Belle Foods, Food World Stores File Bankruptcy

July 2, 2013

Belle Foods, operator of six grocery stores in Pensacola, Atmore and Brewton under the Belle Foods and Food World names, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday.

The chain has a total of 57 stores and over 2,800 employees, has debts of $10 to $50 million and assets within the same range, according to court documents.

The company cited difficulties with paying creditors from revenues as the reason for bankruptcy.

““Additionally, higher payroll taxes in 2013 have led to a decline in purchases by the (Belle’s) customer base,” the court filing said. “Furthermore, (Belle) has also seen an increased amount of competition in several of its markets from other grocers. With older locations, Debtor has had difficulty competing with the newer grocery stores that have moved into its markets.”

Belle operates stores under the Belle Foods, Piggly Wiggly and Food World names in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Most of the stores were purchases from Southern Family Markets in June 2012. Southern Family took control of numerous Food World and Bruno’s stores after a Birmingham grocer filed for bankruptcy.

The Food World in Atmore and the Piggly Wiggly in Brewton were rebranded as Belle Foods in January.

Editor’s note: The Piggly Wiggly store in Davisville is not owned by Belle Foods.

Pictured top: The Belle Foods store in Atmore. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

Comments

16 Responses to “Belle Foods, Food World Stores File Bankruptcy”

  1. David Huie Green on July 4th, 2013 3:56 pm

    REGARDING:
    “they need to stop letting people use wic and food stamps at the big chain stores and only be allowed to use them at smaller stores that are struggling. That would keep people working and help out the struggling stores.”

    So you believe instead of being a means of feeding the hungry children so they grow up healthy, that it should be used as a tool to pick winners and losers in businesses? If someone lived near a big chain store, you would have them drive further to find a small store which charged higher prices and had a smaller selection?

    AND
    “I ran out of white whole wheat flour and went to in Food Giant in Century. I knew I couldn’t get organic or non-GMO flour, so I thought that they’d surely have white whole wheat and it be conventionally grown. Nope. All the white flour you could hope for and a few whole wheat flour selections, but not white whole wheat.”

    Genetically modified food is the tastiest.

    White whole wheat is bleached flour, thereby deprived of nutrients. I guess it’s prettier if you don’t care about food value and like white over brown, but …. Never mind, your money, your choice.

    David for simple goals,
    better food, freedom

  2. Publix Mom on July 2nd, 2013 8:26 pm

    We only shop at Publix, Krogers and certain Winn-Dixies. Nothing can come close to Publix or Krogers. Regardless of your personal beliefs, Publix and Krogers have modeled their business practices after Chick-Fil-A, which of course is a highly successful organization with thousand of satisfied and dedicated employees.

  3. Charlie on July 2nd, 2013 8:18 pm

    No comments from Wallmart shoppers? To busy shopping there and complaining about the local stores closing! Comment by a local fish farmer put out of business by imports

  4. Jimmy on July 2nd, 2013 7:08 pm

    Great now Brewton will have 3 empty grocery store buildings. 1) Winn Dixie 2) Piggly Wiggly in Alco and now 3) Belle Foods in the old Food Fair Building. To many empty buildings.

  5. Leila Pouncey on July 2nd, 2013 6:19 pm

    Start at the top: BI-LO owned all these stores as part of Royal Ahold, Ahold USA. They sold them to C&S under the holding company of Lone Star Investments of Texas. C&S formed the Southern Family chain just prior to hurricane Katrina, and then changed some of the stores to the Piggly Wiggly banner when the changing economy gave the new name a bad start. BI-LO wouldn’t want back what they once owned, and as C&S owns Southern Family Markets, then the entire bill goes to Keene, New Hampshire. I worked for them for over 11 years, and am glad to be away. I do feel for my co-workers who stayed thinking someone would make the company viable again.

  6. Ohyeah on July 2nd, 2013 5:40 pm

    Winn Dixie/Bi Lo just bought 3 chains (165) in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina last month. They are on the upswing and looking to continue to grow. Do not be surprised if they snatch up a few of these locations really cheap. They now have a pocket full of cash.

