KROGER PICKS UP BIG BEAR CHARITY

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As a result of the fallout from Penn Traffic's bankruptcy, Kroger's Great Lakes Division is taking over a breast cancer charity from Big Bear Stores and is hoping to gain some former Big Bear customers in the process.The division said late last month it will donate $5 for each Big Bear loyalty card that is turned into a Kroger location in its Columbus market to the Stefanie Spielman

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As a result of the fallout from Penn Traffic's bankruptcy, Kroger's Great Lakes Division is taking over a breast cancer charity from Big Bear Stores and is hoping to gain some former Big Bear customers in the process.

The division said late last month it will donate $5 for each Big Bear loyalty card that is turned into a Kroger location in its Columbus market to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. Big Bear was a founding partner of the fund.

Kroger's Great Lakes Division decided to continue Big Bear's efforts in the wake of its store closures to continue the work of the foundation and reach out to Big Bear's customers, said Gary Huddleston, director of administration for the division.

"First, we saw that this foundation does a lot of great work in regard to breast cancer research and prevention. We wanted to continue that work. We made the decision to approach Stefanie, and she was excited to continue the legacy. And second, we wanted to invite the Big Bear consumers into our stores and thought this was a great way to do that."

The stores hope to attract customers to Kroger's Plus loyalty card in the same effort, he added. The initiative includes 45 Kroger stores in the Columbus area. Big Bear, a 67-store division of Penn Traffic, filed for bankruptcy in May 2003. Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, acquired seven Big Bear stores and Kroger bought one.