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    A&P Turns 150

    The oldest U.S. food-retailing company plans to celebrate the occasion with a series of special events throughout 2009.

    This year the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Inc. is marking its 150th year in business, making it the oldest food-retailing company in the United States. A&P originally opened a store-warehouse on New York's Vessey Street as The Great American Tea Co. in 1859, taking its current name 10 years later.

    From that first location the company has branched out to feature innovative Fresh, Gourmet, Discount, and Price Impact store locations. Among its other notable contributions to the development of the grocery industry over the past century and a half A&P was one of the first major companies to provide health care and pension options to employees; the first supermarket company to introduce a private label product, in 1880; the first company to sell dry goods to consumers; the first retailer to carry a mix of dry goods and fresh meat in its stores.

    "We are a company with a history of dynamic innovations which have allowed us to serve American families for generations," noted A&P executive chairman Christian Haub. "It is our deep commitment to continue this privilege by adding to our legacy of bringing new concepts to the market which will serve to improve the lives of our customers. This is especially important to us, as we now seek to help our customers through these challenging economic times by not only providing high-quality products at the most affordable prices, but by also giving back to the communities we serve through our comprehensive corporate social responsibility program."

    To celebrate the milestone, A&P will host a variety of celebratory activities throughout the coming year. Store officials have not yet divulged what surprises are in store.

    In other A&P news, celebrity health specialist and best-selling author Bob Greene, who is perhaps best known as the personal trainer and friend of Oprah Winfrey, will appear at The Food Emporium BridgeMarket at 59th Street and First Avenue in New York today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to introduce his new book, "The Best Life Diet Cookbook."

    The new book, which features over 175 dinner and dessert recipes, supplements Greene's "The Best Life Diet," which has sold more than 1.6 million copies worldwide and provides readers with a lifetime plan for shedding pounds and keeping them off. The A&P banner is the first stop on Greene's national book tour, during which he will share tips and recipes from the cookbook. During his appearance at the BridgeMarket, Greene will sign copies of "The Best Life Diet Cookbook," which will be sold at the BridgeMarket store for $25. Greene's "Best Life Diet Revised" and "Best Life Daily Journal" will also be on sale at the store.

    As well as book signing, blood pressure screenings will be available on site.

    Montvale, N.J.-based A&P operates 445 stores in eight states and the District of Columbia under the following banners: A&P, Waldbaum's, Pathmark, Best Cellars, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, Super Fresh, and Food Basics.

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