Friday, January 25, 2002

It's twilight for the Times Super Market chain under family ownership as it gets sold to California-based company PAQ Inc.

California firm
to buy Times

The buyer is expected to keep
all 13 stores and most workers

By Rick Daysog

A California company is purchasing Times Super Market Ltd. in a deal that will end local ownership in one of Hawaii's largest and oldest supermarket chains.

PAQ Inc., which operates six Food4Less stores in Northern California, announced today that it has reached an agreement to buy the Times chain from a local group headed by the Teruya family, which founded the company in 1949.

The terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close in February, were not disclosed.

"We've wanted to invest in Hawaii for some time and Times is a solid company that really understands how to treat customers," said John Quinn, PAQ's president and chief executive officer.

PAQ said it will retain all 13 of the company's grocery stores on Oahu and will continue to operate them under the Times brand.

Hawaii's 13 Times stores, such as this one on South Beretania Street, are expected to retain their workers under the new owner.

PAQ, a privately held company based in Stockton, Calif., plans to keep most of Times' 950 employees and does not expect to make significant changes to products or services.

The buyers said they may eliminate several positions in Times' administrative office. But the buyers expect to retain all employees who work at Times' grocery stores.

Local food industry executive Roger Godfrey will head the Times chain. Godfrey -- who will serve as president of PAQ's newly formed local subsidiary QSI -- is a former Hawaii president for food distributor Fleming Cos.

The deal comes at a time when many of Hawaii's local retailers have been hit by the recent economic downturn. Times recently decided to exit its lease at the Niu Valley Shopping Center due to the tough economic climate.

Times said that many of its 40 shareholders were nearing retirement age and wanted to leave the business.

"Although it wasn't easy to make the decision to sell, the board of directors decided that this was the right time to move on to other opportunities," said Wayne Teruya, Times' president.

"We felt it was essential that we sell the supermarket business to someone who recognized the importance of investing in our local economy and who would continue the tradition we established of providing quality, local products at a good value."

Established in 1949 by Wallace and Albert Teruya, Times is one of Hawaii's better-known business success stories.

From its start in a 6,000-square-foot location near McCully Street, the company rode the post-World War II boom to become the state's third-largest local grocery store chain behind Foodland Supermarket Ltd. and Safeway Inc.

Times, known for its loyal customer base, received its name from the former Times Grill at the foot of Kapiolani Boulevard, which was owned by the Teruya brothers during the early 1940s.

The grocery store was the brainchild of younger brother Herman Teruya, who died in combat in Italy during World War II while serving in the U.S. Army's decorated 100th Battalion.

Founded in 1995, PAQ is the franchisee for four Food4Less grocery stores in Stockton. It also runs Food4Less stores in Lodi, Calif., and Manteca, Calif., and is in the process of opening two new stores in the Stockton area.

PAQ was named after Quinn's wife, Patricia Ann Quinn, the retailer's treasurer. PAQ, which was co-founded by the Quinns and company General Manager Glenn Evans, has about 625 employees in California.

"Times has built a loyal group of customers, who we believe will respond positively to our philosophy of offering shoppers quality, freshness, everyday value, and price integrity," Quinn said.

Comparison shopping

Times Super Market ltd.

>> President: Wayne Teruya
>> Founded: 1949
>> Stores: 13
>> Employees: 950

PAQ Inc.

>> Chief executive officer: John Quinn
>> Founded: 1995
>> Stores: 6
>> Employees: 625

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