TOMS RIVER, N.J. -- Wakefern Food Corp. continued its wholesale club experiment by opening another PriceRite miniclub here. Wakefern, a cooperative wholesaler based in Elizabeth, N.J., teamed with retail member Perlmart to open the PriceRite April 30 in a closed ShopRite supermarket. Perlmart manages the club's daily operations, while Wakefern provides merchandising, advertising and marketing support.
The new PriceRite, located behind a Bradlees discount store, reportedly is about 35,000 square feet. It carries a selection of hard goods and groceries resembling that of a traditional wholesale club, but in more consumer-friendly sizes.
PriceRite also charges no membership fee and accepts manufacturers' coupons.
Wakefern initiated similar warehouse-club ventures with retail members in late 1992. At the time it called the openings a response to the encroachment of wholesale clubs in the metropolitan New York area.
The experiments have met with mixed results. A Fishkill, N.Y., PriceRite, managed by Big V Supermarkets, Florida, N.Y., remains operational, but a New Jersey unit closed last November due to poor sales.
The Fishkill unit has survived the arrival of a BJ's Wholesale Club and a Sam's Club in neighboring Wappingers Falls, N.Y. "They're not setting the world on fire," a local observer said, "but they're certainly making it."