Big Y

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Big Y World Class Market
Type Private
Industry Grocery
Founded Chicopee, Massachusetts (1936) (as "Y Cash Market")
Headquarters Springfield, Massachusetts, United States of America
Number of locations 60
Key people Paul D'Amour, Gerald D'Amour, Founders
Donald D'Amour, Chief Executive Officer
Charles D'Amour, President/COO
Revenue Increase$1.22 Billion USD (2004)
Website bigy.com
The Big Y in Palmer, Massachusetts

Big Y Foods, Inc. (or Big Y) is an American supermarket chain. Big Y has stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts. It operates under the trade names "Big Y World Class Market" or "Big Y Supermarket."

In 1936, a young entrepreneur, Paul D'Amour, with aid from his brother Gerald and sisters Ann Marie, Yvette, and Gertrude, purchased the Y Cash Market in the Willimansett section of Chicopee, Massachusetts at an intersection where two roads converged at a "Y". On December 12, 1936, the brothers began Y Cash Market, the forerunner of Big Y. The company is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts. Big Y now is run by cousins Charles and Donald D'Amour.

Big Y is one of the largest independently-owned supermarket chains in New England, and employs over 8,500 people. Big Y is the 268th-largest private company in the United States, according to the 2005 Forbes Magazine "500 Largest Private Companies" list.[1]

Stores[edit]

As of December 2013, Big Y operates 59 supermarkets (29 located in Massachusetts and 30 located in Connecticut);[2] many of which are located in the metropolitan areas of Springfield, Worcester, and Hartford. In addition to its traditional supermarkets, Big Y owns and operates two specialty markets: Table & Vine, a large specialty liquor and wine store in West Springfield; and the Fresh Acres Market, a concept mixing an open-air-style farmers' market with upscale food choices, in Springfield. Big Y also operates two standalone pharmacies in Springfield and Wilbraham in addition to the pharmacies located in many of its stores.

Big Y's largest competitor is Stop & Shop, based out of Quincy, and to a lesser extent Big Y also competes with Boston-based Shaw's and Albany, New York's Price Chopper supermarkets. In Connecticut, Big Y is the second-largest supermarket chain by number of locations, with only Stop & Shop operating more Connecticut stores.

Some Big Ys offer free child care for customers, operating as the Little Y Kids' Club. Big Y also competes by offering "buy one, get two free" sales and special coins redeemable for discounts that change bi-monthly.

Unlike most supermarkets, whose sales run Sunday to Saturday, Big Y's sales week is Thursday to Wednesday, as most customers get paid on Thursdays.[citation needed]

In 2011, Big Y's 75th anniversary, plans included a gala and a sweepstakes for customers with a top prize of $75,000; the drawing was held at the Big E.

In 2012 after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Big Y's Newtown location put up four large green and white ribbons on the outside of the store and were also selling ribbons, shirts, and other items to show their support to those who were lost.

In 2013, Big Y announced they were partnering with fellow Springfield-based company, F.L. Roberts, to enter the convenience store and fuel station industry. The newly created convenience stores will be branded "Big Y Express." [3] The first of these new stores opened in the fall of 2013 in Lee, adjacent to Big Y's full-size supermarket.

Expansion[edit]

Big Y focuses primarily on opening stores to strengthen its existing footprint, though that footprint is expanding slowly. In 2010, Big Y announced that its new store plans included Lee, Franklin, and Milford, Massachusetts; according to its website, each town would have a store by 2012. The Lee store opened in November 2011, adding to Big Y's presence in the Berkshires; while the Franklin store opened in August 2012 and is the chain's newest location. The Franklin store is a sister location to Big Y's store in Walpole, which had previously been their only store in Greater Boston. During 2011 Big Y also announced a new store in Foxborough, but plans for that location were ultimately withdrawn. Plans to construct a store in Holyoke, MA (originally announced in 2011) were also withdrawn in September 2013. Two future store locations are in development for Simsbury, CT, and Old Saybrook, CT, both of which are expected to open in 2014.

In late 2010, Big Y purchased seven stores from A&P, which was leaving central Connecticut. Four of these (Branford, Mystic, Old Lyme, West Hartford) were re-opened as Big Y World Class Markets, bringing Big Y's Connecticut store count at the time to 28. Another Big Y opened in Meriden, Connecticut in August 2011.

Big Y has stores near the New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont borders, but expansion into these states has not yet been announced.

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