Opening its doors in Seminole, Fla. in November 2004, Sweetbay Supermarket was formerly known as Kash n’ Karry. Through a series of acquisitions and failed efforts to save the Kash n’ Karry stores, the chain was reorganized and absorbed into Sweetbay Supermarkets as an entity of Food Lion LLC, a subsidiary of Delhaize America (Delhaize Group of Belgium).
In 1914, Italian immigrant Salvatore Greco began selling fruits and vegetables in the streets of Tampa, Fla. In 1922, he and his wife, Giuseppina, opened a storefront at their home and developed it so that, in 1947, they could build a proper store under the name Big Barn. They continued to expand their business and had opened nine stores by 1960s under the name Tampa Wholesale. They renamed their chain again in 1962, this time calling it Kash n’ Karry – based on the cash-and-carry program of World War II where people would bring in their cash and carry out groceries.
In 1979, Kash n’ Karry sold its stores to Lucky Stores Inc. of Dublin, Calif. – a subsidiary of American Stores. With a total of 84 stores by 1985, from Fort Myers to Gainesville, the company successfully marketed to both discount shoppers and up-scale customers. By 1989, Kash n’ Karry owned 117 stores, some of which offered full-service banking with First Florida Bank, florist services and a “Nature Friendly” tag system. Acquisitions also abounded for the company that year, with American Stores management partnering with Gibbons, Green van Amerongen Ltd.
Success was short-lived: by 1994, Kash n’ Karry was bankrupt, in part because it was growing too fast for the available market, and there was too much competition from similar supermarket chains. Food Lion LLC purchased Kash n’ Karry in 1996 and part of the buyout allowed Kash n’ Karry to refinance its outstanding debt at a much lower interest rate, resulting in annual savings of $9 million. With the formation of Delhaize America in 2000, Kash n’ Karry became a subsidiary of Delhaize Group of Belgium. The last Kash n’ Karry store closed its doors on Aug. 29, 2007.
Management of Kash n’ Karry stores was transferred in 2002 to Hannaford Bros. Co., which also handled supply. The change was made in an effort to regain control in the Florida market, but it ultimately failed. With the restructuring, however, Sweetbay Supermarkets was created, following the Hannaford model. The first Sweetbay opened in Seminole, Fla. in November 2006, and Kash n’ Karry began to roll its operations into Sweetbay Supermarkets.
Headquarters: Tampa, Florida
Number of Stores: 104
Number of Employees: 9,000
Annual Revenue: $19.2 billion
Geography: Florida’s west coast
Demography: bargain hunters, upscale shoppers
Services: Pharmacy, Healthy Living program