Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Seessel's by Albertsons Complete Store List (1998-2002)

This is an auxiliary post of the full Albertsons Mid-South Division (4700 Series) Complete Store List. For more information on that, and to view the table in its entirety, please click this link.

The image shown below is an excerpt from the full Albertsons 4700 Series table featuring exclusively the Seessel's by Albertsons stores that the company operated between 1998 and 2002. Seessel's was a family-owned, locally-run Memphis grocery chain that was in operation as early as 1858. In the modern era, its oldest building dated to 1965, located along Union Avenue in Midtown Memphis. It continued to grow in both number of stores and popularity among Memphians and Mid-Southerners until the mid-1990s, when the chain left the hands of its family and was sold to supermarket operator Bruno's. Soon after, Albertsons bought the ten-store Seessel's chain from Bruno's in 1998, and subsequently used it as a catalyst to enter the Memphis area grocery market. All told, Albertsons invested heavily in resetting and remodeling the existing Seessel's stores, but also pruned some out by closing them (they also closed Seessel's beloved central bakery and commissary just one year after the purchase), and opened many more new stores in the area which were essentially carbon copies of regular Albertsons stores of the time, just with the Seessel's nameplate on them instead. In other words, what made Seessel's special was arguably removed under Albertsons's ownership.

Even larger than the problem of the changes Seessel's was experiencing were the problems plaguing parent company Albertsons themselves. In 2001, under new leadership, Albertsons quickly shed 165 underperforming stores. Not much later, the exodus hit the Mid-South. Albertsons announced in April 2002 that they would soon close down their entire Mid-South division, including all of the Seessel's stores. By June of that same year, Seessel's was no more, and a majority of the stores were operating as newly-minted Schnucks locations.

At least as far as this blog is concerned, Memphis and its metropolitan area represent the heart of the Mid-South, so regardless of the fact that Albertsons also included Nashville and Chattanooga in their Mid-South division, their Memphis-area stores are my primary focus. Not to mention that I've also been dedicated to Seessel's research: for a much more detailed history on their history from the late 1990s to present-day, please check out my essay, The Aftermath of Seessel's. Hence, I'm happy that AFB's 4700 Series table, by default, also acts as a complete listing of Seessel's stores during the era of Albertsons ownership, from 1998 to 2002.

Interestingly, the Seessel's portion of the division provided Albertsons with both their longest- and shortest-lasting Mid-South stores. The aforementioned Union Avenue store, for example, was among the first in the division: Albertsons assumed operations of Seessel's in January 1998, and as such, the eight stores of the initial ten that made it through to the end of Albertsons's reign survived all four years of the short-lived division. In contrast, the Whitehaven store, which Albertsons built new and opened in February 2002, lasted not even four months under their ownership.

Again, below is a screenshot of the full Albertsons Mid-South Division table compiled by Albertsons Florida Blog and myself, edited to include only the Seessel's stores. Information on each store includes its store number under Albertsons, its address, and a detailed history of the location. Click the image to enlarge, and be sure to view the full table and its accompanying blog post at the link provided at the top of this post.

If you are on the desktop version of the MSRB, you may wish to open the image in a new tab instead in order to enlarge it.

To view the Nashville excerpt of the full table, please click here. To view the Chattanooga excerpt of the full table, please click here. To view the full table over at the Albertsons Florida Blog, please click here.

If you have any information you'd like to share on the history of these stores, please feel free to do so in the comments below or by email at midsouthretailblog [at] gmail [dot] com!

Have fun exploring the retail world wherever you are!

Retail Retell

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