Bashas to sell all of its stores to a California grocer

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Bashas, ​​the iconic family-owned supermarket chain that opened to Arizona residents in 1932, sells to California-based Raley’s Holding Company, President and CEO Edward Basha announced Friday afternoon.

Bashas has 113 stores in Arizona, New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation. This also includes all of its Food City and AJ’s Fine Foods stores. The sale is expected to close by the end of the year, Basha said.

Basha said the pandemic showed her family it was time to sell the channel her grandfather started on the Phoenix subway almost 90 years ago.

He recalled “fighting” for shipments of toilet paper and kitchen towels during supply shortages caused by the pandemic. Time and time again, corporate department stores beat the family business for resources.

So when Raley’s – a family business that operates Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, and Nob Hill Foods in northern California and Nevada – approached the Basha family in mid-2020, he said they knew it would be. a good choice.

“This additional scale would be an added benefit for our members and also for the customers,” he said. “It was about doing an honest assessment, putting our ego aside and considering what was best for our members and clients.”

He declined to provide the price for the sale.

Basha said customers “won’t see a difference” at Bashas, ​​Food City or AJ’s stores. There will also be no store closings or cutbacks for the roughly 8,500 people employed by Bashas, ​​he said. Even the names of the stores will remain the same.

“It really made the choice easier for the family,” he said.

Joining forces in a competitive market

Bashas has long touted himself as a “hometown grocer” as the Phoenix subway grocery market has become increasingly competitive.

Arizona has landed a number of national and regional chains, including everything from Walmart and Albertson to Trader Joe and Aldi.

In the United States and Arizona, family grocers are likely to continue to merge, Basha said. If the pandemic has taught him anything, it’s that suppliers are more likely to fill large orders from large customers.

“People realize Arizona is a mecca.… You have very few barriers to entry, but the competition is fierce,” he said. “We have fought the giants for years. It really doesn’t scare us, we don’t fear. But it’s a question of how best to serve our communities and also our people? The best way to do it was to scale up. “

Scaling, as he calls it, makes orders in a chain harder to ignore.

“When suppliers have limited resources, who are they going to look after? They will look after their larger customers first,” Basha said.

The Basha family has nearly a century of history in Arizona

Eddie Basha is shown in a photo from 1999.

Basha is a household name in the valley.

Eddie Basha opened his family’s first grocery store in Chandler in 1932.

From there the business grew. She acquires a dairy and a ranch. He bought Food City to enter Hispanic markets and AJ’s Fine Foods to sell premium groceries. Chandler’s Basha High School was even named after Eddie Basha Jr.

But it was not all smooth sailing.

See also: Grocery store mogul Eddie Basha dies

The Great Recession resulted in lower sales. There were debts from previous construction projects. There were conflicts with the union. All of this led the company to file for bankruptcy in 2009.

The bankrupt company closed 30 stores, cut 2,000 jobs and renegotiated some of its leases. In just a few years, the company has found a more solid financial base.

Edward Basha, Eddie’s grandson, remembers getting started in the business packing groceries at the age of 12. He has been President and Chief Executive Officer since 2013.

He will stay until the sale closes, then he said he would find the follow-up. His brother, Michael Basha, will continue to work in logistics and distribution. A cousin, Johnny Basha, will continue to liaise with the Navajo Nation.

“This has been our home. This is our home,” Basha said. “We are just humbled and grateful to have the privilege of serving Arizona for 90 years.”

Contact reporter Joshua Bowling at [email protected] or 602-444-8138. Follow him on twitter @MrJoshuaBowling.

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