Buy For Less closing two OKC stores
Oklahoma City grocer Buy For Less is closing two stores and also has converted some other locations to a new discount format.
The grocer closed its founding location at 2121 W Hefner on Sept. 24. The Buy For Less at 2500 N Pennsylvania also will close on Oct. 7.
“I am very sentimental about these locations as they were the foundation for the family of people and stores that we have today,” Buy For Less CEO and founder Hank Binkowski said in a statement.
Buy For Less also has changed at least three of its stores to a new discount cost-plus format called Smart Saver. At cost-plus grocery stores, items are priced at cost on the shelves and a 10-percent surcharge is added at the register.
Buy For Less stores at NE 23 and Martin Luther King Avenue and SE 44 and High converted to the Smart Saver format in September, joining a store in Norman that Buy For Less converted to a Smart Saver in the spring.
Binkowski said the change was in response to declining sales at the Norman and Yukon stores, which he attributed to job losses in the energy industry. Customers that were buying Hamburger Helper were still shopping, but instead were buying cheaper macaroni and cheese.
Sales over the past few months proved the concept was a hit with customers and sales are up at both stores, Binkowski said.
The change involves no change in those working at the stores, but displays and use of space will change. Less time will be spent changing prices day to day, he said.
Family-owned Buy For Less was founded in 1988, and operates 13 grocery stores in the Oklahoma City metro area. Buy For Less also operates stores in the Oklahoma City area under the Super Mercado and Uptown Grocery Co. brands.
Buy For Less made the decision to close its Hefner Road location after it opened a nearby Uptown Grocery location in The Village, Binkowski said.
"With the addition of the new Uptown Grocery at May and Britton, it was always our intent to close the Buy For Less on Hefner and consolidate to the one new location," Binkowski said. "However, when the opening of the Uptown Grocery was delayed, we were reluctant to close the Hefner location so we could continue to service The Village.”
The Village struck a deal with Buy for Less in 2014 for $350,000 in incentives from a city tax increment finance district to offset land acquisitions costs for the new Uptown Grocery. Buy For Less also gets 25 percent of the new sales tax revenues generated from the development for up to 12 years, according to its deal with the Village.
While The Village Uptown Grocery experienced several construction delays, mostly due to bad weather in 2015, the store opened in February and seems to be doing well, said Bruce Stone, city manager for The Village.
We can tell by the sales tax receipts that they are doing well, and of course it's a really significant addition to our city," Stone said. The Village's sales tax revenue is already up nearly $300,000 over the previous year since the opening of the new store, he said.
Stone confirmed Buy for Less told The Village that it planned to close its Hefner Road location once it opened the new Uptown Grocery.
Closing the 2500 N Pennsylvania store, the second store the company opened, was a business decision, the company said.
"After extensive negotiations with the landlord, we have been unable to reach an agreement to make necessary improvements to the store, which is essential to meet the standards of our other stores and our customer expectations," Binkowski said.