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Finast was a retail supermarket brand that existed in the northeastern United States until consolidating all its Northeast stores under the Edwards Super Food Store brand by its Dutch parent Royal Ahold in the mid-1990s. Finast was an acronym for First National Stores. Commonly referred to as "The First National," the chain operated under that name for decades, and ultimately created the Finast acronym for its store-brand products. Several years later, most of its stores were renamed Finast during a modernization effort.
Finast was based in Somerville, Massachusetts. When the chain was purchased by Pick-N-Pay Supermarkets of Ohio in 1978, headquarters for the New England region were moved to the Windsor Locks, Connecticut distribution center while corporate headquarters were moved to Maple Heights, Ohio. Ahold purchased Finast in 1988, marking their entry into the U.S. market. Ahold completed converting the last Pick-N-Pay locations to Finast in 1994.
The stores not absorbed into Edwards, mostly in the Cleveland, Ohio area, retained the Finast name through the 1990s. After purchasing Stop & Shop in the 1990s, Ahold was forced to sell many of the Edwards locations, which initiated a restructuring of all its chains. The remaining Midwest Finast stores were rebadged as Tops Friendly Markets, its Buffalo, New York-based unit. Ahold continued to use Finast on its private-label products in its grocery chains, including Giant-Carlisle, after retiring the Finast banner, phasing out Finast in favor of products matching each chain's name. Today there are no longer any active Finast markets in operation in the U.S. market, with most either being rebranded or closed.
The First National chain is referred to in H.P. Lovecraft's classic 1936 novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth, as Lovecraft mentions that a local branch in that chain is one the few connections Innsmouth has with the outside world.
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