First National/Finast

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At one point, First National Stores was one of America’s largest grocery chains. The company operated First National (and later Finast) stores in the northeast.

First National purchased Safeway’s New York division in 1961. In the 1970s, the company was purchased by the owners of Pick ‘n Pay stores in Cleveland, and the Finast name appeared in that area. The New England stores at this time were operating under the Finast and Edwards names.

The company was purchased by Ahold in the 1990s, and the remaining Finast stores were converted to the Edwards brand. Ahold later purchased competitor Stop & Shop, and ultimately converted the Edwards stores to this name (while retaining the Edwards name for smaller stores subsequently purchased from other chains). In Cleveland, the Finast stores were merged into Ahold’s chain of Top’s Friendly Markets.

Thanks to Joe McKenna for significant contributions to this history.