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We continue to get emails about the possible sale of industry icon Ukrop’s.

MNB user Bill White wrote:

A couple of points about Ukrop's: First, if you knew Bobby Ukrop well, you would know that he will not under any circumstance compromise his values and open on Sunday and sell alcoholic beverages in his stores. It just won't happen. Period.

Secondly, to your comment about Supervalu buying them and merging them into their Bristol Farms chain - I beg to differ. Having worked for Ron Dennis at Richfood/Farm Fresh in the period just after Farm Fresh's bankruptcy, I would suggest that the best move they could make would be to merge it into Farm Fresh and let Ron Dennis run the combined entity. Ron is a very well-kept secret in the Supervalu organization who desires to live in Virginia Beach, and has turned down much bigger offers to relocate. I don't know Kevin Davis, but Ron is undoubtedly the smartest, most-disciplined person I have ever met in this industry. The job he has done at Farm Fresh is nothing short of remarkable, and can only be appreciated if you had been there shortly after the Mike Julian days and the subsequent acquisition by Richfood.

But then, this is probably all supposition, because we all know that Supervalu has their own problems and mountain of debt that they need to reduce...

MNB user Robert Wheaton wrote:

No question, Ukrop's does many good things for its customers, community and employees. Customer service i.e. carryout, charitable contributions, prepared food offerings and local farm purchases to name just a few. There is a generation in Richmond, Virginia that remembers and practices the genteel, polite, non-rushed southern way of doing things. Long time Richmond residents and customers love Ukrop's for that type of shopping experience.

But, you know what, that lifestyle and generational group is shrinking fast.

Transfers to the area, working families, to name just two constituencies perhaps look beyond the 'friendly associates' and instead see associates chatting up with their friends while other customers wait in line for service. Family ownership doesn't overcome staple stock conditions and inconsistent sale product availability. The Ukrop’s commitment to their ethical or moral standard, can be interpreted by those of a different religious persuasion as an affront - (have you seen the sign at the front of
each store???). All stores closed on Sunday steers even "Christian" working families to find a more convenient shopping experience. No beer and wine availability is an inconvenience to many and perhaps a deal breaker to some.

All that said, years ago, under the guise of 'taking care of our customers' centrally located stores could have been opened to service the needs of Ukrop shoppers who sometimes just can't make it Monday-Saturday and only between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. My bet would have been there would have been associates who would not objected to a Sunday assignment.

Ukrop is/was a good company with a wonderful reputation, but, in my opinion, hasn't read second millennium customer needs and wants and reacted appropriately. Sad.

It is worth reading this email very carefully. It expresses a sentiment about Ukrop’s that is not often talked about…and deserves consideration, especially that bit about not understanding the needs and wants of the current generation of shoppers.

Which every retailer has to do. And which is difficult, even more the most iconic of retailers.

MNB user Shari Reed wrote:

A long time ago (late 80's early 90's) I represented a product called Gortons Fish. We were not able to sell our Beer Battered Fish in Ukrop’s because it contained the word Beer! But you have to admire the consistency of Ukrop’s over the years. They have their principles and stick with them. GREAT stores! (If I remember correctly the employees were wearing black pants, crisp white shirts with black cummerbunds and bow ties. It just made you feel good to shop there!)

Regarding my opposition to the card check proposal that is part of the Employee Free Choice Act, MNB user Len Abeyta wrote:

Why are you opposed to this legislation? Seems pretty simple to me. Majority rules right? Employers should give their employees that right. Seems pretty simple to me. But you being a Walmart apologist, I am not surprised at all that you are against this.

Walmart might be surprised by that description.

However, my opposition is to the pat of the legislation that does not require a secret ballot election if management requests it. The secret ballot, it seems to me, is quintessentially American…and I don't know why union leadership is afraid of it. (Actually, I do know…)

For the record, Mrs. Content Guy is a union member. I am not anti-union. But I am against unions that don't seem to be in touch with economic realities, that make unrealistic demands, and that seem more on obtaining and maintaining political power than in the long-term best interests of their membership.
KC's View: