Shaw’s is a subsidiary of Minnesota-based SUPERVALU. The company is the second largest groceries group in the northeastern US; the largest being Stop & Shop. Shaw’s is the largest supermarket chain whose stores are located entirely in New England. Until the sale of its Connecticut locations in February 2010, Shaw’s was the only supermarket chain that had stores in all six New England states; it remains the only supermarket chain to operate in five of the six.
In 1862, George C. Shaw opened a small teashop in Portland, Maine. Meanwhile, Maynard A. Davis established a group of small downtown grocery stores in Brockton and New Bedford, Massachusetts, called Brockton Public Market, or BPM. In 1919, Davis purchased the George C. Shaw Company and made it a subsidiary of BPM.
As George C. Shaw and BPM continued to grow, it was decided that a central grocery warehouse would be needed for the future growth of the two companies. In 1961, a warehouse in Brockton was purchased.
By 1965, George C. Shaw had begun to expand into northern Massachusetts and into New Hampshire. This expansion, combined with BPM’s growth in volume in southern Massachusetts, moved the companies to build a distribution center in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1972. In the 1980s, a warehouse was built in Wells, Maine, and in January 1991, Shaw’s opened a distribution facility for perishable food items in Methuen, Massachusetts.
In 1978, BPM stores in Massachusetts changed their name to Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc. to maximize advertising. It was the first step in the contemplated merger of the two companies.
In November 1983, J Sainsbury plc, then the UK’s largest supermarket group, purchased 21% of Shaw’s outstanding stock, and in June 1987, Sainsbury’s acquired controlling interest.
J Sainsbury plc acquired stores from three other New England food retailers: Iandoli’s (1987), Cerretani’s (1993), and the Star Market Company (1999).
In 1995, Shaw’s entered Connecticut, opening five stores. The next year, Sainsbury purchased 12 former Edwards’s supermarkets and two future sites from Royal Ahold.
The largest supermarket chain to join the Shaw’s family is the Star Market Company. This acquisition strengthened Shaw’s position as the second-largest supermarket company in New England. Like Shaw’s, the Star Market Company had humble beginnings and a long line of “firsts” in the supermarket industry. Star was the first New England supermarket company to have air-conditioned stores, the touch method of ringing registers, in-store check verification, refrigerated cooked foods, self-service wrapped meats, and packaged produce.
In November 1999, J Sainsbury/Shaw’s Supermarkets closed the Star Market Distribution Center in Norwood, Massachusetts, laying off over 300. In 2001, J.Sainsbury/Shaw’s Supermarkets closed the Shaw’s Distribution Center in East Bridgewater, laying off 400. J.Sainsbury/Shaw’s Supermarkets indicated that the warehouse was “not centrally located in its service area and the necessary physical expansion is impossible”. C&S Wholesale Grocers now handles the majority of the work that was performed by the two union-based distribution centers. C&S is the largest non-union grocery distribution company in the US. At the time of these closings, C&S’s distribution center/headquarters were in Brattleboro, Vermont.
In 2004, J Sainsbury sold Shaw’s to Albertsons for US$2.48 billion. On June 2, 2006, a partnership of SUPERVALU, CVS Corporation, and several investment firms including Cerberus Capital acquired Albertsons with the intent to divvy up the parts. SUPERVALU received what was generally thought of as the best-performing assets, which included Shaw’s and Star Market, along with other well-regarded regional chains such as Acme Markets (Philadelphia); Jewel, and Jewel-Osco (Chicago). Unfortunately, the Shaw’s chain has been beset by store closings nearly every year since its acquisition by Supervalu. At its peak, Shaw’s operated more than 200 stores across New England, but closings have slowly reduced that number since 2006. At least one store has closed in every New England state except Vermont.
The first round of closings occurred in late August of 2006, when Shaw’s announced it would be closing six under-performing stores that October. One year later, in September 2007, Shaw’s closed 3 more of its stores because of poor sales. The closings left Shaw’s with 204 stores at the time, with 12 remaining in Rhode Island. A total of 224 workers were laid off or transferred.
On July 25, 2009, Shaw’s closed an additional 4 stores, but the largest round of closings occurred in 2010 when Shaw’s announced that February that it would sell or close all 18 of its remaining Connecticut stores. Eleven of those were sold to New Jersey-based Wakefern, operator of ShopRite and PriceRite supermarkets; and five to Stop & Shop. The other two never found a buyer, though one of those locations will be subdivided for a Supervalu-owned Save-A-Lot. In addition to the store closures, in late March 2010, Shaw’s eliminated about 4% of its full-time workforce at stores still in operation, which amounted to nearly 650 jobs spread out over the about 120 non-union stores.
The most recent round of closings occurred in early 2011. On January 5, 2011, Shaw’s announced that three Massachusetts stores and two Rhode Island stores that were unprofitable would close by February 17. After the closures, Shaw’s will be left with 169 stores.
According to their website, as of December 2009, Shaw’s operated 194 stores across New England: 12 in Rhode Island, 18 in Connecticut, 19 in Vermont, 22 in Maine, 34 in New Hampshire, and 89 in Massachusetts (including 12 operating as Star Market). Including the 2011 closings, that number has since been reduced to only 10 stores in Rhode Island and 84 in Massachusetts, and none in Connecticut. This leaves 169 stores in the chain as of February 2011. Despite the closings, Supervalu has remodeled and updated many Shaw’s stores, and in late 2010, Supervalu introduced a newly-redesigned website for Shaw’s.
Headquarters: West Bridgewater, Massachusetts
No. of Stores: 169 (2010)
No. of Employees: about 30,000
Geography: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
Special Services: Bakery, dairy, deli, floral, frozen foods, grocery, liquor, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, sushi
Shaw’s, Star Markets, SUPERVALU
Shaw’s carries most national brands, their own Shaw Brand, as well as others such as Richelieu Foods, Wild Harvest, Stockman & Dakota, Baby Basics, and Culinary Circle.
Online shopping- not available
Circular and specials