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Big Y Foods, Inc. has set the grand-opening schedule for four of the seven Connecticut stores the company is acquiring from Montvale, N.J.-based A&P. After the transaction’s scheduled Nov. 1 close, locations in West Hartford, Branford, Old Lyme and Mystic will reopen after a brief closing period to clean, upgrade and refurbish equipment; restock with fresh foods and Big Y private label items; change and upgrade signs and shelf labels; and replace all of the front end registers and computers. Due to the short period of time before the start of the holiday season, Big Y has decided against opening the remaining three stores at this time.
“This staggered opening schedule will allow us to maintain the quality that our customers have come to expect and appreciate,” noted Charles L. D’Amour, president and COO of Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y, which revealed the purchase of the A&P stores early last month. When the transaction closes, Big Y will have 62 locations.
Reopening Nov. 5, the West Hartford store will retain the kosher departments it offered as an A&P location. The Branford store will reopen on the same day. The following week, on Nov 11, the Mystic and Old Lyme stores will make their debuts as Big Y World Class Markets. Employees at all four locations will receive thorough training on such newly installed systems for product ordering, food safety, customer service and cashiering. The grocer is still hiring at the four locations.
Of the rest of the former A&P stores, the Middletown location is still under evaluation, with tentative plans calling for it to be converted to no-frills supermarket format and reopen early next year, while Big Y is working with its wholesaler, Cheshire, Conn.-based Bozzuto’s Inc., to find suitable independent operators for the Naugatuck and East Haven locations, which would also reopen in 2011.
All store pharmacies will stay open throughout these transitions to avoid any interruption in service. Big Y was already planning to add a pharmacy to its current Naugatuck location, at 85 Bridge St., so after the deal closes, prescriptions currently filled at the Route 63 and Cross St. Naugatuck A&P will be transferred to the Big Y Pharmacy within the existing Naugatuck World Class Market.
One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, Big Y currently operates 58 stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts, including Fresh Acres Market and Table & Vine fine wines and liquors.