Purity Supreme

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Purity Supreme, Inc. was a corporation involved in the operation of supermarkets and other stores. From 1984 it was a division of Supermarkets General Holdings Corporation.[1] It operated from a headquarters located in North Billerica, Massachusetts. At its height, the company operated 64 supermarkets in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut. They also operated 63 owned and franchised Li'l Peach convenience stores and 23 drugstores in Massachusetts. They also ran the successful Heartland Foods warehouse style supermarket chain. In 1984 at the time of the buyout by Supermarkets General, Purity, had an annual sales of $800 million with 28 supermarkets, 13 warehouse stores and 23 drugstores. Purity Supreme and Li'l Peach had combined sales of about US$1.3 billion in 1990 before the company was bought out again by Freeman Spogli & Co., an investment firm for about US$300 million, including the acquisition of debt.[2]

In 1995, Purity Supreme was acquired by competitor Stop & Shop, agreeing with regulators to sell 15 stores to address antitrust concerns. Stop & Shop continued to operate 56 stores under the Purity Supreme name until 1997 when it renovated and converted all but three of them into Stop & Shop stores. The three remaining Purity Supreme stores were closed.[3][4]

Purity Supreme was led for most of its existence by Leo Kahn who started Purity Sav-Mor Markets with some of its first stores in Billerica, Chelmsford and Bedford. In 1968, Kahn bought out the Supreme Market chain of Boston and thus Purity Supreme was born. Some well known people worked for Purity Supreme over the years including early store managers Jack Murphy and Bruce "Barney" Bernard. Michael Mahoney, Director of Public Relations for Purity Supreme and one of the creators of "Supermarket Singles Nights" which became an International supermarket sensation and was featured in People Magazine—started as a bagger and was promoted to a Directorship in four years at the Purity Supreme. Mahoney was named one of Boston's Most Eligible Bachelors in 1986 and was featured in a bachelor book later that year.

Kahn was very health conscious. Starting in his sixties, he became an avid jogger. Leo Kahn died on May 11, 2011, at the age of 94.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Purity Supreme". The New York Times. Reuters. July 7, 1984. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  2. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Freeman to Buy Purity Supreme". The New York Times. July 31, 1991. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  3. ^ "ORDER REOPENING AND MODIFYING ORDER" (PDF). Federal Trade Commission. January 6, 1997. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  4. ^ Chris Reidy (July 19, 1997). "Purity Supreme Name About to Disappear From The Scene". The Boston Globe.
  5. ^ Marquard, Bryan (2011-05-12). "Leo Kahn, co-founder of Staples, dies at 94". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-05-22.
  6. ^ Shapiro, T. Rees (2011-05-14). "Leo Kahn, entrepreneur who helped found Staples office-supply business, dies at 94". Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-05-22.