Big Y

Big Y Foods, Inc.
Industry Grocery
Predecessor Y Cash Market
Founded 1936 in Chicopee, Massachusetts, US
Founder Gerald and Paul D'Amour
Headquarters Springfield, Massachusetts
Area served
Massachusetts and Connecticut
Key people

Donald D'Amour, Chief Executive Officer
Charles D'Amour, President/COO

Herbert Dotterer, CFO
Revenue $1.7 Billion (2015)
Number of employees
12,000 (2016)
Footnotes / references

Big Y Foods, Inc. (or Big Y) is an American supermarket chain. Big Y operates stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut. It operates under the trade names "Big Y World Class Market" or "Big Y Supermarket."

In 1936, a young entrepreneur, Paul D'Amour, aided by his brother, Gerald, and sisters, Ann Marie, Yvette, and Gertrude, purchased the Y Cash Market in the Willimansett section of Chicopee, Massachusetts, at a Y-intersection. On December 12, 1936, the brothers began Y Cash Market, the forerunner of Big Y. The company is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts. Big Y now is run by cousins Charles and Donald D'Amour.

Big Y is one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, and it employs over 12,000 people. Big Y is the 268th-largest private company in the United States, according to the 2005 Forbes magazine "500 Largest Private Companies" list.[2] Big Y is the fourth largest supermarket chain in New England after Quincy based Stop & Shop, Scarborough based Hannaford, and West Bridgewater based Shaw's Supermarkets. Big Y is the second largest in Southern New England after the aforementioned Stop & Shop.

Big Y Today

The Big Y in store Palmer, Massachusetts.
The Big Y store in Palmer, Massachusetts.

As of September 2016, Big Y operates 69 supermarkets;[1][3] many of which are located in the metropolitan areas of Springfield, Worcester, Greater Boston, and Hartford. In addition to its traditional supermarkets, Big Y owns and operates two specialty markets: Table & Vine, a large specialty liquor and wine store in West Springfield; and the Fresh Acres Market, a concept mixing an open-air-style farmers' market with upscale food choices, in Springfield. Big Y also operated two standalone pharmacies in Springfield and Wilbraham before eventually folding them into the pharmacies located in its nearby stores. In February 2015, Big Y opened its first Gas Station in Westfield, under the title 'Big Y Express.'

Big Y's largest competitor throughout its trade area is Stop & Shop, based out of Quincy, and to a lesser extent Big Y also competes with Boston-based Shaw's and Schenectady, New York's Price Chopper supermarkets. In Connecticut, Big Y is now the second-largest supermarket chain by number of locations, with only Stop & Shop operating more Connecticut stores.

Some Big Ys offer free child care for customers, operating as the Little Y Kids' Club. Big Y also competes by offering "buy one, get two free" sales and special coins redeemable for discounts that change bi-monthly.

Unlike most supermarkets, whose sales run Sunday to Saturday, Big Y's sales week is Thursday to Wednesday, as most customers get paid on Thursdays.

In 2011, Big Y's 75th anniversary, plans included a gala and a sweepstakes for customers with a top prize of $75,000; the drawing was held at the Big E.

In 2012 after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Big Y's Newtown location put up four large green and white ribbons on the outside of the store and were also selling ribbons, shirts, and other items to show their support to those who were lost.

In 2013, Big Y announced they were partnering with fellow Springfield-based company, F.L. Roberts, to enter the convenience store and fuel station industry. The newly created convenience stores will be branded "Big Y Express." [4] The first of these new stores opened in the fall of 2013 in Lee, adjacent to Big Y's full-size supermarket.

In July 2016, it was announced that Big Y had entered into a purchase agreement with Ahold and Delhaize Group for eight Hannaford Brothers locations in Massachusetts as part of the divestiture of stores to gain clearance from the Federal Trade Commission for the impending Ahold/Delhaize merger.[5] The new stores will be located in Kingston, Quincy, Norwell, Milford, Norwood, West Peabody, Saugus, and Easton.[1]

Store locations and expansion

Big Y focuses primarily on opening stores to strengthen its existing footprint, though that footprint is expanding slowly. Most Big Y stores are within a 75-mile radius of their Springfield headquarters. In 2010, Big Y announced that its new store plans included Lee, Franklin, and Milford, Massachusetts; according to its website, each town would have a store by 2012. The Lee store opened in November 2011, adding to Big Y's presence in the Berkshires; while the Franklin store opened in August 2012 and is the chain's newest Massachusetts location. The Franklin store is a sister location to Big Y's store in Walpole, which had previously been their only store in Greater Boston. Big Y also announced new stores in Foxborough and Holyoke, but plans for those locations were ultimately withdrawn.

In 2014, Big Y opened two more Connecticut stores in Old Saybrook and Cheshire, bringing their store count in that state to 32. Another store, in the planning phase, is set to open no later than 2015 in Simsbury.[6]

Big Y has also occasionally grown through acquisitions. In late 2010, Big Y purchased seven stores from A&P, which was leaving central Connecticut. Four of these stores (Branford, Mystic, Old Lyme, West Hartford) were renovated and re-opened as Big Y World Class Markets within a short period of time.

Big Y has stores near the New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont state lines, but expansion into these states has not yet been announced but Big Y has explored into venturing into Rhode Island in the near future.


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