PG WEB EXTRA: Arizona's Hometown Grocer

From a history almost as old as Arizona itself, to a commitment to ensuring the state’s future, Bashas’ proudly wears the title of “hometown grocer.”

The Chandler, Ariz.-based grocery chain’s new concept store, located in the Cobblestone Village shopping center at the southwest corner of Warner and McClintock roads in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, exemplifies that commitment.

“We wanted something that wasn’t a conventional store and would cater to the surrounding neighborhood that’s been our faithful supporters,” said Johnny Basha, Bashas' VP of special projects, explaining the 45,000-square-foot market was three years in the making, based on local needs as well as features of other stores he has visited around the country.

See our photo gallery of Bashas’ new concept store below.

To revitalize the area and contribute to the area’s stability, the 26-year-old store was completely remodeled last summer, presenting the grocer’s newest prototype design: a contemporary neighborhood store with a fresh appearance, part of a sweeping upgrade of the entire shopping center. It reopened with much fanfare last November.

Read the whole story in our May issue

The triumph of the new story was dampened somewhat by the death of chairman emeritus Eddie Basha Jr. in late March at age 75.

“He gave his heart and soul to Bashas’ Family of Stores,” Edward “Trey” Basha III, chief exec of the 129-store chain, said of his father. “Ironically, Eddie never saw himself that way. He considered himself to be a Bashas’ member, no different than any other. His desire to serve the people of the state he loved so well, and to take care of the members that he cared for so much, always gave him strength in the face of adversity.”

Read PG’s tribute to Eddie Basha Jr., a 2013 inductee to our Hall of Fame

Bashas’ grandparents, immigrants from Lebanon, were pioneering merchants in the Arizona Territory of the early 20th century, slowly emerging from its Old West image. Struggling in the wake of their father’s untimely death in 1932, Bashas’ father Eddie and uncle Ike opened a grocery store in the budding town of Chandler, near Phoenix. Despite the ravages of the Great Depression, the business grew and thrived, through the war years and into the ’50s.

Eddie Jr. took over the company when his father died in 1968 and led its continued expansion throughout the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, and into the 21st century. The economic downturn of the late 2000s hit Arizona especially hard, and Bashas’ found itself reorganizing under bankruptcy protection, from which it emerged in less than two years.

For well over a century, the Basha family has overcome all manner of adversity. But through it all, the family has remained steadfastly dedicated to serving its community, as grocers as well as philanthropists. And for much of that history, Eddie Jr. was the guiding light.

Read more about Bashas’, PG’s 2005 Retailer of the Year.

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