Hello, and once again, welcome to my website! Since you are here, you are likely interested in the former National Supermarkets chain, which Schnucks bought in 1995.
In the 1995 buyout, Schnucks bought both the St. Louis and New Orleans divisions of National, owned by Loblaw Co. of Canada. Schnucks, however, was not interested in expanding into New Orleans, and sold those stores to Schwegmann Giant Super Markets, Inc. of Metairie, Louisiana. Schwegmann has since sold the stores due to financial troubles. Back in St. Louis, Schnucks was not allowed to keep all 57 of the National stores. In order to prevent Schnucks from dominating the St. Louis market and creating a near monopoly, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) required Schnucks to divest itself of 24 supermarkets: 18 National stores, and 6 Schnucks stores. Schnucks operated these 24 stores from June, 1995 until March, 1996. It was then that The Family Company of America, comprised of former National executives, purchased 23 of the stores and reopened them as National Markets. The 24th store, National's Garden Market in Ladue (ironically, a former Schnucks store), was sold to Wild Oats Markets, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado.
While 18 of the stores were former Nationals, the "new" National did not use the familiar National logo as it was a trademark of Loblaw Co. Family Company, the new owner, aggressively remodeled several of the stores. In announcing its deal with Schnucks in 1996, Family executives touted that they were providing St. Louisans with freedom in where to shop for groceries. As a result, remodeled stores sported a "patriotic" theme. In watching news reports over the years, I have observed that the Fenton, Olive Boulevard, Reavis Barracks, St. Charles, and Southwest Avenue locations were upgraded to this theme.
While many St. Louisians (myself included!) were thrilled with the revival of National, it was short-lived. In 1997, Family Company closed 5 of the stores, claiming Schnucks sabotaged the stores in the 9 months it ran them. A sixth store, in Kirkwood, closed in 1998 when Family could no longer afford the rent on the building, owned by Schnucks.
National's final swan song came on April 12, 1999, when the remaining 17 stores closed as a result of Family Company declaring bankruptcy. St. Louisians came to learn that James Gibson, the principal owner of Family Company, had gambled with money from his clients. Gibson had also used this money to resurrect the National chain.
Many of the Nationals have been reopened as other businesses, from grocery stores to hardware stores. Some have been demolished to make way for new development.
An important note....please do not copy any files found on this site. Unfortunately, this has occurred in the past. Please request permission should you want to use any of my files. This is a hobby and involves my time, and to an extent, money. Please show me this courtesy. Also, please be aware that store data comes from multiple sources and can be updated frequently.
Even though National stores cease to physically exist, it is my hope to keep them alive in some form on my website. I hope you will find this site to be informative. I enjoy hearing comments from others who remember and mourn National as I do. If, while navigating this site, you have questions or find errors, please e-mail me. Have a great day, and remember..."You're important to us!"