Save Mart Supermarkets, headquartered in Modesto, has been purchased by Kingswood Capital Management LP, an operationally- focused private equity firm based in Los Angeles, with significant experience in the retail sector.
The Save Mart Companies operates stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California, and FoodMaxx. In addition to its retail operation, the company also operates SMART Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries, which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop, and the Sunnyside Farms dairy processing plant in Turlock.
With the addition of The Save Mart Companies, Kingswood is expanding its existing Northern California presence. It already owns Alameda-based Cost Plus World Market, which it acquired in January 2021 from Bed Bath and Beyond, and Mare Island based Lind Marine, a diversified marine services business headquartered north of the San Francisco Bay, which it recapitalized in January 2022.
“I’m excited for this opportunity with Kingswood to invest in and grow The Save Mart Companies family of stores,” said Chris McGarry, CEO of The Save Mart Companies. “The Piccinini family did a tremendous job in fostering a commitment to innovation and service as they built and grew this company in the Central Valley and throughout California. As a result, we have great stores and a committed team of 14,000 employees who provide fantastic local products and are wonderful stewards of the communities in which they live and work. While this change in ownership will be transparent to our team and customers, we know that this investment will benefit them and the communities we serve.”
“At Kingswood, our goal is to make good businesses even better, and The Save Mart Companies presents us with a great opportunity to do so,” said Alex Wolf, Managing Partner and Founder of Kingswood. “Their 70 years of history in the Central Valley provides a strong foundation for future profitable growth, and we look forward to working with Chris and the team to position these iconic grocery brands for the future.”
Days after announcing the acquisition, The Save Mart Companies and Kingswood Capital Management, LP announced that Shane Sampson has been named executive chairman of the California-based, regional grocery retailer.
Sampson is a fourth-generation grocer who brings nearly four decades of experience to The Save Mart Companies in building brands, implementing innovative marketing and merchandising programs, and leading strategic operations.
He started his career in a local grocery store as a retail clerk and learned the grocery business from the ground up, which culminated in being named Albertsons Companies’ Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer.
“The Save Mart Companies team has built a wonderful operation in the Central Valley of California throughout their 70 years of serving their customers and communities,” said Sampson. “The family and leadership team have done a tremendous job in establishing and perpetuating a commitment to innovation and service, and I think there is an exceptional opportunity to invest in and grow The Save Mart Companies’ brands. I’m excited to join the company at such a pivotal time for the Save Mart, FoodMaxx, and Lucky California stores. I’m looking forward to leading the team into the next phase of growth and innovation and beyond.”
“We are thrilled to have Shane on the team,” said Wolf. “His retail acumen is unparalleled, and he has driven results across all the companies he’s been a part of leading. We’re looking forward to leveraging his significant retail experience into The Save Mart Companies’ operations.”
This year marks the 70th year of Save Mart Companies. It began in 1952 with the first store on Crow’s Landing Road in Modesto and today it employs more than 14,000 team members across its 200 stores, distribution centers, and in the Store Support Centers.
The 1980s saw the creation of FoodMaxx, the company’s value-format style grocery stores. In 2007, The Save Mart Companies acquired and restored the Lucky banner in 66 stores located in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2015, the company embarked on a brand re-positioning of Lucky stores to Lucky California.
Through its partnership with Instacart, the home delivery service, the company was the first conventional grocer in Northern California to offer electronic benefit transfer (EBT) payments, allowing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries to utilize Instacart’s same-day grocery delivery and pickup services at Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx locations.
In October 2019, the Save Mart Companies celebrated the opening of their new flagship store on Oakdale Road in Modesto. The store featured sliced-to-order produce preparation, ground-to-order sausage-making, marinated- and grilled-to-order meats, a nut station that offers fresh-made peanut butter and locally sourced honey and maple syrup, a deli market with hot and cold selections, an olive oil station, among other services.
In 2020, the company launched an innovative, on-demand grocery delivery service to its customers in partnership with leading San Francisco-based robot delivery company Starship Technologies. The Save Mart Companies was the first grocer in the U.S. to launch the Starship autonomous robot delivery service at the Save Mart flagship store in Modesto.