Price Chopper Supermarkets

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Golub Corporation
Price Chopper Supermarkets
Private
IndustryRetail
Founded1932 (Schenectady, New York; as "Central Market")
1973 (as Price Chopper)
FounderBen Golub
Bill Golub
HeadquartersSchenectady, New York, U.S.
Number of locations
132
Key people
Neil Golub Chairman, Scott Grimmett President & CEO
ProductsBakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, floral, general grocery, meat, pharmacy, sushi, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor
RevenueSteady US$3.4 billion (2013)
Steady $18.30 million (2013)
Number of employees
24,000
Websitewww.pricechopper.com

Golub Corporation is an American supermarket operator. Headquartered in Schenectady, New York, it owns the chains Market 32 and Price Chopper Supermarkets. The company opened its first supermarkets in New York's Capital District in 1932, and changed its name from Central Market to Price Chopper in 1973. On June 2, 2010, Price Chopper dedicated its new headquarters, on Nott Street, in Downtown Schenectady. It operates 132 stores in Upstate New York, New England and Pennsylvania.

History[edit]

1920s to 1980s: Early Years[edit]

In 1927, William Golub and his brother, Bernard, took over the wholesale grocery that their father, Lewis Golub, had opened in 1908 after emigrating from Russia. In 1932, Joseph E. Grosberg, together with Russian Jewish immigrants Bernard and William Golub, partners in the Grosberg-Golub Corporation,[1] opened the partnership's first supermarket (initially called Public Service Market) in Green Island, New York, followed by stores in Watervliet and Schenectady. They gave all three stores the name Central Market.

The concept was a success and they continued to open many more stores in the region.[2] In 1943, the Golub brothers bought out Joseph Grosberg's share of the company and formed the present parent company, the Golub Corporation. In 1951, it was one of the first grocery chains in the country to issue the well-known S&H Green Trading Stamps.[3]

In the fall of 1973, Central Market changed its operating strategy. The chain dropped Green Stamps, slashed prices, and to reflect this new strategy, it re-branded to the name "Price Chopper." (The name "Central Market" is now used as an upscale house brand, as well as for the floral department.) Price Chopper experienced continuing growth throughout the 1970s, opening new stores and upgrading old ones.

1980s–1990s: Store modernization and expansion[edit]

Price Chopper was an early innovator in the conversion of conventional stores to superstores and combination (food and drug) units, as well as operating stores that are open 24 hours a day. The first Price Chopper opened in the late 1970s in Oneonta, New York.[4] Another opened in the early 1980s in Latham, New York, and then an even larger unit was constructed in Queensbury, New York, in 1986. The Super Centers, which were state of the art by 1980s standards, often featured full-service meat, seafood, and bakery departments, as well as pharmacies and banks (features new to supermarkets at the time). These units were also known for their unconventional layouts with aisles facing horizontally, or away from the cash registers, rather than the traditional vertical arrangement with the aisles facing the cash register area. Few Price Chopper stores still retain this layout today. In the late 1980s Price Chopper changed its corporate logo featuring an axe cutting into a coin.

In 1993, Price Chopper launched an updated version of the Super Center format with a South Hills Mall store in Poughkeepsie. (This store closed on July 15, 2006 and was converted into a ShopRite.) This was Price Chopper's first store in the Mid-Hudson Valley market. The updated concept had a greater emphasis on take-out and ready-to-eat meals, some featuring food courts with Price Chopper's own in-house branded concepts, including Roasters (rotisserie chicken; no relation to Kenny Rogers Roasters), Bella Roma (pizza), Coyote Joe's (tacos and burritos), and the Bagel Factory. Under the newer prototype, the aisles were also placed back in the traditional vertical arrangement at the request of many customers who found the former layout confusing.

1990s–2000s: Expansion into New England[edit]

Prior to 1990, Price Chopper was barely a player in the New England states, with only about a half dozen outlets in Massachusetts and Vermont. The chain acquired the now-defunct Giant Value supermarkets during the late 1970s, which accounted for most of the New England locations at the time. However, beginning in the early 1990s, the chain began an aggressive expansion eastward into the New England region, primarily focusing on further growth in Vermont and Massachusetts. Today the chain operates about 40 stores throughout four of the New England states.

In 1990, Price Chopper acquired many stores in Vermont from Syracuse-based P&C Food Markets, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was requiring to sell off several stores because of its parent company's decision to increase its ownership stake in Grand Union. Throughout the 1990s, Price Chopper made an attempt to either modernize, expand, or construct replacement stores for many of the acquired P&C locations. Today, Price Chopper has a presence in most of Vermont's larger cities and towns.

