Shoppers at George's Superthrift grocery stores should be noticing some changes on the shelves and at the cash register.
Instead of Red & White and Our Value products, IGA and First Choice items are going up as the store changes from Superthrift to IGA.
"I just thought by joining IGA it would help my organization," said owner George Mezar--.
"The main change will be lower prices -- about 4,000 prices will be lowered, mostly in grocery, dairy and frozen foods."
Since he opened his first store in 1963, George's has expanded to six full-size and four convenience stores in Howard, Carroll and Frederick counties, employing about 500 people.
Mezar-- said the company is switching from Scrivner, an Oklahoma-based wholesaler with facilities in Pennsylvania, to the more local IGA wholesaler, B. Green in Arbutus, Baltimore County.
"They're the biggest wholesaler in Maryland," Mezar-- noted. "They have a full line of products and if we need something else (they don't have), they'll buy it for us."
The Independent Grocers Alliance is an $8 billion organizationowned by 25 wholesalers who supply IGA stores through 60 distribution centers scattered around the country.
IGA is the fourth-largest grocery supplier in the country.
Growing competition was a big factor in the switch over, Mezar-- said, and the change will allow him to lower prices.
Donna Gable, a Woodbine resident who is a George'sregular, said she noticed the change two weeks ago.
"I expected my bill to be $120 and it was $97, so I've noticed the difference," she said.
Mezar-- said the new IGA signs should be up at all stores within the next two weeks, then George's will have a grand opening sale that probably will continue through most of this month.