Stop & Shop
Stop & Shop logo, 2008–present
Headquarters building of Stop & Shop supermarket chain in Quincy Center
|Founded||1914Somerville, Massachusetts, United Statesin|
|Founder||The Rabinovitz/Rabb family|
|Headquarters||Quincy, Massachusetts, United States|
Number of locations
|Revenue||US$15.2 billion 3.25% (2015)|
Number of employees
Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, known as Stop & Shop, is a chain of supermarkets located in the northeastern United States. From its beginnings in 1892 as a small grocery store, it has grown to include 414 stores chain-wide.
Stop & Shop has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dutch supermarket operator Ahold since 1995 and was part of the Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover division with sister chain Giant-Landover between 2004 and 2011. Ahold announced on June 24, 2015 that it would merge with Brussels-based Delhaize Group, a Belgian grocery store conglomerate whose U.S. grocery operations included Hannaford of Scarborough, Maine and Food Lion of Salisbury, North Carolina. The merger was completed on July 24, 2016, with the new holding company being named Ahold Delhaize.
Stop & Shop's roots can be traced back to 1892, when Solomon and Jeanie Rabinovitz opened a grocery shop, called the "Greenie Store", at 134 Salem Street, in Boston's North End. This store lasted at this location until 1908. According to the company's web site, Stop & Shop was founded in 1914 in Somerville, Massachusetts by the Rabinowitz family as the Economy Grocery Stores Company. Four years later, the store adopted the new self-service supermarket model recently pioneered by Piggly Wiggly. A second store opened later in 1914, several stores a year opened and by 1917, the chain had 15 stores. Initially the stores sold only grocery items but soon after added meats, produce, milk, dairy, and some frozen foods. Like A & P, they were pioneers of the modern grocery store selling all types of food items under one roof. Stores were 10,000 to 15,000 square feet and in downtown and inner city areas in the Boston and Springfield metro areas. The chain had grown to 86 supermarkets by 1946, when the name was officially changed to Stop & Shop, Inc.
In 1959 Stop & Shop's 100th store opened in Natick, Mass. on 829 Worcester St. The corporate headquarters is located in Quincy, Mass., and the current distribution facility is located in Assonet, Mass. Until 2006 the firm also operated a large warehouse located off Interstate 91 in North Haven, Connecticut, while the company's original warehouse was in Readville, Mass.
Stop & Shop began the now-defunct department store chain Bradlees in 1961. By now the supermarkets were moving into suburban areas and in shopping plazas right outside of many towns in Massachusetts. Also Stop & Shop entered Rhode Island and Connecticut in the early 1950s, New York in the early '60s, and New Jersey in the late '60s. With Bradlees in the company, Stop & Shop began offering some non-food items in their supermarkets normally not found in a food store. In many areas Stop & Shop and Bradlees were next door to each other with the concept of one stop shopping. It also operated a chain of pharmacies named Medi-Mart, which were sold to Walgreens in the late 1980s, as well as Perkins Tobacco Stores in the 1960s and 1970s.
In 1980, Stop & Shop had supermarkets in New Jersey, New York state south of Kingston, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The stores were then typical in size at about 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) on average. Many were next door to their then-co-owned Bradlees Department stores. In the New York and Philadelphia metro areas, Stop & Shop was not able to compete successfully. In 1982, Stop & Shop exited New Jersey, selling most of the stores that were profitable to A&P, which would use these stores to replace their aging fleet of stores. A few stores were sold to Shop Rite owners as well as Foodtown owners. Other stores were closed and converted to other uses. In New York State, they sold some of their stores to A&P while selling others to Grand Union and closing others, converting them also to other uses.
In 1982, Stop & Shop built its first superstore in the Springfield, Massachusetts, area. Superstores were between 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) and 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2). In addition to traditional supermarket offerings, these stores feature bakeries, pharmacies, moderate selections of general merchandise one would not expect to find at a supermarket, expanded deli departments, cafes, and a salad bar. Also some of these stores would feature a bank, expanded liquor and beer, video rentals, etc. Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, the traditional supermarkets were converted one by one into superstores. Some were remodeled, others were torn down and a new store rebuilt in the same location, while others were closed and replaced with a super store within a mile or two or in another part of the shopping center they were located in. By 1990, Stop & Shop operated in the Connecticut, Rhode Island, Boston, and Springfield, Mass. areas, with one store in New York state located in Poughkeepsie (which would be closed and replaced in the same shopping center in 1994 and then joined in 1995 with a superstore nearby in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.). The Bradlees chain, which also had stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, was sold in 1992, and was liquidated after two bankruptcies in 2001.
