As everyone knows the Superfresh store on West College Avenue in Salisbury will close at the end of the month. As of yesterday they were offering 10 to 40% off which in some cases still isn't cheaper than Walmart. Like most retired people I tend to shop around to different stores because I have the time to do so. For me, Superfresh was always good for decent priced wine, beer and seafood. Nothing fancy in wine, vin ordinaire, and with my budget my wine purchases are sliding down from even vin ordinaire every day. As of yesterday they were marking their wine and beer down by 20% so I picked up a couple of bottles. If you live outside of Maryland keep in mind the limitations for bringing alcohol back into your state. The West College location seems to attract the elderly from the Prince Street Homes section of town and the student population.
Now Superfresh is the last part of the The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co empire in this area. Back when I was in high school I worked at an A&P as a bagger/stocker at in Berlin. It paid well because it was a union operation. I was under the impression the Superfresh stores were not union but I really don't know.
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. operates under the SuperFresh brand, as well as A&P, Pathmark, Waulbaum’s and others. When it filed for bankruptcy court protection in December. At that time, it listed more than $3 billion in debt and $2 billion in assets. A&P is 40 percent controlled by German investors thru The Tengelamnn Company. Maybe President Obama will talk to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the Salisbury store.
The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company goes back to 1859, when George Huntington Hartford and his partner, George Gilman, experimented with the idea of selling loose tea for 30 cents a pound out of their storefront on Vesey Street in Manhattan. Their food stores would all be known for their flaming red façades with cupolas and red roosters on their roofs.
By the 1860's, the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company had stores in the Northeast and was selling tea, coffee and spices and became the first American super market. By the 1950's the A&P ruled the self- service supermarket business with over 5,500 stores. The decline of A&P has given college marketing teachers all kind of fodder over the years for theories on why A&P were going downhill. I remember one argument was A&P invested too heavily into private labeling for their stores. At one time they had numerous processing plants for their private labels. Mainly however I think the grocery industry is very competitive and things like increased shoplifting, credit card abuse, increasing prices due not only to gasoline/transportation costs but also government printing money with nothing to back it, has put the price of all consumer inventory items at an all time high.
The employees at Superfresh seem to have been there a long time and I hope they get a decent deal out of this closing but no matter what way you look at it they will probably be unemployed. A banner of “Store Closing—All Most Go", means more is going than just inventory.
So what would kind of grocery store would be nice to replace Superfresh? Maybe Harris Teeter or Trader's Joes or Wegman's or Bloom maybe all of them are too upscale for this poor ass area but college kids seem to have money to spend so maybe it will be one of those stores or it may just sit empty.