Price Chopper Supermarkets
- For other stores with this name, see Price Chopper (disambiguation).
|Price Chopper Supermarkets|
1932 (Schenectady, New York; as "Central Market")|
1973 (as Price Chopper)
|Founder||Ben & Bill Golub|
|Headquarters||Schenectady, New York, U.S.|
Number of locations
|Neil Golub Chairman, Jerry Golub President & CEO|
|Products||Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, pharmacy, sushi, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor|
|Revenue||US$3.4 billion (2013)|
|$18.30 million (2013)|
Number of employees
Price Chopper is a chain of supermarkets headquartered in Schenectady, New York. The chain opened its first supermarkets in New York's Capital District in 1932, and changed its name from Central Market to Price Chopper in 1973. It is owned by the Golub Corporation and run by Neil and Jerry Golub, the third and fourth generations to helm the company. On June 2, 2010 Price Chopper dedicated its new headquarters, on Nott Street, in Downtown Schenectady.
In 1927, William Golub and his brother, Bernard, took over the wholesale grocery that their father, Lewis Golub, had opened in 1908 after emigrating from Russia. In 1932, Joseph E. Grosberg, together with Russian Jewish immigrants Bernard and William Golub, partners in the Grosberg-Golub Corporation, opened their first supermarket (initially called Public Service Market) in Green Island, New York, followed by stores in Watervliet and Schenectady. They gave all three stores the name Central Market. The concept was a success and they continued to open many more stores in the region. In 1943, the Golub brothers bought out Joseph Grosberg's share of the company and formed the present parent company, the Golub Corporation. In 1951, they were one of the first grocery chains in the country to issue the well-known S&H Green Trading Stamps.
In the fall of 1973, Central Market changed its operating strategy. The chain dropped Green Stamps, slashed prices, and to reflect this new strategy changed the stores' name to Price Chopper (The name "Central Market" is now used as their upscale house brand, as well as for the floral departments). Since then Price Chopper has continued to grow, opening new stores and upgrading old ones.
1980s–1990s: Store modernization and expansion
Price Chopper was an early innovator in the conversion of conventional stores to superstores and combination (food and drug) units, as well as operating stores that are open 24 hours a day. The first Price Chopper opened in the late 1970s in Oneonta, NY followed by another in the early 1980s in Latham, New York, and then an even larger unit constructed in Queensbury, in 1986. The Super Centers, which were state of the art by 1980s standards, often featured full-service meat, seafood, and bakery departments, as well as pharmacies and banks (features new to supermarkets at the time). These units were also known for their unconventional layouts with aisles facing horizontally, or away from the cash registers, rather than the traditional vertical arrangement with the aisles facing the cash register area. Very few Price Chopper stores still retain this layout today. In the late 1980s Price Chopper changed its corporate logo. The aforementioned logo featured a morgan silver dollar like coin with an axe chopping into the coin. Women's advocates complained the logo promoted violence against women. Price chopper now features an axe cutting into a generic looking coin with no obverse image.
In 1993, Price Chopper launched an updated version of the Super Center format with their South Hills Mall store (#2—store closed on July 15, 2006 and was converted into a ShopRite) in Poughkeepsie, New York when the chain entered the Mid-Hudson Valley. The updated concept had a greater emphasis on take-out/ready meals, some featuring food courts with Price Chopper's own in-house branded concepts, including Roasters (rotisserie; no relation to Kenny Rogers Roasters), Bella Roma (pizza), Coyote Joe's (tacos), and the Bagel Factory. Under the newer prototype, the aisles were also placed back in the traditional vertical arrangement at the request of many customers finding the former layout confusing.
1990s–2000s: Expansion into New England
Prior to 1990, Price Chopper was barely a player in the New England market, with only about a half dozen outlets in Massachusetts and Vermont; they acquired the now-defunct Giant Value supermarket chain during the late 1970s, which accounted for most of their New England locations at the time. However, beginning in the early 1990s, the chain began an aggressive expansion eastward into the New England region, primarily focusing on further growth in Vermont and Massachusetts. Today the chain operates about 40 stores throughout four of the New England states.
In 1990, Price Chopper acquired many stores in Vermont from Syracuse-based P&C Food Markets, whom the FTC was requiring to sell off several stores at the time because of its parent company's decision to increase its ownership stake in Grand Union. Throughout the 1990s, Price Chopper made an attempt to either modernize, expand, or construct replacement stores for many of the acquired P&C locations. Today, Price Chopper has a presence in most of Vermont's larger cities and towns.
In 1995, Price Chopper acquired the Wonder Market Companies' twelve Big D stores in the Worcester, Massachusetts area, rebranding them or replacing them with Price Chopper stores. In 2012, Price Chopper expanded its presence in this region by opening two new stores, in Hopkinton and Gardner. In addition to its store base in Central Massachusetts, Price Chopper also has a strong presence in the Berkshires but leaves a gap in between (the greater Springfield, MA area and other towns northward along I-91).
