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King Kullen

A Thankful Sign: King Kullen Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Initiatives Tracey Cullen (top) stands alongside the new King Kullen Place street sign. Joining Cullen are, from left, Long Island Cares/Harry Chapin Food Bank CEO Paule T. Pachter; King Kullen VP of Perishables Richard Conger; Wild by Nature President Michael Infantolino; and LI Cares VP for Development & Communications Katherine Fritz.

Each month, Long Island Cares distributes over one million pounds of food to Long Islanders in need. The food items are collected, stored, and packaged for distribution at Long Island Cares’ central warehouse in Hauppauge, which now boasts an exciting new addition — a “King Kullen Place” street sign displayed high above a main aisle.

The recognition is part of a unique legacy naming program developed by the Long Island Cares/Harry Chapin Food Bank to further its mission to provide food where and when it’s needed to communities across Long Island.

“King Kullen has been a generous, committed corporate supporter of Long Island Cares for well over 30 years,” stated Long Island Cares/Harry Chapin Food Bank Chief Executive Officer Paule T. Pachter. “Along with its Wild by Nature stores, King Kullen each year raises tens of thousands of dollars for Long Island Cares through its ‘Check Out Hunger’ campaigns and food drives in addition to donating over 300,000 pounds of food. We are honored and delighted to name an aisle King Kullen Place in appreciation of this steadfast partner that has done so much to help Long Island’s food insecure populations.”

According to Tracey Cullen, King Kullen Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Initiatives and the great-granddaughter of King Kullen founder Michael Cullen, the new sign follows a recent donation by King Kullen to Long Island Cares’ “Giving Guitar” naming opportunity, which includes displaying a King Kullen plaque on a Giving Guitar created by Long Island Cares in honor of songwriter Harry Chapin’s mission to end hunger on Long Island.

“Our donation will provide 6,100 meals for Long Islanders in need,” observed Cullen, who serves on the Long Island Cares board of directors. “Fighting hunger on Long Island is a top priority at King Kullen and Wild by Nature. We are committed to making a meaningful difference and thank everyone at Long Island Cares for creating the pathway that makes help possible.”

Headquartered in Hauppauge, King Kullen is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as America’s first supermarket. Also headquartered in Hauppauge, Long Island Cares was founded in 1980 by singer-songwriter and activist, Harry Chapin.

Carolann Maroney

King Kullen Grocery Co., Inc. has hired Carolann Maroney of Sound Beach as Director of Human Resources. Maroney, a human resources veteran with decades of experience, is proficient in union and non-unionized environments. The announcement was made by King Kullen Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Secretary Bernard P. Kennedy.

“We are very pleased to welcome Carolann and look forward to her many contributions to our human resources department and workforce,” said Kennedy. “Carolann is a seasoned professional with a diverse background that includes employee relations, talent acquisition and management, benefits and compensation, strategic planning, safety programs, and leave management. I know everyone at King Kullen joins me in welcoming her and looks forward to meeting Carolann as she visits our stores to engage with our team and associates.”

Maroney comes to King Kullen from Clare Rose Beverage where she served as Human Resources Director. 

Elizabeth Ostrove

King Kullen Grocery Co., Inc. has named Elizabeth Ostrove of Smithtown Chief Financial Officer. In her 36-year career with King Kullen, Ostrove has held a number of senior positions, most recently serving as Vice President & Controller of  Finance. The announcement was made by King Kullen President & Chief Operating Officer Joseph W. Brown following a vote by the King Kullen Board of Directors.

“Liz has overseen the Accounting, Finance and Payroll Departments for many years and has been involved in a number of complex initiatives throughout her tenure with King Kullen,” said Brown. “She is a dedicated employee who consistently gives her all to every task, project, and assignment. Her contributions to the King Kullen organization are considerable and I know everyone joins me in congratulating Liz on her new role as Chief Financial Officer.”

Headquartered in Hauppauge, King Kullen is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as American’s first supermarket. Founded in 1930 by Michael J. Cullen, King Kullen operates 29 supermarkets and five Wild by Nature stores in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

From left, King Kullen Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Initiatives Tracey Cullen; Family and Children’s Association Vice President and Chief Development Officer Craig L. Pinto; and King Kullen Vice President Perishables Richard Conger. Photo from King Kullen

King Kullen Grocery Co. has donated $10,000 to benefit summer camp programs for disadvantaged children in Nassau and Suffolk counties, a tradition begun by King Kullen more than three decades ago.

