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Nash Finch to buy Rapid City Albertsons
Larry Amann loads groceries into the back of his truck Friday after shopping at Albertsons in downtown Rapid City. Nash Finch has bought the Albertsons store, which will bring the number of their stores in Rapid City to five. (Ryan Soderlin, Journal staff)

After 24 years in Rapid City, the Albertsons supermarket name will disappear at the corner of West Boulevard and Omaha Street. A Family Thrift Center sign will take its place.

Nash Finch Co., Family Thrift's Minneapolis parent company, announced Friday that it has struck a deal to buy the Rapid City and Scottsbluff, Neb., Albertsons stores.

"These stores strengthen our existing supermarket base overall, and specifically in the case of Rapid City," Michael Mills, vice president of Nash Finch Retail Operations, said. "We look forward to welcoming these stores to our network, and we are very excited to serve the many loyal customers shopping at these supermarkets."

Nash Finch has four supermarkets in Rapid City: Family Thrift Centers in Baken Park and on East St. Patrick St., Prairie Market on East Boulevard and the FTC Express on Sturgis Road. In addition, the company has a large distribution center in Rapid City.

Shopper Larry Amann, who was loading groceries Friday afternoon at the Rapid City Albertsons, said he hadn't heard about the announcement. And he said the deal won't likely change his shopping habits. "I know where things are," he said.

Amann said he usually splits his grocery buying between Albertsons and Family Thrift Center. He likes Albertsons. "It's handy - but it is more expensive. If I were married, I expect my wife would be saying, `Why are you going there?'" Amann said, chuckling.

Will a fifth Nash Finch supermarket steal sales from its existing stores? Nash Finch spokesman Brian Numainville said no.

"We've evaluated that market, and we feel there's room for us to have that store there," he said. "We certainly want to expand our offerings in the market and have that available."

Nash Finch's Scottsbluff store will be the company's first store in that Nebraska city.

The seller is Albertsons LLC, a limited liability company that operates 325 supermarkets, mostly in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain region.

"Both the Rapid City and Scottsbluff locations were geographically not really a good fit," Christine Wilcox, a spokeswoman for Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons LLC, said.

In January, the company completed the sale of its eight Wyoming stores to Supervalu. That further isolated Rapid City and Scottsbluff from the company's service territory, Wilcox said.

Last month's deal included two stores each in Casper and Cheyenne and one each in Cody, Gillette, Laramie and Sheridan. Supervalu already had Albertsons stores in Rock Springs and Jackson.

Albertsons LLC was created two years ago after Albertsons Inc., the nation's second-largest supermarket chain, was broken up and sold off to different groups. The old Albertsons had struggled nationally in the face of increasingly stiff competition from Wal-Mart Supercenters and other grocery-selling discount stores.

Supervalu ended up with the Albertsons name and 1,100 of the best-performing stores. CVS, a pharmacy chain, acquired about 700 Albertsons-owned Sav-on and Osco pharmacies.

The newly formed Albertsons LLC ended up with more than 600 stores. It licenses the Albertsons' name from Supervalu. Through closures, sell-offs and other deals, Albertsons LLC has pared its holdings to about 325 supermarkets.

Contact Dan Daly at 394-8421 or

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