Western Supermarkets

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1969 Western Super Markets logo.jpg
Western Supermarkets logo.jpg
Western Market logo.jpg

Western Supermarkets Inc. was a grocery store chain based in Birmingham which operated stores under the Western Market, FoodSmart by Western, Food Depot, and The Village Market brands.

Western Supermarkets was founded in 1948 by Inos Allen Heard and Stewart Yerton with the opening of their butcher shop in Five Points West. The corporate headquarters was located at 2614 19th Street South in Homewood.

In 1987, Ken Hubbard and Ed Goodwin bought the company from Heard. Hubbard, who started working as a bagger at Western in the 1960s, took over as sole owner and CEO of the company. Darwin Metcalf, previously manager of the Mountain Brook Village store, was president and chief operating officer.

In 1998, Western was the third largest grocery chain operating in Birmingham. In 2001, in an effort to compete against the many larger grocery chains, Western began tailoring each location to its area. This began with the renaming of the Festival Center location in Eastwood to FoodSmart by Western. The store's floral, seafood and deli departments were removed while a "Dollar Smart" section featuring items priced at $1 or less was added. Other examples of this local tailoring were the Mountain Brook store's extensive wine shop and the Highland Avenue location's large, "New York style" deli. Despite these adaptations, Western dropped to sixth among grocery chains operating in the city in 2003.

2001 also saw the loss of Western's then most profitable store, in Bluff Park, after the landlord decided not to renew the store's lease. The location had been there since 1967.

In 2016, the Mountain Brook Village store moved to a new location in the Lane Parke development. The original store, opened in 1959, closed at the end of the day on October 8 and the ribbon cutting for the new store took place on October 13. The new store, at 28,300 square feet, was about 5,000 square feet larger than the old one. The Lane Parke store offered an expanded deli and meat section, a mezzanine with a dining area, fresh-baked cookies, Heavenly Donuts, a growler station with 12 beer taps, and a small conference room available for community meetings.

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