  7. Sam on July 2nd, 2013 4:38 pm

    Walmart is a grocery shopping nightmare 24/7. Pushing, shoving, screaming and unattended children. I love Publix and Winn Dixie. I can remember my Mom shopping Winn Dixie as a small child. I’m pulling for Winn Dixie as we frequent it most often due to convenience.

  8. greylady on July 2nd, 2013 3:33 pm

    I defer to William on C&S. Once the Bruno family got out of the business, then things got crazy within the company. Reviews of the holding companies and new owners were not good. Evidently C&S skirts on the edge of a monopoly with the smaller regional chains.

  9. William on July 2nd, 2013 2:34 pm

    >>Go on line and check out C&S Foods from Keene, NH. This is going to be the main creditor for Belle Foods.

    Actually it’s not. The main creditor Southern Family Markets for $28 million. They owe C&S Wholesale about $6 million.

  10. greylady on July 2nd, 2013 2:27 pm

    At one time, I depended on Food World for all the meats I bought. About 4 months ago, they started selling beef imported from Mexico, and two or three grades of chicken. If you look at chicken products you will see that it may contain from 2-13% retained water from processing. Sanderson Farms had the lowest water content, and FW began advertising Sanderson Farms chickens, and chicken parts, but when you went to the store you found the chicken was an off brand that may have more than 10% added water. Usually the off brand was only about 5% cheaper than Sanderson Farms.
    Go on line and check out C&S Foods from Keene, NH. This is going to be the main creditor for Belle Foods. This is a venture capital and wholesale grocery company that buys out struggling companies and like so many other of these venture capital companies drags the stores into the ground and destroys them. The company finally sells off all assets, pockets the money and leaves the employees without a job. It may come back as a cut rate store with inferior products.

  11. Elizabeth on July 2nd, 2013 2:22 pm

    Publix’s slogan is “Where shopping is a pleasure” and it is so true. I love that place. If you can’t find an item, a clerk will *always* walk with you and find it for you. If they don’t carry it, they will try special order it for you, no matter how exotic. Walmart, on the other hand, leaves me stressed out. Another commenter mentioned Winn-Dixie and I hope that Winn-Dixie doesn’t fold. They filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection years back. The WD I frequent in Pace offers several organic selections,the store is nice and clean, and the staff is friendly.

    Unfortunately, I never do my major grocery shopping at local grocery stores. They don’t have the selections that I like. For example, I was in a pinch last week when I ran out of white whole wheat flour and went to in Food Giant in Century. I knew I couldn’t get organic or non-GMO flour, so I thought that they’d surely have white whole wheat and it be conventionally grown. Nope. All the white flour you could hope for and a few whole wheat flour selections, but not white whole wheat. That is just one example. Honestly, half the trips I make to local stores are wasted because they don’t have a lot of variety. I understand that the local guys don’t have the buying power that bigger chains have, but I go where I can find what I need.

  12. taxpayer on July 2nd, 2013 1:42 pm

    they need to stop letting people use wic and food stamps at the big chain stores and only be allowed to use them at smaller stores that are struggling. That would keep people working and help out the stuggling stores.

  13. rhonda on July 2nd, 2013 12:44 pm

    Please don’t put Publix in the same class with Walmart.

    They are a very good grocery store chain…who started out small, treated their customers and employees right….and are now reaping the benefits.

    Walmart—don’t even get me started. I refuse to shop there and support them.
    and don’t tell me they are cheaper.

    I can use my coupons and shop the BOGO at Publix…and come out cheaper and less stressed than a trip to a Walmart Zoo.

  14. CW on July 2nd, 2013 12:12 pm

    These smaller companies just can’t compete with Wal-Mart and Publix. I feel it’s only a matter of time before Winn-Dixie (now Bi-Lo) folds.

  15. Robert S. on July 2nd, 2013 7:47 am

    Hope this does not mean closing of the Food World stores.
    Lots of good people work there and I’d hate to see them lose their jobs.
    For some, the Food World is their only source of income.
    Always make it a point to buy there to try and keep them going.

  16. baebae on July 2nd, 2013 7:39 am

    Hope this does not mean the ATMORE store will close…I enjoy shopping there..Lets support them all we can





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