The donation will be divided evenly between Family & Children’s Association and Family Service League.

“Camp provides a stimulating and fun environment where children can learn new activities and meet other children their age,” King Kullen president and COO Joseph W. Brown said in a company statement. “King Kullen’s gift will help fund scholarships for children whose families lack the resources for summer camp. It’s a great opportunity and we thank our customers for helping to make the donation possible through our ‘Send A Kid to Camp’ campaign.” 

All King Kullen and Wild by Nature stores are participating in this summer’s scanned coupon “Send a Kid to Camp” program, allowing customers to contribute $5, $2, or $1 at the register.

“The gifts we receive from individuals and corporations like King Kullen make it possible for us to provide these wonderful experiences for Long Island’s young people,” said Family and Children’s Association Vice President and Chief Development Officer Craig L. Pinto. “We thank King Kullen for all their support over the years.” 

Family Service League Chief Development Officer Jonathan Chenkin also said his group is grateful for the donation.

“These camps are often the highlight of the year for the children we help,” he said.

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker visited three local supermarket stores in March to distribute COVID-19 at-home test kits to their employees. She met with managers and employees of the Stop and Shops in Rocky Point and Miller Place, as well as the King Kullen in Middle Island, where she distributed over 700 test kits between the three stores. 

This effort follows Legislator Anker’s recent Drive-Thru Test Kit Distribution event which was open to all residents, as well as the dissemination of boxes of test kit to the various senior communities and day care centers in the area.

“I want to thank the essential workers of our local supermarkets, who worked tirelessly throughout the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is my hope that these COVID-19 test-kits will help to keep the stores’ workers and patrons safe and healthy as we start to work our way back to a sense of normalcy,” said Legislator Anker.

“I also want to express my appreciation for our Local Unions 338 and 1500, who represent the workers of Stop and Shop and King Kullen. Through these challenging times, our local unions have continued to dedicate themselves to ensuring workers and their families are protected and supported,” she said.

King Kullen recently came to the aid of Long Islanders in need by hosting its annual in-store “Check Out Hunger” campaign, raising $23,000.  The campaign ran in all King Kullen and Wild by Nature stores. The money was donated to the Long Island Cares/Harry Chapin Food Bank, which has served the hungry on Long Island since 1980.

“The need for emergency food supplies on Long Island was never greater than in 2020. The pandemic and weakened economy impacted families and people of all ages throughout Nassau and Suffolk,” said King Kullen Executive Vice President Joseph W. Brown, who also serves as President, Wild by Nature Markets, and Past Board President of Long Island Cares. 

“Once again, Long Island Cares helped provide food where and when it was needed, and our customers again contributed to the ‘Check Out Hunger’ campaign. King Kullen and Wild by Nature have been proud to support Long Island Cares for many years and remain committed to fighting hunger on Long Island,” he added.

In 1997, King Kullen was the first supermarket chain to participate in the annual “Check Out Hunger” campaign, a unique partnership between Long Island Cares and the shopping community in which customers can make a donation with a coupon when checking out at the supermarket register. One hundred percent of all donations go to Long Island Cares.

“King Kullen and Wild by Nature have made a meaningful difference in the fight against hunger,” observed Long Island Cares/Harry Chapin Food Bank Chief Executive Officer Paule T. Pachter.  “Their customers continue to generously support our mission and we are forever grateful for their support all these years.”

The King Kullen in St. James. File photo by Phil Corso

Stop & Shop’s long-pending acquisition of King Kullen is no more. The announcement was made on June 10.

The two chains, along with Stop & Shop parent Ahold Delhaize USA, said they have mutually decided to terminate the deal because of “significant, unforeseen changes in the marketplace that have emerged since the agreement was signed in December 2018, largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“Both companies have put forth an incredible amount of effort to work through unanticipated challenges that have arisen, and we regret that we’re not able to move forward,” Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid said in a statement. 

“King Kullen has a strong legacy on the island, and we wish them continued success. Stop & Shop remains committed to the Long Island community, to serving our customers in the market well, and to investing in our associates and our stores in Nassau and Suffolk counties,” he said.

