company_name = Bruno's Supermarkets, LLC
company_type = Private
company_slogan = "Imagine the Possibilities"
foundation = 1932
industry = Retail Grocery Store
products = Dairy, deli, frozen foods, grocery, meat, produce, snacks
revenue = $1.247 billion
num_employees = 11,500
homepage = [http://www.brunos.com/ www.brunos.com]
The company began as a market opened by Joseph Bruno in Birmingham, Alabama during the
Great Depression. According to the 1983 book "Joe: The Fiftieth Anniversary of Bruno’s Food Stores" by Pat Dunbar, “the store would have fit into a modern day meat cooler.” The company grew steadily, with ten stores in place during the 1950s, and 29 stores open under the Bruno's name when it became a publicly traded companyin 1971. In 1972, Bruno’s opened its discount grocery chain, Food World, which was followed by warehouse-oriented Consumer Foods. As Food World and Consumer Foods became more profitable, the old Bruno’s stores began to be phased out. Consumer Foods was replaced by Food Fair in 1983, and in 1984 Bruno's opened its first FoodMax stores.
The 1990s also saw the reintroduction of the Bruno’s banner on stores, this time as Bruno’s Supercenters and Bruno’s Food and Pharmacy, both of which were upper-class stores. In 1996, Bruno's began converting its Foodmax stores to the Bruno's banner in the
Nashville, Tennesseemarket, including the construction of several new stores to replace smaller, aging ones. Before the process was complete (some stores carried Foodmax signage on the outside and Bruno's signage inside), the company sold these stores to Albertsons, which finished construction, but spent less than 4 years in the market before shuttering all of its Nashville-area locations (most of which later became Publix).
Another concept, the upscale Vincent's Market, was tried in a one-location experiment in
Homewood, Alabama. The experimental store featured a wide variety of prepared foods such as seafood, bakery goods and take-out meals as well as regular grocery sales. Around 2000, Vincent's Market was converted to the Bruno's nameplate (though it was largely unchanged otherwise), and the Vincent's Market name was applied to the deli/bakery departments in all existing Bruno's stores.
In 1995, the company was acquired by
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts(KKR), a leveraged buyoutfirm. That acquisition was ill-fated, as the company's debt structure combined with management missteps and increased competition from Wal-Mart Supercenters to drive it into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2000 after closing a number of unprofitable stores, but acquiring three new stores from the Gregerson's chain in and around Gadsden, Alabama. The company was sold in December 2001 to Ahold, a Dutch corporation, who then combined it with Bi-Lo. The new management struggled as well, and in 2005, Ahold finally sold the combined operation to Lone Star Funds, a private investment company which also owns Captain D'sand Shoney's restaurants. [ [http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/stories/2004/12/20/daily19.html Lone Star Funds agrees to buy Bruno's from Ahold] , "Birmingham Business Journal", December 23, 2004.] Lone Star then sold some stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers, which operated the new stores under its Southern Family Marketsaffiliate for a time but closed most of the acquired stores in 2007. C&S Wholesale also is the primary supplier for Bruno's which derives from the agreement between Lone Star and C&S. C&S would own and operate the logistics and warehouse while Lone Star would own and operate the stores.
On March 20, 2007, Lone Star Funds announced it had spun out Bruno's from BI-LO creating a separate corporate entity. [http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/stories/2007/03/19/daily12.html?jst=b_ln_hl] Seven unprofitable stores were closed as a result of this transaction.
In April 2008, Bruno's announced the closing of their Food World store on Lorna Road in Hoover due to its close proximity to two other Bruno's stores. There are at least two other locations whose future is in serious doubt.
As of May 17, 2008, Bruno's operates 66 stores in Alabama and Florida, including 23 Bruno's stores, 41 Food World stores, and 2 FoodMax stores, located in Oxford and Northport.
A possible sale of the company is in the works including closing of some other unprofitable stores. Store inventories have been reduced and new programs and orders cancelled due to cash flow issues. An office relocation project scheduled for this year was postponed several times and finally pushed back into 2009 and may never happen pending the future of the company.
Bruno's was the chief corporate sponsor for many years of the Bruno's Memorial Classic
golf tournament, a regular stop on the PGA Champions Tour. The "memorial" in the tournament name honors Lee and Angelo Bruno, brothers of founder Joe Bruno and founders of the tournament; they were killed in an airplane crash shortly after the tournament was announced in 1991. The first tournament was played the following year at Greystone Golf & Country Clubin Hoover, Alabama.
With the Bruno's downsizing in 2005, the company was no longer willing to shoulder the entire cost of sponsorship for the tournament.
Regions Financial Corporationtook over as the title sponsor with Bruno's as a "presenting sponsor" for 2006 thru 2008 and the event moved to the new Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa, a Robert Trent Jones Golf Trailcourse in Hoover. Bruno's role for 2009 is yet to be determined.
Ronnie Bruno, son of Angelo Bruno, continues to serve as chairman of the tournament. Additionally, the group that managed the tournament, run by Ronnie Bruno and Gene Hallman, later became a full-time event-management company known as the Bruno Event Team. The team runs a wide variety of events, mostly sports-related, including many championships for the
Southeastern Conference. (Bruno himself is no longer associated with Bruno's Supermarkets, nor are any other Bruno family members.)
* [http://www.brunos.com Bruno's Website]
* [http://www.food-world.com Food World Website]
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