Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bruno's Finer Foods


Another Birmingham-related post, this one directly affects Atlanta and that is the mention of Bruno's supermarket. Bruno's was a big player in the Atlanta market in the 1980's prior to the invasion of Publix. An upscale supermarket much like Publix, they came to Atlanta in 1987 when local chain Ogletree's was purchased. A picture of a former Ogletree's/Bruno's is found in an earlier post.

While Bruno's has long since left Atlanta (they left by 1995), they are still alive and well in their home city of Birmingham where they existed long before. While no longer an independent chain, a few of these are still around including a location at The Summit (pictured above). Bruno's was also notable for two now defunct retail ventures including a drug store chain (Big "B" Drugs), which was also in Atlanta and their Atlanta partnership with Kmart for one of the first discount superstores (American Fare) in 1989. Respectively, the Big "B" stores all became CVS and the American Fare simply Super Kmart before later closing.

While I have not found many locations, I know that they exist today in Birmingham owned by the same company that also owns Bi-Lo, Foodmax and a couple other grocery chains.

9 comments:

  1. Bruno's was limited to the most upscale locations in Birmingham, Mobile, Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. Food World was the brand the company used over most of Alabama and was more price-oriented than Bruno's. FoodMax was used in Atlanta, Nashville, Chattanooga, and other locations in Georgia. The Atlanta FoodMax stores became Bruno's in their final years before selling to Ingles. Bruno's, IMO, operates as a more Southern-style upscale grocer, while Publix is more suited for Florida and Eastern tastes.

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  2. I believe that Bruno's also had outposts in Nashville (with the Bruno's name), in locations near the big malls.

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  3. Bruno's has done a bit of streamlining over the past ten years or so, a few B'ham area Food World locations have closed and subsequently, the several area FoodMax's have become Food World's. While we have recently been invaded by Publix, the various Bruno's incarnations seem to be unfazed.

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  4. Brunos and Food World were definitely the grocery powerhouses in many cities in Alabama. It's quite shocking to see them all closed or changed to other lesser-known chains. Food World had many stores that were open 24 hours, which was wonderfully convenient at times. After all of the Wal Mart Supercenters came along, many of the Food Worlds got downgraded and hours limited.

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  5. Lonestar Funds put BiLo up for sale this summer, speculation had been it would be Bruno's that would be on the market. The result is that Bruno's will likely be sold off piecemeal with locations shuttering as leases expire. Lonestar seems intent on selling BiLo to one buyer and feels that BiLo is more marketable than Bruno's. BiLo has survived the Ahold spin off more intact than Bruno's-troubled Winn-Dixie operates more stores with a bigger market share in Alabama than Bruno's does. Publix seems to be positioning itself in Birmingham as Bruno's successor in catering to the upper demographic strata.

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  6. I remember Bruno's opening numerous Food World/Big B anchored strip malls throughout Mobile County. Many have shuttered and remained vacant, unfortunately.

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  7. I call incorrect! The original American Fare in the Atlanta area became Kmart and Cub Foods. Both were gone by 2001.

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  8. ...remember there was an American Fare in ATL somewhere in the Stone Mtn. Freeway area. Right?

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  9. I believe that Bruno's is no longer a chain now. It seems to have been completely bought out by Belle Foods. I've been into a Belle Foods store once and it seems to have retained the same upscale feel as Bruno's. The mother of my best friend growing up was a manager at a local Bruno's. I remember going in there ALL the time as a kid so our parents could say hello.

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