MACON, Ga. -- Southern Family Markets is converting about 12 Foodmax stores in this market back to the Piggly Wiggly banner after purchasing them from Bi-Lo/Bruno's.
Frank Curci, senior vice president, retail, and chief operating officer, Southern Family Markets, Birmingham, Ala., told SN that customers in the area were familiar with the Piggly Wiggly name -- Bruno's had operated them as Piggly Wiggly franchises until 1997, when it converted them to Foodmax.
"Piggly Wiggly had good name recognition [there]," he said, adding that Southern Family, which is part of Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, "wanted to let people know there were new owners."
Southern Family had acquired the stores earlier this year from Bi-Lo Holdings, Mauldin, S.C., as part of a group of 104 Bruno's and Bi-Lo locations. C&S had taken over distribution to the entire Bi-Lo and Bruno's chains following their sale to Dallas-based Lone Star Funds by Ahold, Zaandam, Netherlands.
Most of the remaining stores that Southern Family acquired are being changed to the Southern Family Markets banner, Curci said. As of last week, 59 of the stores had yet to be reopened.
Plans call for the Piggly Wiggly stores to be staffed with more employees to boost customer service and focus on store-made products and prepared meals.
"These will be our signature products," Curci said. "We want to be the hometown grocer."
C&S acquired the Piggly Wiggly name in the South through its acquisition in 2003 of the assets of Fleming Cos., Dallas.