Cub Foods was founded as a no frills, bring your own bag grocery store, in Stillwater, MN, back in 1968. Today they are still operating a fairly large share of the market from over 16 States, and approximately 2400 locations. Today, Cub Foods is a fully owned subsidiary of the Minnesota-based SUPERVALU chain, marketing their own label, as well as a host of others.
Cub Foods was founded by Minnesota-based Hooleys Supermarkets in 1968 in the riverside city of Stillwater, MN by brothers, Charles and Jack Hooley, and brother-in-law Robert Thueson. The name “CUB” originally stood for Consumers United for Buying, and Cub Foods was one of the first total discount food stores in the United States. The chain was bought by Minnesota-based SUPERVALU in 1980 with only five stores in Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN. After the purchase, the chain expanded to 83 stores, in three states. WinCo Foods operated several Cub Foods stores until 1999. Cub Foods also operated eight stores in Colorado until 2003 when they sold most of their stores to Kroger. The chain also had locations in parts of the Southern United States, namely in the Atlanta and Nashville back in the 1990s.
Cub Foods operated two stores in Columbus, Ohio, until May 23, 1997, at which point both stores and its employees were acquired by Kroger. The only former Cub that remains as a Kroger is the store at Columbus Square.
Cub Foods also had a joint venture with a local grocer in the Dayton, Ohio, market, which operated three stores under the Cub Foods banner. SUPERVALU sold off its share of the venture in 1995, although the three stores continue to use the Cub Foods name to this day under a franchise agreement with SUPERVALU.
Cub Foods is credited with many innovations, such as the first grocery checkout conveyor belt system.
As part of SUPERVALU’s acquisition of Albertsons, including its Chicago-based Jewel-Osco stores, SUPERVALU divested its Chicago-area Cub Foods locations to an investment group headed by Cerberus Capital Management, to avoid market concentration issues. Since Cerberus took control, four locations (Algonquin, Bedford Park, 87th Street in Chicago, and Naperville) closed, and Cerberus then announced that it was selling the remaining Illinois stores to other operators. The last of the Chicago area Cub Foods stores closed on December 10, 2006, while a majority of them were sold to Central Grocers Cooperative and are operated as Strack and Van Til and Ultra Foods by a wholly-owned unit of the cooperative, and as Garden Fresh Markets by one of its members. Other stores were sold to Grand Mart International Foods. However, only four of the eight stores sold to Grand Mart ever opened under that company’s ownership, and all were closed after less than five months of operation.
As of June 2009, the only remaining Cub Foods stores in Illinois which are still owned by SUPERVALU are one store in Peoria (a second store in Midtown Plaza in Peoria closed in March 2009 after just six-and-a-half years of operation) and one store in Freeport.
On October 9, 2010, the Cub Foods in Peoria, still owned and operated by SUPERVALU, changed its name to Shop ‘n Save. This made the Freeport store the only remaining SUPERVALU-owned store in Illinois to continue to operate as a Cub Foods location.
Three Springfield, Illinois stores independently owned by Niemann Foods have a franchise to use the Cub Foods name as part of the stores’ branding. These stores also carry selected Cub Foods-branded products under the same agreement. In the end, Cub Foods has stayed the course, and managed to retain a decent share of the market, no matter what name it operates under.
Headquarters: Stillwater, MN
No. of Stores: approximately 2,400 (2010)
No. of Employees: +/- 200,000
Revenue: $17.4 billion (Feb 1999)
Geography: Primarily Boston, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; , Norfolk- Portsmouth, VA, Chicago, IL; Minneapolis- St. Paul, MN; St. Louis, Missouri; Fargo, ND; Bakersfield, CA; Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; Boise, ID; Las Vegas, NV; Seattle, WA
Special Services: Cub Foods provides meat and seafood, fresh produce, including organics, flower shops, and pharmacies in all their stores, as well as party planning services.
SUPERVALU; ACME, Albertsons, Cub, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel –Osco, Lucky, Save-A-Lot, Shaw’s Star market, Shop n’ Save, Shoppers
Wild Harvest, Stockman and Dakota, Baby Basics, Culinary Circle and most national brands, as well as Cub’s own private label