More than the signs have changed at most of the Compare Foods stores on Long Island.
Seven of the grocery stores in the Northeast, including four on Long Island, recently switched to the name Gala Foods since their parent company is using a new wholesale supplier, said Jenny Jorge, vice president of operations for Gala Foods.
The stores’ owner, Aurora Grocery Group, switched to a new licensing agreement with Staten Island-based cooperative Key Food. The seven Compare stores are undergoing about $1 million in renovations and will offer an expanded product mix, Jorge said.
The stores’ employees and ownership will remain the same, she said.
“We don’t want to lose that family atmosphere that we’ve built. We don’t want to lose that kind of neighborhood store feeling,” she said.
Compare Foods stores are conventional groceries that also offer a wide selection of ethnic foods, such as those from Latin America and the Caribbean.
There are two Compare Foods stores on Long Island — in Patchogue and Wyandanch — that are not owned by Aurora Grocery Group.
The seven stores that are changing names and undergoing renovations include two in Freeport, at 120 N. Main St. and 111 W. Merrick Rd., and two in Brentwood, at 725 Commack Rd. and 1925 Brentwood Rd. Also, two of the stores are in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and one is in Worcester, Massachusetts.
The changes include interior remodeling, upgrades to point-of-sale systems and improved online shopping that will allow customers to order groceries for delivery or store pickup, said an Aurora Grocery Group spokeswoman, Katherine A. Cardenas.
Aurora Grocery Group, a family-owned, Charlotte, North Carolina-based company, began licensing its initial locations under the Compare Foods name about 30 years ago, the company said in a statement.
The Compare Foods name is owned by Associated Supermarket Group, a Port Washington-based consortium that provides financing, marketing and other services to grocery stores, said Michelle Mendoza, an Associated spokeswoman.
To streamline operations and distribution channels, Aurora added the seven affected Compare Foods stores to its own Gala Foods banner this month. The company now operates nine stores under the Gala Foods name.
Aurora, which still has 10 Compare Foods stores in North Carolina, operates 23 stores under the Compare Foods, Gala Foods and GalaFresh Farms names in five states.
Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at email@example.com.