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Baltimore-based Food King Supermarkets is in the midst of selling its business to Elido Torres, a New York based independent grocer with various banners and stores in New York, New Jersey and Florida, according to local industry observer Jeremy Diamond, citing conversations with Food King’s vendors.
The company currently has two stores, on Wabash Avenue and Annapolis Boulevard, but at its peak operated “multiple locations,” Diamond said, adding: “Owners Bernie Maizlish and Herb Beckenheimer have been local grocers since the 1950s. They partnered decades ago and owned Brown’s Supermarkets, then converted them to Big B Warehouse stores in the early 1980s. After briefly retiring, the duo opened Food King Supermarkets … in the 1990s.”
He attributed Food King’s previous success to the fact its “stores were convenient for city grocery shoppers. They never identified with a specific niche.”
The reason for the sale to Torres, Diamond noted, is that “Food King’s stores have seen declining sales since a large ShopRite Supermarket opened in the Howard Park neighborhood of Baltimore City… a few years ago [as a result of which] Food King did not have the convenience factor anymore.”