Publix Buys Food City
Cecil Baker

London, KY

#61 Aug 4, 2009
Florida Southern, What have you heard from your Supervisors? Is something going down after the Food City 500 this month?
Captain America

Columbia, TN

#62 Aug 4, 2009
If they were KVATs, they'd be Chevy Impalas with Morgan-McClure dealership logos on the trunk lids.
Captain America

Columbia, TN

#63 Aug 4, 2009
Food City's contract with Bristol goes though 2010, if anyone was wondering. So they will be sponsoring next years races, it's the year after which will be the question.
Florida Southern


#64 Aug 4, 2009
Cecil Baker, they haven't been saying much but there is something big going on. They just smile and tell us it would be in our best interest to keep buying Publix stock. I have this feeling being around this company for 18 years now that they have done something. Publix has been waiting for something like this (the economy down low) to make a presents, and know that for sometime now they have been really wanting to buy another chain out. We almost bought out Bruno's but certain info leaked out which ruined the deal. This is completely different now due to how quiet everyone is about in management. I will check out the vehicles and see what they have on them and get some more info Captain America !!!!!
Cecil Baker

London, KY

#65 Aug 4, 2009
Thanks for the information Florida Southern. If you find out anything else keep us up to date. I have worked in the grocery business now over 21 years and went thru a sale out when I worked for Piggly Wiggly, which was told to us the last minute. The DM denied the sale up to the final day it happen so I know these things are kept under wraps until the deal is done. Thanks again.
Kentucky Food City

Chavies, KY

#66 Aug 6, 2009
I work in a Ky Store and I talked 2 a driver the other day and he said to look out 4 a sell out I was telling him i was thinking about leaving and he said i should try and hold 4 a bit to see wat was going to happen
Milton D

Fort Campbell, TN

#67 Aug 6, 2009
Even if FC sells to Publix...I don't see this as a disaster for FC employees. It's said that Publix is a little more picky in who they hire...but that they are a better company to work for. And they sure can't pay any less!

Publix doesn't have stores in the ET, VA, KY area to move workers directly from and they would need SOMEBODY to work at these stores. So I would say, if you're a good worker and have good evaluations...hang on even if there is a changeover.
Captain America

Columbia, TN

#68 Aug 7, 2009
FYI, Food City is currently remodeling 2 stores, and has two replacement stores scheduled to open in 2010, so they haven't stopped their spending as an earlier poster had suggested. I could be wrong here, but I still feel that this rumor is not true. I realize Publix has deep pockets, but Food City had done very well, even in this troubled economy. They've done business the right way, which makes their company extremely valuable. I have no doubt Publix would like to acquire them, but it would come at a very high price to buyout KVAT. As for those who think the TN stores are the only ones being sold, I think that's hogwash. The TN stores account for 63 of the 103 KVAT stores. They wouldn't sell the majority of the company and the most profitable branch of it. It would be an all or nothing deal, that much I feel confident of.
Florida Southern


#69 Aug 7, 2009
How much is FC stock worth right now?
Tn Express


#70 Aug 7, 2009
Capt. America: You do make very good points most of the time about the Publix. To base anything on a Sponsorship of a Nascar Track has very little backbone, sponsorships change yearly.
I have heard that Mr. Smith doesn't want to sponsor Bristol Track, but to own that track? Has anyone else heard this?

I have to ask everyone out there who work for Food City, expressly the stores remodeling (Tri-Cities & Sevierville) have you seen the new fiber optics system that is being installed into the stores? I have heard that a there a couple of gentlemen showing were the new cameras need to placed have a Publix Logo shirt on them??
Cecil Baker

East Bernstadt, KY

#71 Aug 7, 2009
Hello Capt. America, Florida Southern, and Tn Express do any of you really know what is going on if anything? Where is the proof that FC is selling or where is the proof its not going to happen? There are alot of KVAT people worried right now about there futures, me being one of them. I would just like to know if I need to be looking for another job or not. I work in a FC in Kentucky and rumor is they don't want the KY stores is this true? I don't know what the truth is.
Tn Express


#72 Aug 7, 2009
Hey Cecil Baker; I can just speak for myself that noboby knows for sure about this, rumors about this were running ramped just a couple weeks ago, than it was like someboby told everyone in Knoxville to shut up and they did.
I'm kind of like you, I'm a vendor who deals mostly Publix in the state of Tennessee. All of Publix expansion has been just in Middle Tennessee, not in Eastern Tennessee and my company could move the location to Nashville.

