Baltimore Independent Retail Group Buys 4 Farmer’s Foods Stores In Virginia

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A group of Baltimore independent retailers has acquired four Virginia stores from veteran independent retailer Johnny Farmer, president and CEO of Farmer’s Foods.

Benjy Green, Rick Rodgers and Ben Sigman, all of B. Green & Co., and Jim Streett, owner of Harvest Fare Supermarket, consummated the deal late last month. Also on board as an equity partner is “Buster” Madison, former COO of Farmer’s Foods.

The acquired stores are located in Luray, South Boston, Kenbridge, and Louisa. The latter two stores will continue to operate as Food Depot Cost Plus units while the Luray and South Boston locations, which are still bannered as Farmer’s Foods, are expected to be converted to the Cost Plus format by the end of the summer. The four stores average about 25,000 square feet in size.

Cost Plus operations are gaining popularity across the country. Its discount format differs from other “value” operators in that all prices are marked up 10 percent after the retailer’s laid in shelf costs are considered. Cost Plus units are merchandised as conventional grocery stores in terms of item selection and departments with the exception of featuring no service deli or service bakery. Ample in-store signage alerts the consumer about “cost plus 10 percent” pricing.

As for Farmer’s Foods, founder Johnny Farmer will retain stores in Hopewell, VA; Highland Springs, VA; Dillwyn, VA; and Edenton, NC. Farmer started in grocery business at the age of 14 as a meat cutter and opened the first Farmer’s Foods in 1965, which consisted of just six shelves, a meat case, and a produce case.