A new company has been formed to purchase all 57 Southern Family Markets (SFM) stores.
Belle Foods LLC was formed in Birmingham, Ala., by William “Bill” White, a longtime industry veteran who has worked in both the Bruno’s and Piggly Wiggly organizations.
According to the Feb. 7 announcement, Belle Foods is buying stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi that operate under banners including Food World, Piggly Wiggly, Bruno’s and Southern Family Markets.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed; the deal is expected to close within a couple of months, according to a letter to suppliers sent out by Max Henderson, president of Southern Family Markets, on Feb. 7.
White will serve as president and CEO of Belle Foods, his son Jeff White as chief administrative officer.
Bill White has spent the past 30 years in retail and wholesale distribution, including serving as CFO with a number of companies since 1987. He also has worked for several family businesses as the chief advisor on the future strategic direction of their enterprises.
“We are very excited about this acquisition and look forward with great anticipation to growing this business, being strong partners in the communities we will serve, and bringing back the family-owned roots which have always made these stores so special,” said Bill White.
“This transaction brings many great opportunities to all who are involved,” Henderson added in the press release. “It will allow the business to continue its commitment to its communities, to develop and grow its associates, and to improve operations.”
In the letter to suppliers, Henderson—who added the title “Chief Obstacle Remover” in his letter’s closing—said Belle Foods was “formed solely for the purpose of owning and operating the SFM stores with a renewed commitment to providing value and focusing on the needs of the community.”
On The Birmingham News’ website, al.com, shoppers had already begun commenting on the change as of this morning. One commented on the need for cleaner stores and parking lots; another mentioned a rude store manager in an Alabama store that she hoped would be replaced. Others were hopeful the new company would reclaim some storefronts that the company had abandoned.
Belle Foods says it intends to offer employment to Southern Family Markets employees as it works with representative unions through the transition.
After the transition is complete, Birmingham Logistics LLC, a subsidiary of C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., will continue to provide warehousing, distribution and procurement services to all stores.