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Fairway chairman Demme dies

Veteran turnaround artist led Bruno’s, Homeland, Shaw’s, Penn Traffic

James A. “Jim” Demme, a veteran supermarket executive and the chairman of Fairway Markets, passed away suddenly over the weekend of a heart attack, sources said. (Photo courtesy of Carol Fatta)

Demme, 76, was well regarded for his expertise in turnarounds, having previously served in senior leadership roles with troubled companies like Penn Traffic Co., Bruno’s Supermarkets and Homeland Supermarkets. He also served senior leadership roles with Shaw’s, A&P and Kings Super Markets over a career lasting more than 50 years.

“We lost a legendary leader in Jim,” Burt P. Flickinger III, managing partner with Strategic Resource Group, said.

Services are being planned for Sept. 2 in Sarasota, Fla., where he lived.

Demme is known for guiding Bruno’s and Homeland through successful reorganizations and for his progress with Fairway, which he had chaired since its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Demme spent 20 years at A&P serving a variety of roles including store manager and district manager. He was president and COO at Shaw’s Supermarkets from 1988 to 1991. He was EVP of retail operations at Scrivner Co. from 1991 to 1994, and served as CEO and chairman at Homeland Stores 1994 to 1997.

He became president and CEO of Bruno’s in 1997 and later sold that company to Ahold in 2001. He joined Penn Traffic in 2003.

Demme was a senior advisor at Angelo, Gordon Acquisition Corp., and in 2006 partnered with the firm to acquire Kings Super Markets from Marks & Spencer and set that chain on a rebranding initiative.

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