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Big Y - The history

Big Y began in December of 1936 as Y Cash, in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Paul D’Amour, who had worked for Wonder Bread as a salesman, together with his siblings, Ann Marie, Gerald, Gertrude, and Yvette purchased the “Y Cash Market.” It was named due to its location at the apex of a forked road which formed a “Y.” It was later renamed Big Y Foods, Incorporated.

Before the World War II began in 1940, the business had grown twenty-fold and had expanded three times its initial size of 900 square feet. In the year 1947, the end of the war brought such a post-war boom, the D’Amour brothers chose to open another store in what used to be a bowling alley and also incorporated the same year. Always taking positive initiative, the brothers made sure that Big Y Foods kept pace with changes in the retail food industry: things such as frozen food preparation and new packaging approaches that were revolutionizing how America bought and prepared food.

From its humble beginnings, Big Y Foods has risen to one of the largest grocery chains in the Massachusetts region that is owned by a private establishment.

Amidst the many services, Big Y Foods provided are floral shops, bakeries, and delis, with some stores even offering babysitting, banking, photo processing, dry cleaning services and the sale of propane. Today, D’Amour family are still the owners of Big Y Foods Incorporated.

Because of its innovative ideas and adaptability, Big Y Foods has been able to expand its base to 58 conventional, two specialty, and two stand-alone drug stores. The company has employed over 9,200 people, has donated food worth over $4,500,000, and awarded scholarships totaling $250,000 to more than 300 students. Big Y Foods is also sponsoring Thomas R. Flanagan Memorial Grants and the Connecticut Association of Schools Governor’s Scholars Program for schools.