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.
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.
- Five Points West (opened 1948)
- 116 South 26th Street, Leeds (opened January 23, 1963)
- Highland Plaza, 2230 Highland Avenue, Southside (closed 2019)
- Crestwood Shopping Center, 5512 Crestwood Boulevard (opened 1957 as 4th location)
- Mountain Brook Shopping Center, 2717 Culver Road (opened 1959, closed 2016)
- 945 Main Street, Gardendale (opened 1961; converted to Food Depot in 2009; closed March 24, 2018)
- 1620 Pinson (1957)
- 3592 Pelham Parkway, Pelham (opened 1960s, closed February 2017)
- 770 Shades Mountain Plaza, Bluff Park (1967-2001)
- Vestavia Hills Shopping Center, 612 Montgomery Highway
- 2512 Rocky Ridge Road, Vestavia Hills (relocated to Morgan Drive)
- 3150 Green Valley Road, Cahaba Heights (closed 2005)
- 220 Main Street, Trussville
- 1916 Center Point Parkway, Center Point (closed 1980s)
- 3350 Morgan Drive, Vestavia Hills (bought from Winn-Dixie in 1996, remodeled 2014, closed 2019, demolished for new Publix supermarket)
- Crestwood Festival Center, 7309 Crestwood Boulevard (rebranded as FoodSmart in 1998)
- 7737 2nd Avenue South, East Lake: (rebranded as The Village Market in 1998, bought by Harvest Market in 2019)
- 1887 Hoover Court, Hoover (closed 2003, demolished for a new Publix Supermarket)
- 5960 Chalkville Mountain Road (closed 2005)
- Lane Parke, 1000 Jemison Lane, Mountain Brook (opened 2016, converted to Publix GreenWise Market in 2019)
- 3201 Avenue W, Ensley
- "At Age 50, Western Savors Role of Home-Owned Supermarket" (July 28, 1998) The Birmingham News
- Mahoney, Ryan (October 31, 2003) "Western Supermarkets carves niche market." Birmingham Business Journal
- "About Western Supermarkets" at westernsupermarkets.com - accessed December 11, 2006
- Mahoney, Ryan (December 5, 2003) "Publix passes Western in local grocery wars." Birmingham Business Journal
- "Neighborhood Loses Only Grocery" (July 13, 2001) The Birmingham News
- Williams, Roy L. (August 20, 2008) "Western Supermarkets hits 60-year milestone." The Birmingham News
- Hubbard, Russell (May 31, 2009) "Birmingham Western Supermarkets CEO Ken Hubbard says local flavor still works as larger rivals knock each other off." The Birmingham News
- Smith, Adam (June 17, 2009) "Store has new name, new look." North Jefferson News
- Turcsik, Richard (October 1, 2014) "The Lone Ranger" Winsight Grocery Business
- Poe, Kelly (December 9, 2014) "Who goes grocery shopping at 2:45 a.m.? My night at the Western." The Birmingham News
- Poe, Kelly (October 7, 2016) "Mountain Brook Western Market announces grand opening" The Birmingham News
- Steere, Tim (January 19, 2017) "Suburban grocery store to close" Birmingham Business Journal
- Thornton, William (January 4, 2019) "Western Supermarkets closing marks end of era." The Birmingham News