FoodLand

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Foodland store in West Virginia.

"FoodLand" is the name of a regional American supermarket chain based in New Stanton, Pennsylvania. The stores' "F" logo are a registered trademark of Minnesota-based SuperValu stores, which serves as the chain's main wholesale distributor.

Company background[edit]

The Foodland store chain consists of 68 conventional supermarkets in the Eastern United States, including 30 throughout West Virginia, 1 in southwestern Virginia, 20 in the Pittsburgh area of western Pennsylvania, 5 in eastern Kentucky, 5 in southeastern Ohio, and 3 in the panhandle of western Maryland. For much of the 2000s, their slogan was "Close to Home"; it has currently transitioned into "When You're Hungry for Dinner."

The FoodLand Supermarket concept is unique in that the square footage of each store varies and is based on the size of the community each store serves. Internally within the chain, stores are classified as "A" (smaller/medium volume) and "AA" (larger/high volume). However, the classification is based on sales volume of each store so some smaller stores that are high volume are "AA" and some larger stores with lower sales volume can be grouped in "A" As the size of the store is reflective of each community's needs, store size ranges from 12,000 to 60,000 square feet.

The Foodland ad circular is distributed on a weekly basis. It is typically eight pages and is printed on magazine quality paper. Advertising is planned by store owners/managers in a weekly meeting and is split into two groups, Milton, West Virginia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At some of the meetings, both groups are connected via satellite and share sales plans, ideas and concepts. The group concept is unique to other store groups in the United States.

Foodland Express[edit]

In an effort to increase the store count and to expand into more rural communities within its trade area, a smaller store concept was rolled out in 2001 named Foodland Express. FoodLand Express stores are "superettes" (ranging from 8,000 to 12,000 in square feet). A more limited merchandise selection is carried than what can be found in a standard FoodLand store. They can be found in smaller rural communities or inner city locales that serve a very limited trade area. A shopper can find everything she needs at Foodland Express, but assortments are restricted to the best-selling brands in the best-selling sizes along with a full S.K.U. count of FoodLand's "family" of value-priced private-label products. Unlike the limited grocery department, the fresh meat department carries a much larger selection similar to what is carried in the standard FoodLand store concept. Combined deli/bakery departments are usually included in most Foodland Express stores. Originally, this concept used a four-page ad instead of the standard eight-page ad that has been used for many years by FoodLand. The Foodland Express ad was originally smaller in size so that the stores didn't have to carry as many items as a standard Foodland store kept in stock. As the small store concept has developed, it now uses the standard eight-page circular.

The Foodland Express concept uses a decor package that is similar to what can be found in a larger FoodLand outlet. Base colors are a slight variation and incorporate a black-and-white checkered racing flag design to emphasize the "get in and out quickly" nature of the Foodland Express concept.

Foodland Fresh[edit]

In 1996, another store concept was introduced as Foodland Fresh. At the time of its introduction, the Foodland Fresh concept garnered national attention in the supermarket industry as it focused on the perishable departments which continues to be the mass marketer's biggest weakness. Considered innovative at the time, it took the standard conventional supermarket layout and enlarged the perishable departments with upscale lighting and increased merchandise offerings. The Westmoreland Foodland Fresh, located in the west end of Huntington, West Virginia, was the first to be upgraded to this concept and served as its early prototype store. Within a year, many Foodland stores (mostly larger locations) were remodeled and converted to the fresh concept. At more than 50,000 square feet, the Bigley Avenue Foodland in Charleston, West Virginia was the first ground up Foodland Fresh store and was built that same year. After completion, it was the largest independently owned supermarket east of the Mississippi River. Foodland Fresh is more upscale in design and appearance than most conventional supermarkets. Interior decor was designed and installed by Paris Signs of Huntington, WV. By 1999, most Foodland stores had been converted to the Foodland Fresh concept. Outlets that were not large enough to support the fresh concept were remodeled to a similar but noticeably scaled down appearance so that all stores shared a united theme, with the larger Foodland Fresh stores being the upgraded version of the standard Foodland Store.

Foodland Plus[edit]

The Foodland Plus concept was developed in early 1989 by then Foodland distributor/owner Wetterau Incorporated. The ever increasing need for larger stores brought this concept into action as a way for larger Foodland stores to differentiate from the smaller stores. This concept was unique as it was envisioned as a smaller version of the "hypermart" concept similar to today's Wal Mart Supercenters. It featured extensive general merchandise along with the typical Foodland variety of name brand, private label, and value priced food items. This concept was rather short-lived as Wetterau sold its holdings to Supervalu in 1992, just as the Foodland Plus concept was taking off. Some former Wetterau customers use the Foodland Plus banner to this day but are no longer affiliated with the FoodLand chain supported by Supervalu. Since they were FoodLand stores prior to the Supervalu acquisition, they are allowed to use the name only for the pre-existing FoodLand stores. If they wish to open new FoodLand stores, they must use the FoodLand Plus banner as it is not owned by Supervalu and is considered an abandoned trademark.

Fuel Links[edit]

West Kittanning and Ford City, Pennsylvania stores were the original Metrosplash/Fuellinks test sites for their previous gas program which was changed to the Fueland Rollback Rewards program. A few of the larger sized FoodLand stores feature Fuel Centers. Most have a Delicatessan and Bakery along with the traditional grocery store departments. Most Foodland stores use Fujitsu TeamPos systems running StoreNext Scanmaster POS software.