In 1995, Price Chopper acquired the Wonder Market Companies' twelve Big D stores in the Worcester, Massachusetts area, rebranding them or replacing them with Price Chopper stores. In 2012, Price Chopper expanded its presence in this region by opening two new stores, in Hopkinton and Gardner. In addition to its store base in Central Massachusetts, Price Chopper also has three stores in the Berkshires, but there are no stores in the greater Springfield area or other towns in the Pioneer Valley, despite being located between these two regions.

In 1999, Price Chopper opened its first New Hampshire store in West Lebanon, and in 2006, its second location, a 74,000-square-foot (6,900 m2) Market Center—in Keene. A third location, in Lebanon in a former P&C Foods store, opened in 2009. Price Chopper opened its fourth New Hampshire store, also a former P&C Foods, in Lincoln in May 2010, expanding its footprint to the White Mountains.

In the 2010s, Price Chopper also expanded rapidly into Connecticut, primarily in the Hartford suburbs, where it now operates ten stores. During the grand opening of Windsor, Connecticut store #221, Price Chopper raised the most money in company history for its non-profit organization. In 2010, Price Chopper opened a store in Middletown. Another location opened in Storrs, near the main campus of UConn, on June 6, 2014.

In 2002, Price Chopper exited the convenience store business by leasing out its remaining convenience locations to Petroleum Marketing, a Getty operator. Price Chopper had attempted to enter the convenience store business during the 1980s by opening smaller stores, mostly with gas pumps but sometimes without to utilize older smaller storefronts where a larger store was not possible. They operated under the "Mini Chopper" trade name, still using the logo of an axe cutting into a coin. But they were largely unsuccessful.

In June 2009, Price Chopper established a three-year partnership with Sunoco for the company's "Fuel Advantage" program, where customers earned 10 cents off every gallon of gas for every 100 dollars spent on groceries. (It was formerly 50 dollars until the first renewal in 2012.) The partnership was renewed in May 2012 for another three years, and again in 2015.

2009–present: Growing greener, Market Bistro, and Market 32[edit]

With the opening of its newest store located in Colonie Plaza in Colonie, New York, on June 2, 2009, Price Chopper has made investments to incorporate various green and energy-saving initiatives throughout the store. Green features include a 400 kW United Technologies Corp. natural gas fuel cell which provides a significant amount of power (60% as quoted by Price Chopper) for the store. Abundant skylighting and an addressable lighting control system from Encelium Technologies allow the store to dim its lighting when enough daylight is present. Occupancy sensors cover nearly the entire layout of the store including all offices, backrooms, and loading docks. It ensures the lights are automatically switched off or significantly dimmed when vacant for a certain period of time. Even aisle ways and other areas of the main sales floor are dimmed unless that aisle or section is occupied.[5]

In March 2014, after over 15 months of renovations, Price Chopper completed its remodel of its 25-year-old Latham, New York store and rebranded the store as Market Bistro, including an expanded food court featuring hamburgers, a Ben & Bill's sandwich counter, stone-fired pizza, an ice cream shop, Chef's Grill, as well as an expanded 24-hour drive-through pharmacy, an on-site clinic, and a cooking school.

On November 11, 2014, CEO Jerry Golub, along with Executive Chairman of the Board Neil Golub and the company's COO Scott Grimmett, announced that the chain would be changing its name to Market 32, a nod to the year of the company's founding (1932) by brothers Ben and Bill Golub. Jerry Golub stated that the name change reflects Price Chopper's continuing advancements, and reflects that the company is more of an upscale grocer and less of a discount retailer as the name Price Chopper suggests.[4] Changes to branding, product labels, loyalty cards, company uniforms, as well as store modernizations, are to be rolled out over the coming years at a cost of more than $300 million. More than half of the company's 135 stores will be remodeled and rebranded. The entire process may take up to 9 years. At least one-third of the $300 million is to be invested in stores in the New York Capital Region.[6]

On June 17, 2015, Price Chopper announced that it would be phasing out the sale of tobacco products in all 135 of its Price Chopper and Market 32 stores, joining competitors Shoprite, Wegmans, and CVS/pharmacy.[7]

Locations[edit]

Price Chopper operates 132 stores in Upstate New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Its locations are all serviced from the same warehouse in Rotterdam, New York. Price Chopper's primary market is still the Capital District of New York, where about one-third of its store base is located. Other major markets for Price Chopper include Utica, Syracuse, Binghamton, and the Mid-Hudson Valley in New York, as well as Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Hartford, Connecticut; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Burlington, Vermont. Price Chopper primarily competes with Hannaford, Shaw's, and Stop & Shop in the eastern portion of its trading area, while facing competition from Wegmans, and Tops Markets (under change from Penn Traffic storefronts) in the west, and ShopRite and Stop & Shop in the south.

