EDWARDS TO OPEN LAST CONVERTED FOODTOWNS

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. -- Edwards Super Food Stores here is slated to open its last group of converted Melmarkets' Foodtowns in Long Island, N.Y., this week.Edwards, a subsidiary of Dutch-based Ahold, plans to open four stores, in Hewlett, East Rockaway, Oceanside and Massapequa, N.Y., on Wednesday, spokeswoman Tonya Lyon said. The chain has been reopening converted stores on a staggered schedule since

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. -- Edwards Super Food Stores here is slated to open its last group of converted Melmarkets' Foodtowns in Long Island, N.Y., this week.

Edwards, a subsidiary of Dutch-based Ahold, plans to open four stores, in Hewlett, East Rockaway, Oceanside and Massapequa, N.Y., on Wednesday, spokeswoman Tonya Lyon said. The chain has been reopening converted stores on a staggered schedule since the end of October, with weekly fliers announcing that the Foodtown locations have adopted the Edwards name.

As of last week, 11 Foodtowns have been reopened as Edwards units on Long Island, according to Lyon. With the Mel's units, Edwards will have a total of 23 locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Melmarkets, a Garden City, N.Y.-based chain, which was acquired by Stop & Shop Cos., Quincy, Mass., late last year, fell under the Edwards' umbrella when Ahold bought Stop & Shop this summer. In July, Ahold announced that the Melmarkets' Foodtowns would be converted to the Edwards banner.

The Island Park, N.Y., unit, though, was closed recently because there was no room for on-site expansion and a great deal of renovations would have been necessary to bring the store up to par, Lyon said.

The other sites, ranging from 24,000 to 65,000 square feet, have undergone extensive remodeling, including new interior paint jobs, new lighting and new signs plus technology upgrades and shelf resets. The larger units feature such departments as full-service seafood and floral sections, a scratch bakery, a hot foods area and a salad bar, Lyon noted.

The new Edwards stores will carry about 2,000 Finast and 250 Sensational private-label items, Lyon added. The Finast label is used by Ahold's Finast chain, based in Maple Heights, Ohio, while Sensational is Edwards' upscale label.