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Occupation: former CEO, Seaway Food Town Supermarkets
Last Seen: Toledo, OH
Bee-otched For: being another prick who puts money in front of people
In the 1950s, a small grocer named Wally Iott and his wife adopted a son named Rich.
It was the worst investment he ever made.
In Ohio's 9th congressional district, Rep. Marcy Kaptur is defending her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives against Republican businessman Rich Iott. Iott was the former CEO of Seaway Food Town - or just simply Food Town - the supermarket chain founded by his adoptive father in 1948.
Over the years, Food Town grew from a small corner grocery to a chain of nearly 50 stores and even a discount drug store chain, The Pharm. In 1996, Rich took over the CEO position of the chain and in 2000, he sold Food Town and The Pharm to that great little company known as Spartan Stores.
Yes, the same Spartan Stores that's based here in Grand Rapids that used be a co-op owned by its locations, but got greedy, went public and started buying up many of its stores. They bought up Glen's, Prevo's and Ashcraft's in northern Michigan, Great Day, Family Fare, D&W and Felpausch in west Michigan and VG's in Flint. I once lived near a Prevo's and almost immediately, the quality of the store went downhill. I remembered CONSTANTLY returning milk because it was sour, getting sour cream that was chunky and watery and yes, those nasty blinders at the checkout, showing their loyalness to the religious reich. Not to mention the other complaints I've heard, such as their rotting produce and yes, their horrificly high prices.
Spartan streamlined their operations, ending the Prevo's, Great Day and Ashcraft's nameplates. But, thanks to their piss-poor management, Food Town ended up being their biggest embarrassment.
Just three years into Food Town ownership, Spartan shut down their 39 stores as shoppers abandoned them for Kroger and Meijer. In all, 5,000 workers were left jobless. Iott, on the other hand, is one wealthy asshole.
According to a website owned by Kaptur, Iott traded Food Town for 500,000 shares of Spartan stock for $5.68 per share. Today, it's worth more than $15 per share, or $7.5 million.
No doubt, Wally Iott - who died in 2006 at age 90 - is spinning in his grave.
Thankfully, Food Town still exists, kind of. Not long after Spartan shut down their stores, a man named Sam Jabro bought a handful of former locations and even the name. However, he only has three locales: one in Toledo and two just over the border in Michigan. It's also worth mentioning that several Spartan Stores did drop the chain recently, including Greenville-based Jorgensen's and the Village Markets in Antrim County, which had been with the warrior-turned-toothpaste swirl-logoed company for 60 years. Both chains are now with Affiliated Foods, which supply the Shurfine brands throughout the midwest.
Ya know, I love people who sell out to other companies, knowing that their jobs will be lost sooner or later. Rich Iott should have not left the orphanage. Instead, he turned into a fatherless prick who thinks that the world belongs to him. All I can say is good luck trying to win that rep seat, Rich, 'cuz Marcy Kaptur's been there for nearly 30 years and that area's a Democratic stranglehold.
If all else fails, Rich, there's the unemployment line, where you can share it with all your former employees.
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Bee-otch of the Day is a production of Chuck69.com, Grand Rapids' site for Stern, politics and more!