In the late 1980s, The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company was acquired by leveraged buyout specialists Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Shortly thereafter, Medi-Mart was sold to Walgreens, and Bradlees was spun off as its own corporation. After a period of several years in which KKR explored merger possibilities with Safeway (which it also controlled at the time), Stop & Shop was sold at public offering. Stop & Shop operates more than 390 stores throughout the three southern New England states, as well as in downstate New York and northern New Jersey.
The chain was acquired by the American branch of Dutch food giant Ahold in 1995. Ahold had previously acquired First National Supermarkets, whose Edwards Super Food Stores and Finast chains also had a strong presence in Connecticut, and Ahold planned to operate both the Edwards and Stop & Shop chains side by side. However, in the wake of the acquisition, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal raised anti-trust questions, as Stop & Shop and Edwards combined had more than half of the grocery market share in Connecticut. Following negotiations with Blumenthal, Ahold decided to convert all of its New England stores to the Stop & Shop banner, while selling some locations to other chains such as Shaw's, Shop Rite, and Grand Union. Ahold also began building a few stores under the Edwards Super Food Stores banner in New York state and New Jersey. They also acquired 26 independent Mayfair Foodtown stores in that area, converting them to Edwards. From 1998 to 1999, several Super Stop & Shop stores were built in the northern Hudson Valley near the Poughkeepsie location.
In 1999, Ahold announced its plan to acquire Pathmark supermarkets. Under that deal all the Edwards stores would be renamed Pathmark along with the Giant Stores of both Carlisle and Landover. Late in 2000, after Grand Union was about to enter Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidate (the same time by coincidence that their former co-owned Bradlees chain was liquidating), Ahold walked away from the Pathmark deal and proposed acquiring many of the Grand Union locations instead.
At that point, Ahold continued the transition of its Edwards stores, converting all of its New York and New Jersey locations to the Stop & Shop format late in 2000. In 2001, Ahold acquired most of the Grand Union locations in New Jersey and New York state south of Kingston. These were all renamed Stop & Shop. Other locations went to other supermarket chains, non food chains, or closed altogether. In 2003, Ahold acquired many of the A&P Foodmart locations in the Hartford, Connecticut area, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and the one remaining New Hampshire store. Other A&P locations in that region closed or were sold to other supermarket chains. In 2004, Ahold integrated Stop & Shop Supermarkets with Giant Food LLC and created one combined company with the name of Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover.
In 1994, Giant-Landover began northern expansion by opening stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey under the Super G trade name. This was done to differentiate itself from future sister company Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. During 2005, the newly formed Stop & Shop/Giant made the decision to phase out the Super G name in New Jersey and Delaware. In New Jersey, four Super G stores were shuttered and the remaining eight stores were converted to the Super Stop & Shop banner and became a part of Stop & Shop's New York Sales Division in an attempt to revive sales at the stores. These stores continued to underperform and were subsequently sold in 2007 to ShopRite franchise owners. The Delaware Super G stores were to be remodeled under the Super Stop & Shop format and reopened under the Super Giant banner. Super G stores in Pennsylvania were generally close to Giant-Carlisle locations and were converted to Giant of Carlisle stores but continued to be unionized unlike most of the other Carlisle bannered stores.
In 2006, Stop & Shop signed a contract with Starbucks, placing the coffee shop chain's licensed stores inside certain supermarkets. Many Stop & Shop stores currently feature Dunkin' Donuts outlets inside the store. Also in May 2006, Stop & Shop began piloting the Shopping Buddy program in select stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Shopping Buddy is a personal shopping assistant that allows customers to track their purchases and to do in-cart bagging as they move through the store.
In October 2007, Stop & Shop launched an advertising campaign which was intended to have users submit stories and videos to a website detailing their grocery store experiences. The campaign was significant in that it is an early example of a regional traditional brand employing Web 2.0 concepts such as user-generated content to promote their stores.
On August 22, 2008, Stop & Shop changed its logo as a re-branding project along with its sister company, Giant-Landover.
In August 2009, Stop & Shop announced closures and re-brandings for a large portion of the licensed Starbucks stores opened in 2006.
In 2007, Stop & Shop made an attempt to expand further into northern New England. They built, but did not operate, a single Vermont store in Rutland before selling it to rival supermarket operator Delhaize. Delhaize opened the store under its Hannaford banner in February 2008.
In July 2007, Stop & Shop opened a single Maine store in Kennebunk. The store was closed in October 2009, citing slow sales as the primary reason. At the same time, they abandoned plans to build a second Maine store in Portland. Delhaize purchased the vacant Kennebunk location in December 2009 and later reopened the property under the Hannaford banner.
