Fisher Foods

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Fisher Foods, Inc.
Industry Retail
Fate Acquired by Giant Eagle
Successor(s) Giant Eagle
Founded 1907 (Cleveland, Ohio)
Founder(s) Manning and Charles Fisher
Defunct 1997
Headquarters Cleveland, Ohio
Area served Ohio, Illinois, California
Products supermarkets/food-drug stores
Subsidiaries Fazio's, Dominick's, Fazio's Shopping Bag

Fisher Foods, and later known as Fazio's, was an American supermarket chain.

History[edit]

Beginning[edit]

Fisher Foods, Cleveland’s largest supermarket chain for its 80-year history, was founded in 1907 as Fisher Brothers Company. The Fisher Brothers, Manning and Charles, were natives of Jersey City, New Jersey, and got their start in the grocery business in New York City in the waning years of the 19th century, when Manning worked for James Butler, a grocer who owned 150 stores in the city. The brothers were eager to start their own chain, and set out for Cleveland and opened their first store there at 4623 Lorain Avenue.

Post-war era[edit]

Fisher Foods was not doing well following the post-war era. By the mid-1960s, the 75-store chain was losing money on $86 million in annual sales, and held only 12 percent of the Cleveland market it had once dominated. In 1965, a group of investors that included two sets of brothers, Carl and John Fazio and Sam and Frank Costa, purchased a controlling interest in Fisher Foods for an estimated $3.1 million. The investors were all involved in the Stop-N-Shop Super Markets Association. The purchase merged Fisher Foods with the other investors' namesake chains, the Fazio's and Costa supermarkets.

Expansion[edit]

In 1968, Fisher Foods made its first acquisition outside the Ohio market, with the purchase of Chicago's Dominick's, an 18-store chain with locations throughout the city and near the suburbs. Dominick's was still a family-owned business with a good reputation. Dominick’s was still a relatively small chain compared to Chicago market leader Jewel Tea, other competitors National Tea and A&P, but that would change in the coming years as Dominick’s would grow tremendously under Fisher Foods, eventually making it to the number-two spot in the market. Dominick DiMatteo, Jr., company president and son of Dominick’s founder, would be named a vice president of Fisher Foods.

Fisher Foods also acquired the Kanter's chain in Cincinnati, Ohio

Fisher Foods entered the fast food business in 1969, when it acquired a stake in Columbus, Ohio-based National Fast Food Corporation, owners of the Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips chain. As part of the agreement, Fisher Foods took over territory rights for Arthur Treacher’s in the Cleveland and Chicago markets, totaling at the time over 100 restaurants. One more company Fisher Foods took over during the late sixties was Clabers, a seven-store chain of department stores in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

The company expanded into the Southern California market in 1972 with the purchase of Shopping Bag, which was itself the combination of a chain that Vons had to divest due to an antitrust ruling in the Supreme Court and the Southern California A&P operation. Following the merger, the stores were rebranded Fazio's Shopping Bag. These stores were later sold to Albertsons, which bought 46 Fazio's stores in 1978 from Fisher Foods. Albertsons already operated 47 stores in Southern California, mainly in Orange County.

In the 1980s, the DiMatteo family became unhappy with the agreement and bought back the Dominick's chain for $100 million.[1]

Downfall[edit]

By the 1990s, Fisher Foods found itself into financial problems, and renamed itself Riser Foods. In 1997, Riser Foods was absorbed into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Giant Eagle for $403 million.[2]

Chains[edit]

Sources[edit]

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