At the time of the acquisition deal, there were 32 King Kullen supermarkets, but three underperforming locations were closed last year including Mount Sinai on June 20 and Ronkonkoma on Aug. 22. The remaining supermarkets include St. James, Huntington, Wading River, Middle Island and Manorville. The company also has five Wild by Nature stores on Long Island including Setauket and Huntington.

“We look forward to continuing to focus on what we do best: serving our great customers across Long Island and supporting our hard-working store associates,” said Brian Cullen, co-president of King Kullen. “We are enthusiastic about the future and well-positioned to serve Nassau and Suffolk counties for many years to come. In short, we are here for the long term.”

An empty toilet paper display case at the St. James King Kullen March 14. Photo by Joseph Cali

With shelves emptying quicker than they can replenish, as shoppers afraid of possible COVID-19 quarantines stock up, grocery store chains are trying to come up with answers. 

In a press release, King Kullen announced starting Monday, March 16, all its stores, including its pharmacies and Wild by Nature locations will open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

The chain said the new hours of operation were until further notice, and the change would allow them “to better serve its customers, provide relief to employees, give store teams time to conduct additional preventative sanitation, and allow more efficient restocking of product on shelves.”

Stop & Shop starting Thursday, March 19, will allow those who are over 60 years old to buy groceries at their stores from 6 to 7:30 a.m., according to a March 16 press release.

“Although we will not be requesting ID for entry, we ask that you please respect the purpose of the early opening — and do the right thing for your neighbors,” the statement read. “Store associates do reserve the right to ask customers to leave if they are not a member of this age group.”

Stop & Shop also announced most stores have adjusted their hours to 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. which will help with unloading deliveries and stocking shelves.

The chain also announced that its Peapod home delivery service will have a contact-free option where bags can be left on a doorstep or entryway.

King Kullen at 153 Ronkonkoma Ave., Lake Ronkonkoma is slated to close — months after Stop & Shop purchased the Long Island-based supermarket chain. When reached by phone, an employee confirmed that Thursday, Aug. 22, was the store’s last day. The announcement comes  exactly two months after the Mount Sinai location shuttered its doors.

“These stores were underperforming and the decision was made to close rather than renew leases that were coming due,” spokesperson Lloyd Singer said. All current employees are expected to be reassigned so no layoffs are anticipated.

Stop & Shop acquired 32 King Kullen locations across Long Island and five Wild by Nature stores in January. Remaining Suffolk County locations include Bay Shore, Blue Point, Center Moriches, Cutchogue, Eastport, Huntington, Hampton Bays, Huntington Station, Lindenhurst, Manorville, Middle Island, North Patchogue, St. James and Wading River.

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Stop & Shop announced on Jan. 4 that the company plans to acquire Long Island-based King Kullen. The purchase agreement will include 32 King Kullen supermarkets, five Wild by Nature stores and the use of King Kullen Grocery corporate office located in Bethpage. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, according to a press release. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“King Kullen is a well-respected grocery chain in the Long Island market that has an 88-year tradition of excellent customer service,” said Mark McGowan, president of Stop & Shop, in a news release. “We look forward to bringing our quality, selection and value to more communities in Nassau and Suffolk counties.”

King Kullen, which opened on Jamaica Avenue in Queens in 1930, is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as the America’s first “supermarket.” 

“Our family has been in the grocery business for 88 years,” Brian Cullen, co-president of King Kullen Grocery Co., said in a statement. “Recently, we determined that the best option for our family and our associates was to merge King Kullen into Stop & Shop.”

“As a family-owned and operated business, we are very proud of our heritage and extremely grateful to all of our associates and customers for their support over the years,” he continued, adding, “We are confident the Stop & Shop brand will carry on our legacy of service in the region. It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of the fabric of this Island for all these years.”

In Suffolk County, King Kullen has locations in Blue Point, Bridgehampton, Center Moriches, Cutchogue, Eastport, Halesite, Hampton Bays, Huntington Station, Lake Ronkonkoma, Lindenhurst, Manorville, Middle Island, Mount Sinai, North Babylon, North Patchogue, Shirley, St. James and Wading River while Wild by Nature stores in Suffolk County are located in East Setauket, West Islip, Hampton Bays and Huntington.

It is not yet known whether the stores being acquired will continue to operate under their current banners or become Stop & Shop.