I have heard that if this does, happen the stores that wouldn't change hands would become Mr. Smith's "Super Dollar" stores or something like that. Like I all was said a good vendor hear and see everything, and seen by nobody.
Captain America

Columbia, TN

#73 Aug 8, 2009
Well, its all speculation. This rumor started somewhere back around December, and it came out of Knoxville. It started snowballing about May. Anyway, here's the facts so far.

Mr. Smith issued a statement that the company wasn't for sale and probably wouldn't be in his lifetime. He also stated that he's in the business of acquiring stores, not selling them. Mr. Smith was also in one of his Knoxville stores with a rep from Bi-Lo recently, which I know to be fact. Publix has denied that they are buying out KVAT, saying that the rumor is false.

I too work for Food City, and I like my job there. I know Publix is a great company to work for, but so is Food City. I have several higher up connections in both the Knoxville and Tri-Cities areas, who have all told me the rumor is crap. There has been absolutely no proof so far of any truth to the rumor. That doesn't mean its not possible, but no one has any evidence of it. All we've got so far is a bunch of rumors, most of them making no sense at all (Steve Smith buying BMS, Steve Smith Selling only the TN stores, Steve Smith running for Congress, etc.).

Personally, what I think is going on, is that Food City is negotiating to buy the Chattanooga area Bi-Lo stores, and I would imagine Publix is interested in those as well. So that maybe how Publix and KVAT's names got linked. It could also be that Publix inquired about buying Food City. I don't care how big or deep their pockets are, if they wanted to come to the Knoxville area, they would make Steve Smith an offer. KVAT has the largest market share in Knoxville, and if Publix just went in and started building stores, they'd just be cutting the pie smaller. It would mean more expense for them, and less sales. That's not to say they wouldn't hurt Food City's sales a lot, but its simple math that they'd be better off buying an existing chain like KVAT instead of throwing up new stores across the street.

I was told over a year ago by someone pretty high up in the company that Food City would be moving further west into TN within the next few years, and that Bi-Lo's failing stores would be the ticket. So take it for what its worth, I could be wrong. But the Publix rumor just doesn't add up for me.
Cecil Baker

East Bernstadt, KY

#74 Aug 8, 2009
Well friends if this is just a rumor, I hope it is stopped soon. There still alot of people talking about it. I guess some people love a good rumor.

Elizabethtown, KY

#75 Aug 8, 2009
I'm an assistant manager at a Food City store. I have heard from my store manager about a news article in which both Publix and Food City were asked about the buyout rumors. Steve Smith gave the aforementioned response of it not being for sale and PROBABLY wouldn't be in his lifetime. Publix's response was 'no comment' with the reason being it was company policy not to make any official statements regarding rumors. After hearing this I quickly dismissed the rumor, however I was informed of some things by one of my co-managers today which make me wonder.

First of all was the race weekend announcement rumor which has been floating around for a while so that was no biggie. What threw a red flag was our vendors. Many of our vendors (Coke, Pepsi, Mayfield, Frito-Lay, etc.) told us today that their company supervisors have told them that the rumor is true and it's a done deal.

On top of this, a couple of days ago a group of contractors were in our store taking measurements of our building and reviewing copies of our blueprints. They told us that they were doing this at every Food City store. Our store was just remodelled about 3 or 4 years ago so I can't imagine that they would spend another million dollars to remodel us again. My coworker also pointed out how the weekly sales have been very corporate brand heavy lately and the warehouse has consistently been running out of stock on a lot of the items. It is just his own personal speculation here, but he thinks its almost like they are liquidating corporate items. I'm not so sure he is right there, but I thought I would throw it in.

IF the race weekend announcement rumor is true, then my assumption is that they are going to take that opportunity to either confirm the rumor or put it to rest for good. My concerns here are if they are going to put it to rest why wait to announce it? If they are going to confirm it, it would make sense to wait until after the race. The Food City races are very big events and announcing that the sponsoring company is being purchased could be a negative event for the race.

