Bruno#039;s Supermarkets sells Food Fair 104 stores

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 7, 2005

No worries here.

That's the welcoming thought among managers and employees at the Food Fair grocery store located on South Forest Avenue.

On Tuesday, Bruno's Supermarkets announced it had sold 104 stores, 33 in Alabama alone, to Southern Family Markets. That includes the Food Fair in Luverne. And while three stores will eventually be closed by the new owner, the one in Luverne isn't going anywhere.

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Management and employees of the Luverne Food Fair met with corporate and district managers of Bruno's on Wednesday, according to Assistant Manager Dale Brown. The quick acquisition by Southern Family Markets came as a surprise to Brown. And he said employees of the store were understandably nervous after hearing the news on Tuesday.

"The only thing - and the best thing - that was finalized today was that we'll be able to keep our jobs," said Brown of the meeting. "People were worried but everything's going to be fine."

Brown did say he was told the name of the store would change, but to what he was unsure.

Southern Family Markets is scheduled to take full control of the affected stores in Alabama prior to Aug. 31 and Brown said he was made aware that the transition period would last four months.

One welcome piece of news was that management personnel who work through the transition will be awarded with a bonus, said Brown. However, he doesn't know how employees' health insurance will be affected. Bruno's offered Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but Brown thinks Southern Family Markets will implement a different provider.

Southern Family Markets is an affiliate of C&S Wholesale Grocers. Of the those stores included in the purchase, 27 are Food World and Food Fair stores, 47 are Bi-Lo stores, five are Bruno's in Alabama and Georgia and two are Bruno's liquor stores, located in Destin.