Currently (as of late 2013), Stop & Shop operates stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island in particular have a very strong Stop & Shop base – almost to the point of saturating the market – and Stop & Shop is far beyond their competitors in number of stores operated in those three states.
All six of the remaining New Hampshire stores closed in August 2013 due to heavy competition, marking the chain's final departure from northern New England. A few Connecticut stores, in Bridgeport, Hamden, and Orange, also closed during the two subsequent years.
In July 2015, Stop & Shop announced the intentions to purchase 25 stores from A&P (which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier that month), including A&P's most profitable location in Mt. Kisco, New York, and convert all of the purchased stores to the Stop & Shop banner by the end of November 2015. On September 22, 2015, the sale of 25 A&P stores to Stop & Shop and 70 A&P stores to competitor Acme Markets was approved by a judge in federal bankruptcy court. Most of the stores purchased by Stop & Shop and Acme had been operating under the Pathmark or Waldbaum's banners (A&P had acquired Waldbaum's in 1986 and had bought Pathmark in 2007). As of March 2018, Stop & Shop operated 411 stores throughout the three southern New England states, as well as in downstate New York and northern New Jersey.
In October of 2018, Stop & Shop supermarkets began renovations at many of their Hartford, CT regional stores and began adding new features to these stores including cafes, in-store meat smokers, smoothie bars and taqueria stations. A new version of the old logo was also implemented at these stores which will serve as a test market for the entire chain..
2007 contract negotiations and complications
On February 17, 2007, the collective bargaining agreements between Stop & Shop management and its employees expired after three years. In an attempt to maintain their current health care benefits, union workers threatened to strike. It was understood that no strike would occur until at least Thursday, February 22, 2007. If a new contract was not signed by then, workers could begin the walkout as early as Friday, February 23, 2007. Stop & Shop wanted employees to share the cost of healthcare, but union workers believed Stop & Shop should pay it in full.
Workers were paying co-payments for office visits and medical procedures, as well as deductibles of $300 for health care costs and $2,500 for hospital costs. The grocery chain wanted to implement weekly contributions of between $5 and $21 on top of the co-payments. These fees would increase over the course of the three-year contract.
At midnight on February 23, 2007, grocery workers at the Stop & Shop supermarket chain in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts had voted overwhelmingly to reject a contract proposal and to authorize a strike against the grocery chain. The contracts for United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459 expired on February 17 and was extended to cover until February 22, but the union and the grocery chain agreed to extend the deadline two more days, to midnight of Saturday, February 24, 2007.
Officials with Stop & Shop and the United Food and Commercial Workers continued negotiating through Friday, March 2, 2007, extending the contract until 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 3, 2007, given that talks were scheduled to continue through Friday. Both sides extended the negotiations, which resumed Monday, February 26, 2007.
On Saturday, March 3, 2007, the five unions involved gave the company a very complicated and comprehensive contract proposal that covered every aspect of their five agreements and identified what they believed to be a fair and equitable contract for everyone. On Wednesday, March 7, 2007, the five locals representing workers in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts scheduled voting on a new contract for Sunday, extending the strike deadline to Monday, March 12, 2007. The locals delivered a comprehensive contract to Stop & Shop negotiators Saturday and the two sides took a break from bargaining to allow the company to go over the proposal. Approximately 43,000 unionized Stop & Shop workers in three states could have either had a new contract that Sunday or begun walking picket lines, possibly that Monday, according to union officials.
The contentious stop-and-go negotiations between Stop & Shop and its five unions came to a conclusion with a three-year contract overwhelmingly ratified by union members across New England, and a strike was averted. All full-time workers received an increase of $25 per week retroactive to February 17, when the previous contract expired; then another $20 weekly increase in March 2008 and March 2009, the second and third years of the contract. Part-timers received an immediate 35¢-an-hour increase, also retroactive, and 35¢ yet again in years two and three of the contract. On the issue of health care, full-time workers who are single must now contribute $5 per week toward their health insurance premiums; married workers with spouse must pay $10, and a worker with a family $15. Part-time workers will make no contributions toward health care premiums, retaining the current practice which covers union workers' health insurance entirely except for co-payments and deductibles.
On January 15, 2010, Mark McGowan and Ron Onorato sent a letter to employees notifying them that negotiations had begun with five UFCW Local Unions (Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, 1459, and 1500). On March 7, 2010, Stop and Shop and the five UFCW Local Unions agreed to a new three-year contract.
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