Belle Foods LLC was a short-lived family-owned operator of grocery stores. It was formed in 2012 as a partnership between Bill White and his son, Jeff, formerly of Keene, New Hampshire. They created the company to purchase and operate 57 grocery store locations formerly owned by Southern Family Markets in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.
The sale included stores operating as Food World, Piggly Wiggly, Bruno's and Southern Family Markets. The Whites moved from New England to Birmingham and operated from the former Bruno's / Southern Family Markets offices and distribution center at 800 Industrial Drive, off Lakeshore Parkway in Birmingham's Oxmoor neighborhood.
After the purchase, the Whites rebranded all the stores as Belle Foods. This move also included store renovations, with stores going with the green and purple color scheme of the company's logo, wider aisles, salad bars, expanded meat and seafood departments, and a "Belle Jr" childcare space. In 2013, the company announced it would cut several full-time positions and create new part-time positions in an effort to "right-size" the chain to meet industry standards. In July of that year, the company filed for bankruptcy protection and closed 13 of its 57 stores, only one of which was in the Birmingham area.
In September, Associated Wholesale Grocers of Kansas City, Kansas took over the company at auction with a $16.13 million stalking horse bid, which included a provision for buying the stores' inventory at a set discount.
- Kent, Dawn (February 7, 2012) "Birmingham-based grocery operator Southern Family Markets to sell its stores." The Birmingham News
- Kent, Dawn (February 8, 2012) "Father-son duo realize dream with purchase of Southern Family Markets stores." The Birmingham News
- Kent, Dawn (August 8, 2012) "Belle Foods begins renaming grocery stores as Bruno name disappears from Birmingham market." The Birmingham News
- Kent, Dawn (April 10, 2013) "Birmingham-based Belle Foods to hire 300 part-time employees and reduce its full-time workforce." The Birmingham News
- Poe, Ryan (July 5, 2013) "Belle Foods to close 13 stores in reorganization." Birmingham Business Journal
- Tomberlin, Michael (September 24, 2013) "Associated Wholesale Grocers has top bid for bankrupt Belle Foods." The Birmingham News