Remke Markets Bigg’s is a chain of supermarkets in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Beginning in 1897 as a meat market in Covington, KY by William Remke, the supermarket has grown into 14 locations. The supermarket merged with the struggling bigg’s division of SUPERVALU in 2010, with both brands becoming “Remke Markets bigg’s” after the merger. They are now a service oriented store that focuses on food only, and participation within the community.
Beginning in 1897 as a meat market in Covington, KY by William Remke, the supermarket had grown to 14 locations at its peak. Once bought and converted into a hypermarket, Bigg’s became Remke bigg’s, with only 11 stores.
Bigg’s attempted an expansion into the Western United States in 1989 with a 250,000 sq ft location outside Denver, Colorado, but its welcome was only temporary. Its initial success made executives consider expanding into the area, but as sales slowed, and these plans never came about.
Never quite capturing the market outside Cincinnati, Bigg’s was eventually completely bought out by SUPERVALUE in 1994.
Over time, these 11 locations continued to drop in sales. Because the company has been facing financial losses due to increasing competition with other brands such as Wal-Mart, Meijer, and Kroger, SUPERVALU appointed Steve “KAZ” Kaczynski President of bigg’s in 2006. Since CEO Kaczynski has taken over; 5 stores have been remodeled to their new Premium, Fresh & Healthy formats, that have proved to be highly successful & profitable. However, the decision was made in 2008, to shut down the bigg’s at Cincinnati Mills (now Cincinnati Mall) due to a continued decline in sales.
In 2009, “KAZ” left, and in March 29, 2010, they announced that they will be selling all six Bigg’s locations to Remke Markets and will close the remaining five. On April 8, 2010 a seventh store was added to the list to be purchased, leaving four to be closed.
In March 2010 SUPERVALUE announced their intention to close five of its stores and sell the other six to Remke Markets. Later on April 8, 2010, Remke announced it would be buying a seventh store in Harrison that has been scheduled to close. Remke said those stores it purchases would retain the Bigg’s brand immediately after the transfer, but may make changes in the future.
The stores not purchased did eventually close by June 2010. The Bigg’s in Eastgate has shut down, and will become a second location of Jungle Jim’s International Market. The remaining bigg’s were renovated to remove the general merchandise (in the stores that had them) and renamed Remke Markets bigg’s. Existing Remke Markets stores were renamed Remke Markets bigg’s. As of today, there are 14 Remke bigg’s markets in the northern KY, and Cincinnati, OH metro area.
Headquarters: Erlanger, KY
Number of Stores: 14 (2010)
Number of Employees: unknown (2011)
Revenue: $8,673,000 (2010)
Geography: centrally located in Northern KY, and Cincinnati, OH
Special Services: produce, bakery, deli, meat, floral departments within each store.
In 1996 Bigg’s gave all of their customers a card that will accumulate their sales. When sales average $30 or more per month, they receive coupons for free items. The value of those free items accumulated over a year equals about a week’s worth of spending for that household.
Remke Markets also operates several community outreach programs such as
- Remke Student Achiever Program- where local students who excel in academics, sports, and community involvement are given a banquet where scholarships are awarded.
- Remke Markets also spearheaded the televising of high school football games.
- They host the Remke Charity Golf Classic which raises money to benefit the Point/Arc of Northern Kentucky, a fund for intellectual/developmentally delayed individuals.
- American Heart Association, and The American Cancer Society.
Bigg’s, Remke Markets bigg’s; and SUPERVALU