On the flip side, it really doesn't make sense that KVAT would be going through with their expansion plans if they were being purchased. We still have 2 stores under construction and they are still expanding their "regional brands" acquisitions (adding Farm Best milk most recently and a few others are still in the works). They are also continuing with plans to open more Super Dollar stores. Unless Publix was simply taking over ownership of KVAT and was going to continue to allow KVAT and Food City to operate as a subsidiary company.

The bottom line is we really have no way of knowing for sure. Until our company finally makes some sort of official announcement and puts this thing to rest then all we have is speculation and rumors. I was of the original belief that it wasn't true, and I am still leaning that way. But some things are beginning to pop up that just make me wonder. A lot of my employees are worried sick over losing their jobs. Personally, I think store-level associates will be fairly safe if a buyout does occur. It would be much too wasteful for Publix to can everybody and rehire and retrain an entire new workforce. That just doesn't make sense.

Anyway, these are just some observations from around my store. I guess whether it is true or not we will know for sure by race weekend either through an official announcement or lack thereof.

One last thought, this rumor has actually been circulating for a few years now just without an actual buyer. I remember hearing a year or so before Jack Smith died that when he did finally pass away Steve was planning on selling the company. Again, this was just another rumor....
Cecil Baker

East Bernstadt, KY

#76 Aug 9, 2009
Hello TNFC, I work in an KY store and the same things are happen here too. Have the DM come in your store and told you to check your store for out of dates and to work your backstock down in the backroom also? Also have they cut the vendors backstock down too? I know there not going to remodel my store its too old.
Without Blinders On

Brentwood, TN

#77 Aug 9, 2009
You can see inside the stores that MANY items from the Food City warehouse have been out of stock, alot. That is always a good sign of a buyout. The other thing is, no one is doing anything to stop the Food City corporate warehouse out of stocks.
Other than Steve Smith making "one" "brief" statement to the Knoxville newspaper, he has not said or done anything else to deny. Why is nothing been said publicly on TV, in the Bristol newspaper, and so on. hhhmmm.... "Probably". A very important word in his brief statement.
I have also heard Steve Smith likes Publix being the buyer because Publix too is a "family owned" business. hhhhmmm...
Next, with the current moves by congress, tax rates are increasing and surely will be increasing more in the next few years, especially for the rich. Now is a good time for the Smith's to get out and not lose alot of their fortune to coming taxes. hhhmmmm...
former tn employee

Fort Campbell, TN

#78 Aug 9, 2009
i really hope this is true, K-VA-T treats their employees like dirt, i worked for them for nearly 7 years and at the time i quit i was making less than $2 more than the day i started

Elizabethtown, KY

#79 Aug 9, 2009
Hi Cecil. Yes they have actually been doing date sweeps at every store in our district for the past 4 months or so. Our store was just done a couple of weeks ago and Wednesday they are doing the store across town. I don't think this is necessarily a sign of a buyout, but reducing vendor backstocks is a little odd unless they are just cramping too much of the stockroom.

I think the number of out of stocks is very odd. Food City prides itself on its warehouse, and honestly they do run a very good operation up there at Mid-Mountain. They occasionally have out of stocks when they run very good ads but lately they have been running out of an unbelievable number of items. My store nearly ran out of rain checks over the weekend because of it.

Blinders makes some good points too. So far the only "official" statements we have are the "brief" statement made by Mr. Smith, and a "no comment" made by Publix. A couple of people have emailed Publix and they have denied the rumor in their response, but I wouldn't put much merit on that answer. I'm sure Publix doesn't give away any of their sensitive business dealings to the PR people that answer emails for them. I think if there was nothing to this rumor that they would come out with an official statement that knocks it out for good. But a "PROBABLY won't be for sale" and a "no comment" are hardly compelling statements.
Florida Southern

Brooksville, FL

#80 Aug 11, 2009
Well, no more big news about the buy out although friends and family members of higher upper management are saying we have accquired food city and some in the traffic dept say they have seen some activity in virgina area but will not say where.If hear any more will keep you posted!!!

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