Skip navigation
Timeline: A History of Sweetbay

Timeline: A History of Sweetbay

The pending sale of Sweetbay to Bi-Lo Holdings represents the beginning of yet another tumultuous chapter for the grocery founded by an Italian fruit vendor in 1947. Following are highlights in the history of Sweetbay, known also as Kash n’ Karry, Tampa Wholesale and Big Barn, culled from company history and SN’s archives:

• 1914
Italian immigrant Salvatore Greco sells fruits and vegetables on the streets of Tampa.

• 1947
Greco and his wife open their first grocery store, known as Big Barn, in Plant City, Fla. The store eventually grows into a nine-store operation known as Tampa Wholesale.

• 1962
Tampa Wholesale adopts a new name: Kash n’ Karry.

• 1970s
The chain grows to more than 50 stores and No. 1 grocery share in Tampa’s Hillsborough County, boosted in part by acquisitions of several former A&P stores in the area.

• 1979
Kash n’ Karry’s family owners sell to California retailer Lucky Stores for $26.8 million. A period of rapid growth follows.

• 1988
After Lucky is acquired by American Stores, Kash n’ Karry is sold to its managers in a $305 million leveraged buyout funded by Gibbons Green, a predecessor to Leonard Green & Partners. The chain acquires 24 Florida Choice stores from Kroger.

• 1991
Leonard Green becomes controlling stakeholder.

• 1994
Following the closure of 17 stores over the course of a year, debt-laden Kash n’ Karry files a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and emerges in 1995 as a publically traded company.

Read more: New Owners in the Sweetbay Saga

• 1996
Delhaize’s Food Lion chain acquires Kash n’ Karry for $341 million.

• 1999
Delhaize acquires Hannaford Bros.; its executives would play a role in refashioning Kash n’ Karry.

• 2004
Delhaize closes 34 Kash n’ Karry stores; introduces the Sweetbay banner, emphasizing service, quality and local selections.

• 2007
Last Kash n’ Karry store converted to Sweetbay. The chain operates 105 stores.

• 2013
Sweetbay closes 33 underperforming stores; in May, announces sale to Bi-Lo Holdings, along with Harveys and Reid’s stores, for $265 million.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarketnews


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.