SAN DIEGO -- The process of selling 20 Big Bear stores here to prospective Fleming Cos. customers has been slower than anticipated, according to Robert E. Stauth, chairman and chief executive of the Oklahoma City-based wholesaler.
Fleming agreed last October to help finance the sale of 20 of Big Bear's 24 stores to independent operators in an effort to secure their volume for Fleming and to develop an IGA program here.
While four of the 20 units have been sold to independent operators and are being supplied by Fleming, the rest are still owned by Big Bear Super Markets here and continue to be supplied by Certified Grocers of California, the Los Angeles-based member-owned cooperative. However, the sale of four or five more units is now pending, said Stauth.
In a separate transaction, Big Bear sold four of its 24 stores to Albertson's, Boise, Idaho, and these have already reopened under the Albertson's banner. Big Bear officials couldn't be reached for comment. According to Stauth, Fleming's arrangement with Big Bear "was to bring independents to the table, after which it was up to Big Bear to close the deal. However, things have not gone as well as we thought they would."
Stauth said there were some disagreements over price and some buyers were screened out of the process.
Fleming's aim in helping Big Bear sell the stores was to create an IGA program in southern California, concentrated mainly in San Diego. "We thought it would be a great area for IGA, and we still think so," Stauth said.