Price Chopper store in Syracuse, NY which has since been remodeled

On November 7, 2006, the company announced that Price Chopper was considering the purchase of the Buffalo, New York based Tops Supermarket chain from Ahold USA or a significant amount of its stores.[8] This never happened, although in 2010, Price Chopper instead purchased six stores from Tops that once had been P&C Foods.[9]

The former Waterbury, Connecticut location closed in June 2008 and the location was purchased by rival chain ShopRite. This marked a step back for the Price Chopper chain in a highly competitive area where another chain grocery store, Shaw's of Waterbury, also closed in September 2007 as part of that chain's exit from the state. All of Price Chopper's remaining stores in Connecticut have so far been successful despite being a relatively new name to the region.

Slogans[edit]

  • "You know you're doing better." (1980s)
  • "We're not just in your neighborhood, we're your neighbor." (1985; 2010)
  • "We Do More" (1980s; early 2000s)
  • "Sharing more than a store." (1980s–1990s)
  • "For people who love food." (1997–2000)
  • "For people who love food... and savings!" (2000–2001)
  • "We Know Meat!" (2000–present)
  • "For people who love food... and low prices!" (2002)
  • "Not cooking tonight... we're grilling tonight!" Summer House of BBQ campaign (2007–2015)
  • "Best in Fresh and Low Prices" (2007–2015)
  • "That's Price Chopper value."
  • "Price Chopper fresher ways to save."

Ownership[edit]

Currently, 100% of all voting common shares of The Golub Corporation are controlled by a select few members of the Golub family. Golub is one of the leading employers in the Capital District of New York. Former CEO and current Chairman Neil Golub is a well-known philanthropist in the region. Price Chopper's charitable arm, the Golub Foundation, sponsors many special events such as the Empire State Plaza's annual Independence Day celebration in Albany, New York.

Brands and campaigns[edit]

Price Chopper has four private label brands: PICS by Price Chopper (main brand being phased in, replacing Price Chopper brand), Price Chopper (main brand used on most food products, being phased out with the transition to Market 32), Price Chopper Naturals (some organic products, being phased out), and Central Market Classics (upscale brand, used on higher-end foods and currently phased out). Other brands are sourced from Topco Associates, including TopCare (health and beauty products), Full Circle (natural and organic products), Valu Time (value-priced brand, often made using cheaper ingredients), and Simply Done (paper products, cleaning products, storage solutions, etc.)

From 2007 to 2015, the company had used a summer campaign to promote its fresh meats and produce, known simply as "Price Chopper House of BBQ." Accompanying this campaign, the company used the slogan "not cooking tonight... we’re grilling tonight" in jingles. The campaign mainly featured jazz musician Melvin Sparks until his death in 2011. For 2016, the House of BBQ was dropped from advertising in favor of a new campaign called "Summertime: Savor Every Moment."

Ben and Bill's[edit]

In late 2005, renovations on the eight-year-old Slingerlands store (#159) began. Plans for the renovation included the opening of a New York-style sandwich shop named "Ben and Bill's" after the founders of the company. The Sandwich Shop sells a variety of pre-packaged products, such as typical New York City pastries, along with sandwiches and deli items. It stands next to the store's regular deli and is themed to look like a traditional New York City delicatessen. The sandwich shop was a success at the Slingerlands store and has since been rolled out to four other locations. The second Ben and Bill's opened in July 2008 in the Saratoga Springs (#158) store, a third location opened in September 2009 in Burlington, Vermont's (#165) store. In March 2014, a fourth location opened in Price Chopper's flagship store, the newly remodeled and rebranded Market Bistro (#138) store in Latham, New York.


References[edit]

  1. ^ The Grosberg-Golub company was originally created in 1930 by the merger of the separate Lewis Golub and Joseph E. Grosberg companies, and was first known as the GG Grocery Corporation. "Golub Grosberg firm to be known as GG Grocery Co.", Schenectady Gazette, February 13, 1930.
  2. ^ "Price Chopper Continues to Market Itself", Albany Times-Union, March 5, 2000  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  3. ^ Alan Wechsler, "A Family Affair; As Price Chopper turns 75, the Golub clan celebrates four generations of success." Albany Times-Union, November 11, 2007  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  4. ^ a b "Page not found".[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ See the Times Union article on the Colonie Price Chopper going for LEED Gold certification: [1][permanent dead link]
  6. ^ O'Brien, Tim (11 November 2014). "New name, new look for icon:Price Chopper will be Market 32 in $300M effort". Albany Times-Union.
  7. ^ O'Brien, Tim (17 July 2015). "Market 32 stores won't sell tobacco in line with focus on health, nutrition, Golub Corp. says". Albany Times-Union.
  8. ^ "Price Chopper shows interest in Tops". Buffalo Business First. 7 November 2006.
  9. ^ http://www.twcnews.com/cny-news-1013-content/497903/price-chopper-to-buy-six-former-p-c-stores[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]