/ Frankford and headed up the Thfitway or Shop& Bag groups way back when.
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