Food Basics USA
Food Basics logo, circa 2006
|Headquarters||Montvale, New Jersey, United States|
|Number of locations||10|
|Area served||Northeastern United States|
|Key people||Sam Martin (President & CEO)|
|Parent||The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company|
Food Basics carries major national brands, as well as A&P's portfolio of private labels, including America's Choice, A&P's flagship private label; the stores also include brands usually not carried by other A&P family stores.
The Food Basics concept began in 1995, in Canada, where it was launched by A&P's Canadian subsidiary. As of 2009, the two chains are no longer connected, as the Canadian Food Basics stores are now owned and operated by Metro Inc., which purchased A&P's Canadian stores.
Bringing Food Basics to America
In 2001, A&P brought the Food Basics concept to the U.S., changing its Passaic, New Jersey store from A&P to Food Basics. A&P was pleased with the results and within several months of opening the Passaic store, A&P decided to expand the Food Basics banner to Paterson, New Jersey, thus ceasing operations at a location that had been in the company for decades to convert the store into a Food Basics. Soon after A&P decided to concentrate their business plan on its newer and larger stores, giving them a reason to further expand the Food Basics chain.
A part of A&P's history
Some of the new Food Basics stores had been part of the A&P family for decades, including a Paterson store located at 465 Getty Avenue, with A&P's former Atlantic Regional headquarters also located on the property at 90 Delaware Avenue. A&P operated a store in the same building for years before building the store that now houses the Food Basics on the same lot. The Delaware Avenue headquarters building is now the location for Paterson's Board of Education.
The shopping bag policy
From its beginning, American Food Basics stores followed the same business plan as the Canadian stores; no in-store bakery or deli, some locations had no in-store butcher and customers were not given free plastic bags. In the latter case, customers were encouraged to bring their own bags, with a small discount for each bag used, or use cardboard boxes provided for free. A sturdier plastic bag than a typical supermarket shopping bag was available to customers for a small fee.
In the US, this was not a popular policy. Food Basics eventually stopped charging for shopping bags and started using the typical cheaply made plastic bags used by its competitors and its fellow A&P banner stores.
Food Basics today
For years, nearly all of Food Basics' locations in America were smaller A&P stores. More recently, A&P expanded the Food Basics concept to larger stores, including a former A&P Food Market in Fairview, New Jersey, a former Super Fresh Super Store in Northeast Philadelphia, a Pathmark Super Center in the Eastside neighborhood section of Paterson (the city's second Food Basics store) and an A&P Super Foodmart in Bridgeport, Connecticut; the latter closing in 2011 due to A&P's 2010 bankruptcy filing.
In nearly all cases, the converted Food Basics stores were able to retain elements of the old A&Ps they took over. For instance, the North Bergen and Paterson Eastside stores kept the pharmacy departments that their old stores had, while the other Paterson store retained the liquor license the old A&P had.
In 2006, A&P changed Food Basics, opening a prototype store in Glassboro, New Jersey. The newer format emphasizes low pricing (or best pricing), fresh produce, cut meats, and a bakery. New signage, colors, and wide aisles were among the changes in the Glassboro store. The Glassboro store was closed in early 2008, along with the Dumont, New Jersey store.