Eagle Food Centers is presently a chain of 40 independent supermarkets that are owned and operated by the employees, under the banner of The Downtown Eagle Corporation. They currently operate in Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois. The company was based out of Milan, Illinois, which is near the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa. The company operated stores under many names, including BOGO’S, Eagle Country Market, Eagle Discount Centers, Eagle Discount Supermarkets, Eagle Food Centers, May’s Drug and MEMCO, however, by failing to compete with other larger chain stores, they declared bankruptcy in the year 2000, selling their assets, and converting some of their stores into privately owned companies.
The Tenenbom family opens the first of Eagle’s chain in Davenport, Iowa back in 1893.
In 1921, there was another Geifman’s family of stores that opened an Eagle Kash and Karry; a few, small neighborhood markets in the Quad-Cities, Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa; and Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline, Illinois. They did very well specializing in fruits and vegetables. These two operations grew during the 1930s as both family operations added new stores. Eagle’s was owned by brother in laws, Frank Weindruch and Isadore Pesses. The Rock Island Geifman brothers, Ben and Morris, owned the Illinois Geifman stores. Their uncle George and his sons, Morris and Sam owned the Iowa Geifman stores.
By 1935, self-service became an important part of the grocery business, with Eagle and other stores responding by allowing self-service at lower prices. After the death of Abe Tenenbom in 1952, his nephew, Richard Waxenberg took over Tenenboms, and the Illinois Geifman’s merge their five stores with the eight stores of Davenport’s Tenenbom-Waxenberg family. Together, they became known as United Supermarkets.
In 1954, United merged with 10 stores of Eagle Kash and Karry, forming the largest area chain, called Eagle-United Supermarkets. Together they produced the New Milan warehouse, with 155,000 square feet of space. It was eventually sold to Fresh-Pak Candy.
By 1961, Eagle purchased from Consolidated Foods Corp. of Chicago, one of the nation’s leading food processors and distributors. Consolidated operated 68 Piggly Wiggly stores. The Eagle and Piggly Wiggly operations were combined and operated from Eagle’s corporate office and warehouse in Milan, Illinois.
Eventually, Coin Bakery and Rock Island were purchased and became part of Eagle under the name Harvest Day Bakery. However, in 1968, California-based Lucky Stores bought Eagle Foods from Consolidated Foods Corporation. Eagle Food Centers and Piggly Wiggly stores were then renamed Eagle Discount Supermarkets, following Lucky’s unique and successful discount pricing program. At this time, Lucky established Lucky Midwestern Division headquarters in Milan, Illinois.
In 1981, Eagle was operating 136 stores, with sales of $1.2 billion, while they continue to expand into Westville, Indiana. Times were good for a while, until there were labor disputes between United Food & Commercial Workers and Eagle Foods Stores in Illinois & Iowa, resulting in strikes and the creation of a bitter labor atmosphere in 1984.
Westville distribution center closes after only four years in 1985. By November 1987, Lucky Stores sold the majority of ownership of Eagle Food Stores to New York-based Odyssey Partners. Odyssey provided monetary transfusion, allowing Eagle to expand old stores and add new ones.
In August of 1989, Eagle became a publicly owned corporation. By May of 1992, Pasquale “Pat” Petitti, chairman of the board of CEO of Eagle Food Centers, Inc., retires after 35 years with the company.
In December of 1999, Eagle sold five of its Chicago-area stores, leaving 90 stores in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana. Stock price begin to drop to $2.03, down from a 52-week high of $4.25. The company was forced to report net loss of $1.5 million that year. Eventually, the company could not compete with other chains such as Osco, Dominick’s, Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart and Kroger, so they began to sell off portions of the company until then ended in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in March of 2000. By 2003, Eagle Food Stores ceased all operations, and simply sold off the remained of its assets. Some of the stores were acquired by other chains, such as Hy-Vee, Kroger, Albertsons, and Butera.
The Downtown Eagle Corporation was founded to take over two stores – one in Clinton, Iowa and the other in Dubuque, Iowa. They purchased the rights to the Eagle Country Market name and signage and operate the two stores under the Eagle Country Market name.
Headquarters: bankrupt in 2000- 2 remaining stores in Clinton, and Dubuque, Iowa
No. of Stores: 40 independent stores as of 2011, listed on one of their web sites
No. of Employees: unknown
Revenue: $ bankrupt in 2000
Geography: Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri
Special Services: Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor, banking and carpet cleaning rentals and service
BOGO’S, Eagle Country Market, Eagle Discount Centers, Eagle Discount Supermarkets, Eagle Food Centers, Harvest Day bakery, May’s Drug and MEMCO.
National brands only
Corporate Homepage – Not Available
Online shopping – Not Available
Circular and specials – Not Available
Jobs – Not Available
Store Locations – Not Available
Contact information – Not Available