Food 4 Less
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|Products||Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor, bulk foods|
|Website||food4less.com foodsco.net [myfood4less.com]|
Food 4 Less is a national warehouse store grocery chain, currently owned by Kroger. It is a no-frills grocery store where the customers bag their own groceries at the checkout. Kroger operates Food 4 Less stores in California, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska and Nevada. In markets that Kroger does not have the rights to the Food 4 Less name, it operates as Foods Company.
There are other stores scattered throughout the United States with the Food 4 Less name, part of franchise agreements with various wholesalers, including Unified Western Grocers and Associated Wholesale Grocers Midwest. These stores have particular penetration in Oregon and central and northern California. The Food 4 Less name was previously used by Fleming Companies, Inc., but as Fleming exited various regions and ultimately collapsed, the rights to the name went to wholesalers who picked up some of Fleming's former customers.
The Food-4-Less name and logo was originally conceived in the 1930s by Lou Falley, who developed a chain of stores both in the Food-4-Less name (with the warehouse/no frills format) and the Falley's name. The Falley's stores were full service supermarkets, while the Food-4-Less stores were warehouse stores, where labor costs were cut by having the groceries stocked to the shelves in the original cases, rather than stacking individual items. These stores were located throughout eastern Kansas and parts of northwestern Missouri. Over the years, the number of Falley's store diminished, and were replaced with Food-4-Less stores. Falley's also franchised Food 4 Less in states where it did not operate.
Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Companies acquired Falley's in 1987. In a period of consolidation for the grocery industry, Food 4 Less merged into Ralphs; Fred Meyer acquired Ralphs in 1997, and was acquired by Kroger a year later.
In 1998, Fred Myer sold Falley's and the Midwest Food 4 Less to Associated Wholesale Grocers of Kansas City. The warehouse type stores were slowly phased out in favor of full service Food-4-Less stores with a new logo and format.
In January 2006, the AWG-owned Falley's and Food-4-Less stores located in Kansas were combined with sister company Homeland Stores, based in Edmond, Oklahoma. The company changed the names of the Food-4-Less stores, which it can't use beyond Kansas and Missouri, to AWG brands such as Price Chopper.
The company uses the Foods Company name in Northern California, where Kroger is bound by an agreement between Falley's and grocer Nugget Markets, Inc.. All Food 4 Less stores in Northern California are managed and operated by Nugget. Kroger does not have any administrative control over the three Nugget Food 4 Less stores.
Nugget Food 4 Less is limited by its agreement with Fleming in its ability to advertise in circulars. Kroger Food 4 Less circulars will feature individual products on sale whereas Nugget Food 4 Less circulars only promote sales events and customer testimony. Ad Prices from the Kroger Food 4 Less chain will not be honored.
The Nugget Food 4 Less stores also feature a different selection of products than Kroger Food 4 Less stores due to Nugget's pooling of resources from its upscale Nugget Market stores. Marketing and administration of the Nugget Food 4 Less stores is handled through the Nugget Market Corporate Office in Woodland, California, and any requests for other Food 4 Less stores will be deferred to the Kroger Corporate Office in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is unclear whether Nugget Markets and Kroger will continue the Fleming relationship when the franchise agreement expires.
Fleming was another franchisee of the Food 4 Less name. In early 2003, Fleming filed for bankruptcy, causing the company to place all Fleming owned Food 4 Less stores up for bids to other national grocers. Three stores in Utah were purchased by Albertsons, who retained two stores. The two stores kept the Food 4 Less name until January 2005, when the names changed to the Albertsons owned Super Saver name. Another store in Pinole, [Northern] California (Pinole Vista Shopping Center) was either rebranded as a Foods Company or was bought by Foods Company, a subsidiary of the same company.
In Oregon, only one former Fleming store remains, in Salem which is part of the Mega Foods local chain of four stores. An independently run former Fleming store in Portland was closed in January 2013.
1998 PAQ Inc. opens Food 4 Less in Weston Ranch located in Stockton, California. 1999 PAQ Inc. opens the Hammer Lane Food 4 Less location in North Stockton bringing the total Food 4 Less stores in Stockton to four. 2000 Food 4 Less opens in Manteca, California 2002 The City of Los Banos welcomes Food 4 Less to their city 2003 PAQ Inc. opens Food 4 Less in Salinas, California 2004 May 5 – PAQ Inc. introduces and opens their newest concept, Rancho San Miguel Market, to the Stockton area.July 21 – Rancho San Miguel Market opened in Lodi, California 2005 Food 4 Less opens in Ceres, California 2006 PAQ Inc. acquires the Souza Group Food 4 Less stores in Paso Robles, Atascadero and San Luis Obispo, becoming the leading grocery store in the Independent Warehouse Grocers Association of Northern California (IWGANC) with a total of 14 stores. 2007 May- PAQ Inc. continues to grow and opened a Rancho San Miguel Market in Merced, California 2008 October 15- Rancho San Miguel Market Madera, California opens its doors 2012 April 18- Rancho San Miguel Market Ceres, California opens its doors June 30- Rancho San Miguel Market Greenfield, California opens its doors
- Official website (Kroger)
- Official website (Nugget)
- Official website (Central CA)
- Official website (Salem, Oregon)
- Profile at Hoovers.com
- Official website (San Luis Obispo County)