A New ‘Southern Belle’ Emerges in Supermarket Retailing
Southern Family Markets, a regional supermarket chain with 57 locations in the Southeast,was acquired by Belle Foods LLC effective July 1st, 2012. CEO Bill White, an industry veteran, formed Belle Foods to lead the buyout of Southern. White says he “sees great growth potential for the company and its employees,” and that “Belle Foods is eager to begin serving the community and building great relationships with all of our current and future shoppers.” The company will continue to use C&S Wholesale Grocers as its primary grocery distributor.
The company plans to rebrand all 57 stores to the new banner Belle Foods over the next 18 months. According to reports, the company considered returning to the original Bruno name – a testament to the original founders. Ultimately, a fresh start with the new banner was decided upon. Belle Foods will begin the rebranding of its stores with the Bruno’s in Hoover and Food World in Alabaster within six weeks, then focus on converting stores in Tuscaloosa as well as locations in Mississippi.
According to Bill White, Belle Foods will put emphasis on catering to the needs of families who desire convenience, top-quality grocery items at an affordable price, and personalized customer service without long lines. Also, a new Belle Foods loyalty marketing program and card will be implemented with consumer deals and specials. Some stores will have what Jeff White – son of Bill White and Chief Administrative Officer of the new business venture – describes as ‘Baby Belle’ stations, which will be child care areas offering activities for young children to participate in while their parents shop for groceries.
According to Chain Store Guide,the Mobile AL market is one of Belle’s largest with 8 locations under the Bruno’s and Food World banners. Holding a top 3 position with 13.1% of the grocery market, the company increased its share 1.6% from 11.5% in fiscal 2010.
Mobile, AL CBSA*
Top 5 Retailers by Grocery Sales