Spartan Stores Inc. Template:NASDAQ is an American food distributor and grocery store chain headquartered in Byron Center, Michigan. The company distributes national and Spartan brand products to over 330 independent grocery stores in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
The chain was founded in 1917 as the Grand Rapids Wholesale Grocery Company. The present name has been used since 1957. For most of its history, Spartan was a cooperative. Spartan changed to "for profit" in the 1970s and was first traded on the NASDAQ in August 2000.
Expansion Into RetailEdit
Spartan's retail operations started as independent grocery chains. However, in 1999, it bought the Family Fare, Great Day, Glen's, Ashcraft's, Olson's, and Prevo's supermarket chains from their respective owners. To simplify advertising, the brands were consolidated into two: Family Fare in the south and Glen's in the north. Each being the majority in their respective region.
Family Fare and Glen's now use the same advertising package: "Closer. Faster. Friendlier. You're in the (store name) neighborhood."
In 2000, Spartan Stores merged with the Seaway Food Town company whose operations included 47 Food Town Supermarkets and 26 The Pharm deep-discount drugstores. After the merger, the Food Town stores operated under their own banners, but heavy competition in areas where Food Town and The Pharm operated meant lower margins, and these stores proved to be a drag on the merged company's resources. Between 2000 and 2003, the company closed or sold eight Food Town Supermarkets and five The Pharm drugstores. In 2003, with an unmanageable debt load, Spartan Stores announced that they were selling or closing all the 39 remaining Food Town stores and restructuring the company.
In December 2005, Spartan Stores announced plans to purchase D&W Food Centers. The transaction officially became complete at the end of March 2006. Ten of the twenty stores purchased retained the D&W banner, six others were converted to the Family Fare banner, and the remaining four; Northtown, Norton Shores, Walker, and Zeeland were closed permanently.
In 2006, the company acquired through liquidation, five defunct Carter's Foods the fates of which have not been determined. Felpausch of Hastings, Michigan was acquired in 2007. The company has since renovated one former store, in Williamston, Michigan, to the D&W Fresh Market banner and several others to the Family Fare banner. The future banners of the remaining Felpausch stores remains unannounced.
In April 2008, Spartan announced that "certain assets" from 12 of the 14 remaining Pharm stores will be sold to Rite Aid. The remaining two stores will be sold in separate transactions. At this point, it is unclear which stores will remain open or if the name will be changed. The sale will be finalized in late May 2008.
In October of 2008, it was announced that Spartan would be purchasing the VGs Grocery and Pharmacy stores in Michigan.
- Family Fare Supermarkets: 29 stores (19 Pharmacies and 6 Quick Stops) in Michigan, company purchased in March 1999.
- Glen's Markets: 34 stores (13 Pharmacies and 3 Quick Stops) in Northern Michigan, company purchased in May 1999.
- D&W Food Centers: 11 stores (10 Pharmacies and 2 Quick Stops) in Michigan, company purchase announced in December 2005 and completed in March 2006.
- Felpausch Food Centers: 16 stores (8 Pharmacies 2 Fuel Centers, and 2 XpressMarts) in Southwest Michigan, purchased in early 2007.
- According to Forbes.com, Spartan Stores has entered talks with VG's Food Centers Inc. of Fenton, MI into a purchasing agreement to be finalized by 2009. This aquisition will add 17 stores and 15 pharmacies to the Spartan Family, and increase Spartans profit by $310 million per year.
Former Store BrandsEdit
- Food Town: 45 Supermarkets in Ohio and Southeast Michigan acquired, along with 14 The Pharm drugstores from the Seaway Foodtown company of Maumee, Ohio in August 2000. These stores were originally operated under their acquired name, but in 2003, Spartan Stores announced that they were selling or closing all the Foodtown stores and dropping the Foodtown name from their roster of brands. Seventeen of the stores were sold to the Kroger Copmany; nine to independent operators and 13 were closed.
- The Pharm: Thirteen stores (pharmacies) in Ohio, and one store (pharmacy), in Southeast Michigan 26 The Pharm stores were owned and operated by Seaway Foodtown at the time of the Seaway Food Town/Spartan merger. Over the years, many stores closed and the last 14 were sold in 2008: 12 stores to Rite-Aid; and 2 stores to independent operators.