More change comes to Long Island related to grocery chains. King Kullen, an iconic supermarket chain on Long Island in business since 1930, is being bought by regional competitor Stop & Shop.
Originally included in the acquisition deal were the remaining thirty two King Kullen stores, as well as five Wild by Nature natural food stores, and the corporate office in Bethpage, NY.
As of January 2020, there are now twenty nine remaining King Kullen stores. The under performing Mount Sinai location closed its doors on Thursday, June 20th, 2019. Two more King Kullen stores, Lake Ronkonkoma and North Babylon, were also confirmed closed in late September of last year.
King Kullen spokesman, Lloyd Singer said, “These stores were under performing and the decision was made to close rather than renew the leases that were coming due.”
The near 200 employees will be reassigned to new jobs at other King Kullen stores.
The acquisition was expected to close by the end of 2019 according to Stop & Shop officials, but as of January 2020 Stop & Shop did not buy King Kullen as of yet. There is no public update as to when the transaction will close.
The current transaction is one of the many restructuring of the Long Island grocery business within recent months.
In November 2018, German grocery giant Lidl announced the buy-out of Best Markets. Lidl is now remodeling its Best Markets’ stores, and expected to be complete this year. Lidl has already opened a few locations on Long Island at the end of 2019.
About the King Kullen Supermarket Chain
In a release, Brian Cullen, co-president of King Kullen, stated that “In 1930, Michael J. Cullen opened the first King Kullen and ushered in the era of the great American supermarket.” and referred to the family-owned business as “part of the fabric of this island for 88 years.”
In 1980 the supermarket chain reached a high point of fifty three stores, of which 31 were in Suffolk County, and in 1995 the first Wild by Nature store opened in a former King Kullen location in East Setauket.
The chain’s latest news before the deal to sell was in 2004 when the supermarket launched “Grown on Long Island” a program that featured produce from local Long Island Farms.
The Cullen family remained control of the chain throughout its history taking the company public in 1961 but bought it back in 1983.
The Smithsonian Institute acknowledges King Kullen as America’s first supermarket, as it was the first to fulfill all five criteria that define the modern supermarket: separate departments, self-service, discount pricing, chain marketing, and volume dealing.
This current deal is King Kullen’s second with Stop & Shop. In 2011, King Kullen sold its three Staten Island stores to Stop & Shop, as the chain completed its withdrawal from the New York City market.
About The Stop & Shop Grocery Store Chain
Stop & Shop president Mark McGowan stated in a release that they “look forward to bringing our quality, selection, and value to more communities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.”
However, the grocery store chain has not made any decisions on the conversion of the thirty seven stores total and has stated that they are still evaluating those stores and making decisions.
Stop & Shop, founded in 1914, is a Massachusetts based regional chain with stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont and with more than $3 billion in annual sales.
The first Stop & Shop arrived on Long Island in 1995. Today there are roughly 75 Stop & Shop locations across Long Island.
This is not Stop & Shop’s first Long Island supermarket acquisition. In 2015, Stop & Shop acquired nine A&P locations consisting of three Pathmark and six Waldbaum’s stores.
Stop & Shop has invested $133 million to makeover 21 stores in Suffolk County. The renovated stores re-opened to the public in September 2019.
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