Every Foodland location is locally owned and operated, with inventory support from SuperValu. To compete with other grocery chains such as Giant Eagle and Shop 'n Save, FoodLand has partnered with Fueland gas stations/convenience stores in the greater Pittsburgh area. All FueLand locations are located just outside the grocery store.

To further meet the needs of its customers, Foodland offers an internet shopping service for hard to find food products through its website. Customers can order these items direct and have them delivered to their door. These are items typically stocked only in specialty food retail stores and are hard to locate in general. Many of these items are stocked in the FoodLand stores also. Store managers are instructed to do their best to locate customer requests, using the buying power of SuperValu, who has access to hundreds of manufacturers. If the item is unavailable, a suitable brand is suggested to the customer that is available to the stores.

The "FoodLand" name[edit]

The name "Foodland," being fairly generic in nature and apparently not a registered trademark, appears as all or part of the name of countless unaffiliated grocery stores throughout the United States, as well as in Australia, Canada, Iceland and Thailand [1] The Foodland logo used by stores in the eastern, US is a registered trademark of SuperValu. The name "FoodLand" was used in the 1993 film What's Eating Gilbert Grape, as the fictional "Lamson's Grocery" store's rival.

FoodLand stores with the same logo featuring the distinctive F can be found throughout the US and Canada in various regions. These stores were once affiliated with FoodLand International Corporation, Inc. along with many stores in the chain now based in New Stanton, PA. Foodland International was a group of independent grocers and wholesalers similar to IGA, who unified their efforts in an attempt to compete with the larger chain stores at the time. It was incorporated in 1958 by Davis Wholesale Grocery Company. However the FoodLand name was first used by the Foodland Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio in 1938. Davis acquired the franchise concept of FoodLand by acquisition of another wholesale company that had copyrighted the name and had operated as FoodLand, Inc., and was the direct predecessor to Foodland International. Original FoodLand trademarks were registered by that organization prior to 1958. These trademarks were then acquired by Foodland International mainly for the continued procurement of private labels merchandise. Foodland private labeled branding, allowed independent stores and retailers a useful tool to compete with the larger chains of the time and experienced high growth levels during the 1960s and 1970s. This was primarily the focus of the organization in its early years. The unique aspect of this organization was that its executive arm was composed of actual FoodLand store owners and all decisions pertaining to advertising etc. were made by them. As time went on, the organization grew to include more members and more functions such as television advertising, public affairs, store development, and many other functions. These operations were then advised by Davis Grocery Co. and its later owners, as it was the preferred store franchise used by that wholesale company to attract new retail customers. Davis was later purchased by John Fox of the Fox Grocery Company who then operated using FoodLand International in the same manner as Davis had done in the past. Wetterau Inc., a St. Louis, Missouri based wholesale grocery company purchased Fox in 1984 and continued to support Foodland International as its wholesaler and parent company. Wetterau became a part of SuperValu, Inc. in 1992. By that time, all distribution of Foodland products were limited to retail stores supported by SuperValu. All necessary copyrights for Foodland and the distribution of its products were then transferred to Supervalu at that time

A retailer's convention was held annually in various locales around the world, in such places as Rome, Italy(1972) and Honolulu, Hawaii(1979) (The latter being the home of an unrelated Foodland chain), but included the principals of that chain for the activities at this convention. By the late 1980s the larger alliance had faded, basically due to the retirement of key members, coupled with many wholesalers selling out to larger operators. Many of these stores remain, still operated as FoodLand but supplied by various wholesalers. On August 11, 1992, Wetterau, Inc. registered the current trademark with the distinctive F in a new style of lettering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That was the official end of the any ties or additional claims of name usage by the Foodland International Corporation. Shortly afterwards, Wetterau was merged into SUPERVALU HOLDINGS who now owns trademark rights to that design of the FoodLand logo. Any location not currently affiliated with SUPERVALU that still uses the same FoodLand banner was in operation prior to SUPERVALU/Wetterau's registration of the trademark and therefore retain the rights to use the same FoodLand logo.

The only known "group" or chain of FoodLand stores is the one based in New Stanton, PA and distributed by SuperValu. These stores were previously supplied by Wetterau, another wholesale company which was acquired by SuperValu in late 1992. SuperValu has made a concerned effort to revitalize the Foodland name, and their marketing strategy does quite well in the communities they serve, usually the number one or two in market share. Part of this effort included ads placed along the walls of the rink at the Civic Arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins during their Stanley Cup championship years in the early 1990s.

Stores with no affiliation to SuperValu are not considered a part of any chain and are remnants of past affiliations with Wetterau/other wholesalers distributing the Foodland private labels. The Foodland label was once found in these stores prior to 1992, but are now only distributed by SuperValu. Many of these stores exist in the Southern United States.

Ray Stevens, a longtime music recording artist used Benson's Foodland Supermarket, located in Hermitage, just outside Nashville, TN. for the setting of his video for "The Streak", which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1974. In the video, which was actually taped several years after the song's release, Foodland private label merchandise can be seen on the shelves in the background. Benson's Foodland is still in operation as a Foodland outlet at this time though not a part of the Supervalu Foodland store chain.

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