Remke markets buy six of Bigg's stores

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX10) - The grocery game here in town just got a little smaller for one chain. Bigg's will be downsizing five stores, but for another chain, it means new life. Remke Markets now have a new, six-store deal.

Even Remke's website touted their great news. An unprecedented expansion, complete with a list of frequently asked questions, like, will the fuel perks program stay around. The answer is "yes", according to store owner, Bill Remke.

And that the Bigg's name may also be staying around, as least for a little while anyway.

"It's a great day at Remke's," said Bill Remke happily. "It is, everybody's excited."

Employees are pumped-up over a big expansion. Six new stores have been added to the seven in the Remke chain.

But does that mean the death of a "little giant", Bigg's, in the local grocery game?

"Well I surely hope not because what we hope to do is bring the best of both worlds together," said Bill Remke. He said the deal gives Bigg's owner, Supervalu and Remke's, a strong hand to hold in this economy. It also gives them a presence back in Ohio.

"We see an opportunity here what we'll be doing is interviewing all Bigg's employees," said Remke. "All of 'em."

Supervalu will close the five remaining Bigg's stores by the end of June.

The Brigg's HyperMarket at Turfway Square in Boone County, is one of the stores that will be closing, but folks who enjoy shopping at Bigg's can still do so on the Ohio side of the river, because at least initially, the Bigg's name is not going away.

"We believe we'll stick with the Bigg's name in those current stores," said Remke. "We'll stick with the Remke name in our current stores and then eventually, as we assimilate all this information out, how it's gonna come together, what that new thing will be."

News of the expansion gave meat wrapper Kim Arnold, hope to go back to school.

"So I can be management here one day," Arnold said. "I started out in the bakery, told me to move to the meat department, more hours more money, and to be honest with you this is the longest I've worked at a job."

It's the feeling of family Arnold said. In a place where local family-owned brands like LaRosa's, Pompillio's, Montgomery Inn, all happily reside, side-by-side on the shelves.

"Bakery line one please," said the announcer in Remke. "Bakery line one."

It's also where Buskins and Servatti hold court in Remke's bakery.

"Been shopping here since the mid-70's," said Dave Vittetoe. "Customer service is tremendous, Bill Remke's a great guy, does a lot of community service."

He considers Remke a friend, never to busy to shake a hand.

"I love that," said Tonya Reynolds. "I think the people are much more personable and friendly and helpful and when you ask, they don't just point, they actually take you to the aisle, pick up the product and hand it to you instead of saying its that way on aisle 5."

Supervalu's President Janel Haugarth said the company is looking forward to helping strengthen Remke's position in the local marketplace. Supervalu will supply Remke stores from it's Xenia distribution center.

You can read all of Remke's frequently-asked-questions by clicking here:

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