In 1999, Price Chopper opened its first New Hampshire store in West Lebanon, and in 2006, its second location—a 74,000-square-foot (6,900 m2) Market Center—in Keene. A third location, in Lebanon in a former P&C Foods store, opened in 2009. Price Chopper opened its fourth New Hampshire store, also a former P&C Foods, in Lincoln in May 2010, expanding its footprint to the White Mountains.
In the last decade, Price Chopper has also expanded rapidly into Connecticut (primarily in the Hartford suburbs) where it now operates eight stores. During the grand opening of Windsor store #221, Price Chopper raised the most money they had ever had for their non-profit organization. In 2010, Price Chopper opened their newest Connecticut store in Middletown. Another location opened in Storrs, near the main campus of UConn, on June 6, 2014.
In 2002, Price Chopper exited the convenience store business by leasing out its remaining convenience locations to Petroleum Marketing, a Getty operator. Price Chopper had attempted to enter the convenience store business during the 1980s by opening smaller stores with gas (and sometimes without to utilize older smaller storefronts where a larger store was not possible) under the "Mini Chopper" trade name, but was largely unsuccessful.
In June 2009, Price Chopper established a three-year partnership with Sunoco for their Fuel Advantage program, where customers earned 10 cents off every gallon of gas for every 100 dollars spent on groceries (formerly 50 dollars until the first renewal in 2012); the partnership was renewed in May 2012 for another three years, and again in 2015.
2009–present: Growing greener, Market Bistro, and Market 32
With the opening of its newest store located in Colonie Plaza in Colonie, New York on June 2, 2009, Price Chopper has made investments to incorporate various green and energy-saving initiatives throughout the store. Green features include a 400 kW United Technologies Corp. natural gas fuel cell which provides a significant amount of power (60% as quoted by Price Chopper) for the store. Abundant skylighting and an addressable lighting control system from Encelium Technologies both allow the store to dim its lighting when enough daylight is present. Occupancy sensors covering nearly the entire layout of the store including all offices, backrooms, and loading docks ensure the lights are automatically switched off or significantly dimmed when vacant for a certain period of time. Even aisle ways and other areas of the main sales floor are dimmed unless that aisle or section is occupied.
In March 2014, after over 15 months of renovations, Price Chopper completed its remodel of its 25-year-old Latham, New York store and rebranded the store as Market Bistro, featuring an expanded food court featuring hamburgers, a Ben & Bill's, stone-fired pizza, an ice cream shop, Chef's Grill, as well as an expanded 24-hour drive through pharmacy, an on-site clinic, and a cooking school.
On November 11, 2014, CEO Jerry Golub, along with Executive Chairman of the Board Neil Golub and the company's COO Scott Grimmett, announced that the chain would be changing its name to Market 32, a nod to the year of the company's founding (1932) by brothers Ben and Bill Golub. Jerry Golub stated that the name change reflects Price Chopper's continuing advancement in the industry, and reflects that the company is more of an upscale grocer and less of a discount retailer as the name Price Chopper suggests. Changes to branding, product labels, loyalty cards, company uniforms, as well as store modernizations, are to be rolled out over the coming months and years at a cost of more than $300 million. More than half of the company's 135 stores will be remodeled and rebranded within 5 years, by 2019. The entire process may take up to 9 years. At least one-third of the $300 million is to be invested in stores in the NY Capital Region.
On June 17, 2015, Price Chopper announced that they will be phasing out the sale of tobacco products in all 135 of its Price Chopper and Market 32 stores, joining competitors Shoprite, Wegmans, and CVS/pharmacy.
- "You know you're doing better." (1980s)
- "We're not just in your neighborhood, we're your neighbor." (1985; 2010)
- "We Do More" (1980s; early 2000s)
- "Sharing more than a store." (1980s–1990s)
- "For people who love food." (1997–2000)
- "For people who love food... and savings!" (2000–2001)
- "We Know Meat!" (2000–present)
- "For people who love food... and low prices!" (2002)
- "Not cooking tonight... we're grilling tonight!" Summer House of BBQ campaign (2007–present)
- "Best in Fresh and Low Prices" (2007–present)
- "That's Price Chopper value."
Brands and campaigns
Price Chopper has four corporate-exclusive private label brands: PICS by Price Chopper (main brand being phased in, replacing Price Chopper brand), Price Chopper (main brand used on most food products, being phased out with the transition to Market 32), Price Chopper Naturals (some organic products, being phased out), and Central Market Classics (upscale brand, used on higher-end foods and currently phased out). Other brands are sourced from Topco Associates, including TopCare (health and beauty products), Full Circle (natural and organic products), Valu Time (value-priced brand, often made using cheaper ingredients), and Simply Done (paper products, cleaning products, storage solutions, etc.)
From 2007 to 2015, the company had used a summer campaign to promote their fresh meats and produce known simply as "Price Chopper House of BBQ". Accompanying this campaign, the company has used the slogan "not cooking tonight... we’re grilling tonight" in jingles. The campaign mainly featured jazz musician Melvin Sparks until his death in 2011. For 2016, the House of BBQ was dropped from advertising in favor of a new campaign called "Summertime: Savor Every Moment."
Price Chopper operates 137 stores in Upstate New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Its locations are all serviced from the same warehouse in Rotterdam, New York. Price Chopper's primary market is still the Capital District of New York, where about one-third of its store base is located. Other major markets for Price Chopper include Utica, Syracuse, Binghamton, and the Mid-Hudson Valley in New York, as well as Scranton; Pennsylvania, Worcester, Massachusetts; and Burlington, Vermont. Price Chopper primarily competes with Hannaford, Shaw's, and Stop & Shop in the eastern portion of its trading area, while facing competition from Wegmans, and Tops Markets (under change from Penn Traffic storefronts) in the west, and ShopRite and Stop & Shop in the south.
Currently, 100% of all voting common shares of The Golub Corporation are controlled by a select few members of the Golub family. Golub is leading employer in the Capital District of New York. Former CEO and current Chairman Neil Golub is a well-known philanthropist in the region. Price Chopper's charitable arm, the Golub Foundation, sponsors many special events such as the Empire State Plaza's annual Independence Day celebration in Albany, New York.
On November 7, 2006 it was announced that Price Chopper may buy the Buffalo, New York based Tops Supermarket chain from Ahold USA or a significant amount of their stores. This never happened, although in 2010, Price Chopper instead would purchase six stores from Tops that used to be P&C Foods.
The former Waterbury, Connecticut location closed in June 2008 and the location was purchased by rival chain ShopRite. This marked a step back for the Price Chopper chain in a highly competitive area where another chain grocery store, Shaw's of Waterbury, also closed in September 2007. All of Price Chopper's remaining stores in Connecticut have so far been successful despite being a relatively new name to the region.
Ben and Bill's
In late 2005, renovations on the eight-year-old Slingerlands store (#159) began. Plans for the renovation included the opening of a New York-style sandwich shop to be named "Ben and Bill's" after the founders of the company. The Sandwich Shop sells a variety of pre-packaged products, such as typical New York City pastries, along with sandwiches and deli items. It stands next to the store's regular deli and is themed to look like a traditional New York City delicatessen. The sandwich shop was a huge success at the Slingerlands store and has since been rolled out to four locations. The second Ben and Bill's opened in July 2008 in the Saratoga Springs (#158) store, a third location opened in September 2009 in Burlington, Vermont's (#165) store. In March 2014, a fourth location opened in Price Chopper's flagship store, the newly remodeled and rebranded Market Bistro (#138) store in Latham New York.
Market share by region
Price Chopper holds a strong position in several of the markets in which it operates, including Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Utica-Rome, New York.
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York (Capital Region)
- Price Chopper: 36.0%
- Hannaford: 21.1%
- Stewart's Shops: 12.7%
- Walmart Supercenters: 10.9%
- BJ's Wholesale Club: 5.6%
* Figure was combined with Big D/Wonder Markets, which was acquired by Price Chopper
N.B.: Since this study was conducted, Tops had exited the Utica market until recently and sold three of its units to Hannaford
N.B.: Since this study was conducted, Grand Union's sole store in the Burlington market has been converted to Price Chopper, giving Price Chopper three stores in the area.
- Wakefern (ShopRite): 21.9%
- Stop & Shop: 20.0%
- Hannaford: 13.7%
- Walmart Supercenters: 8.4%
- Price Chopper: 6.7%
- The Grosberg-Golub company was originally created in 1930 by the merger of the separate Lewis Golub and Joseph E. Grosberg companies, and was first known as the GG Grocery Corporation. "Golub Grosberg firm to be known as GG Grocery Co.", Schenectady Gazette, February 13, 1930.
- "Price Chopper Continues to Market Itself", Albany Times-Union, March 5, 2000 – via HighBeam Research (subscription required) .
- Alan Wechsler, "A Family Affair; As Price Chopper turns 75, the Golub clan celebrates four generations of success." Albany Times-Union, November 11, 2007 – via HighBeam Research (subscription required) .
- See the Times Union article on the Colonie Price Chopper going for LEED Gold certification:
- Supermarket News, October 17, 2005
- Mass Market Retailers, June 13, 2005, "Top 100 Markets" (subscription required)
- Price Chopper Website
- Hoovers Fact Sheet for Golub Corporation
- Golub Corp. listing at Forbes.com America's Largest Private Companies (retrieved July 11, 2009).
- Former locations