Kroger to acquire Memphis area Schnucks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Kroger to acquire Memphis area Schnucks

(WMC-TV) – Kroger announced Friday it would purchase eight Memphis-area Schnucks grocery stores and re-open them under the Kroger name.

As part of the acquisition, Kroger plans to close two of its current locations that stand in close proximity to Schnucks stores the company is purchasing.

Schnucks is one of the largest privately owned grocery store chains in the country. Friday, loyal Schnucks customers in Memphis were surprised to hear about Kroger buying out the Memphis area stores.

"I actually shop at Schnucks," Michelle Calton said. "I prefer it over Kroger."

The Schnuck's name is more than 50 years old, but didn't become familiar to Mid-South shoppers until 2002, when the company bought out Seessel's.

Friday, local officials were concerned the Kroger buyout will limit choices on groceries.

"As a general matter, you like to prefer local chains over outside of town chains," Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy said.

But Mulroy remained optimistic.

"Kroger is a very good, pro-labor, pro-union chain, and they have good labor practices, so if it has to be bought up by somebody, I'm glad its them," he said.

Long-time Schnuck's customers said they will miss the personal feel at Schnuck's.  Some shopped expressed hope that a bigger chain can afford to offer lower prices, but others remained skeptical.

"I actually feel that Kroger has higher prices than Schnuck's," Calton said.

The company's decision has also been a tough sell for longtime Schnucks employees as well.

"This is like a family," said employee Anita Anthony.  "I've been here since I was in 10th grade and I'm in college now, so it's like a family.  Will miss everybody here."

Anthony works at the Schnucks at Quince and Ridgeway, which is one of at least three stores expected to close rather than convert into a Kroger.

"At first, I couldn't believe it," said Anthony.  "But when I got these papers, couldn't help but believe it."

Employees were handed papers at the beginning of their shifts Friday.  They outlined, among other things, the store's closure and their option to apply for jobs with Kroger.

"I have mixed emotions," said employee Jonathan Randolph.  "Been here for 16 years, so a little unsure about it right now."

Schnucks spokesperson Lori Willis said the deal with Kroger included a pledge to try and hire as many employees as possible.

"We have HR team members on site now and through the weekend from both companies to assess qualifications and help ease them through this transition," said Willis.

Anthony and others at her store hope there is room for them at Kroger.

"If they want to keep us, they will," she said.  "If they won't, we won't have a job."

According to a Kroger spokesperson, the following Schnucks locations will be converted to Kroger:

- 1761 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN
- 1212 East Shelby Dr., Memphis, TN
- 799 Truse Parkway, Memphis, TN
- 576 South Perkins Rd., Memphis, TN
- 7735 Farmington Blvd., Germantown, TN
- 9025 US Highway 64, Lakeland, TN
- 2942 Kirby Whitten Rd., Bartlett, TN
- 3926 Goodman Rd., Horn Lake, MS

Additionally, according to a company spokesperson, the Schnucks Store at 1212 East Shelby Drive in Memphis will be converted and re-open as Kroger and replace a smaller Kroger Store at 1234 Finley in the Whitehaven area of Memphis.

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