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|Fate||Bought out by Peebles|
|Headquarters||Knoxville, Tennessee, United States|
|Products||apparel, home furnishings|
Ira A. Watson Co., more commonly known as Watson's was a department store chain based in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. It was founded in 1907 and grew to many locations throughout the Southeastern United States. The company was purchased for $4.45 million by Peebles with the transaction closing June 29, 1998.
A department store is a retail establishment offering a wide range of consumer goods in different product categories known as "departments". In modern major cities, the department store made a dramatic appearance in the middle of the 19th century, and permanently reshaped shopping habits, and the definition of service and luxury. Similar developments were under way in London, in Paris and in New York.
Knoxville is a city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Knox County. The city had an estimated population of 186,239 in 2016 and a population of 178,874 as of the 2010 census, making it the state's third largest city after Nashville and Memphis. Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which, in 2016, was 868,546, up 0.9 percent, or 7,377 people, from to 2015. The KMSA is, in turn, the central component of the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette Combined Statistical Area, which, in 2013, had a population of 1,096,961.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Expanding from the original operation, the company opened a group of downtown stores in county seat towns. As shopping centers and malls developed, Watson's opened substantially larger stores in those locations. Operations grew from a single location in Knoxville, Tennessee to numerous locations in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. The merchandise was purchased and distributed to all of the Watson's stores from the centralized warehouse located at the corporate offices in Knoxville.
A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.
The company hit hard times in the late 1980s and eventually filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in February 1992 when they were unable to renew bank financing. At the time of the filing, the company operated 31 stores in nine states. The courts approved a reorganization plan for the company to emerge from Chapter 11 in 6 years. Profitability improved and Watson's emerged from Chapter 11 in about half of the anticipated time though the company never fully recovered. Through a series of lackluster upper management hires in the early to late '90's, the company continued its downward spiral. In the end, the company that prospered by selling goods in remote areas of the southeast where competitors were few, could not compete with the new Walmart and Goodys Family Clothing stores as these companies began to build in markets that were once considered too small. Watson's business model was viable no longer.
Watson's was purchased in June 1998 by Peebles, a then privately held retailer based in South Hill, Virginia. At that time, Watson's became a wholly owned subsidiary of Peebles. All Watson's stores were converted to Peebles a year later. The former Watson's Knoxville Distribution Center at 200 Hayfield Road continues to serve as one of two warehouses for the Peebles chain. Peebles was purchased by Houston, Texas-based Specialty Retailers in 2003.
Peebles is a United States chain of department stores owned by Stage Stores, Inc. and headquartered in Houston, Texas.
South Hill is a town in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, United States. The population was 4,403 at the 2000 census. Located on major Interstate and U.S. highways, it has a full-service hospital, a tobacco market, and several hotels. South Hill has a close relationship with the neighboring town of La Crosse. Lake Gaston, a large reservoir popular with boaters and fishermen, is a short distance to the southwest.
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., is an American supermarket chain headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Winn-Dixie has ranked #24 in the 2010 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on FY2009 estimated sales of $7.3 billion by Supermarket News. and was ranked the 45th largest retailer in the United States, based on 2012 revenues, by Stores magazine. Winn-Dixie operates approximately 500 stores in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi. The company has had its present name since 1955 and traces its roots back to 1925.
Western Auto Supply Company—known more widely as Western Auto—was a specialty retail chain of stores that supplied automobile parts and accessories. It operated approximately 1200 stores across the United States and in Puerto Rico. It was started in 1909 in Kansas City, Missouri, by George Pepperdine and Don Abnor Davis. Pepperdine later founded Pepperdine University. Western Auto was bought by Beneficial Corporation in 1961; Western Auto's management led a leveraged buyout in 1985, leading three years later to a sale to Sears. Sears sold most of the company to Advance Auto Parts in 1998, and by 2003, the resulting merger had led to the end of the Western Auto brand and its product distribution network.
Food City is an American supermarket chain with stores located in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. It is owned by K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., a privately held family and employee-owned corporation headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia. K-VA-T Food Stores owns the Food City Distribution Center, a distribution center K-VA-T helped form in 1974 and acquired full control of in 1998, Misty Mountain Spring Water, LLC, a producer of bottled water, as well as limited-assortment grocery stores named Super Dollar Food Center, Food City Express convenience stores, and two Wine and Spirits liquor stores. Many of their grocery stores have their own fuel stations, with the Gas'N Go branding. It offers many private label product choices under the brands "Food Club," "TopCare", "ValuTime", "Food City Fresh!", "Full Circle Market", "Paws Happy Life", "Simply Done", "Wide Awake Coffee Co.", "Tippy Toes", "Harvest Club", "Evolve", "Over the Top", "Nostimo", "@ease", "CharKing", "Misty Mountain", "Flock's Finest", "b-lieve", "Culinary Tours", "Pure Harmony" and more, many of which are part of the Topco corporate brand program. Food City is also the exclusive distributor of regional favorites such as "Kay's Ice Cream", "Moore's Classic Snacks", "Terry's Classic Snacks", "Kern's Bread", and "Lay Classic Meats".
Proffitt's was a department store chain based in Alcoa, Tennessee. On March 8, 2006, the Proffitt's and McRae's stores were converted into Belk stores. Belk acquired the two chains in July 2005 from Saks, Inc.
Service Merchandise was a retailer chain of catalog showrooms carrying fine jewelry, toys, sporting goods, and electronics that existed for 68 years.
David's Bridal is a clothier in the United States that specializes in wedding dresses, prom gowns, and other formal wear. It is the largest American bridal-store chain.
Southern Family Markets, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, was a chain of American supermarkets owned and operated by C&S Wholesale Grocers, a distributor based in Keene, New Hampshire. The chain was operated as an affiliate of C&S. Southern Family Markets had operated a varying number of supermarkets and 10 liquor stores under the banners Southern Family Markets, Piggly Wiggly, Bruno's, and Food World. The liquor stores, all located along the gulf coast, were called SFM Liquors.
Goody's Family Clothing Inc. is an American chain of department stores, owned and operated by Stage Stores, Inc. and headquartered in Houston, TX, that specializes in retailing on-trend apparel, accessories, cosmetics, footwear, and housewares.
High's of Baltimore, LLC, doing business as High's Dairy Stores, is an American chain of gas stations and convenience stores based in Baltimore, Maryland. As of 2016, the chain has 67 locations, all of which are in Maryland. High's previously had stores in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. as well.
Stage Stores is a department store company specializing in retailing brand name apparel, accessories, cosmetics, footwear, and housewares throughout the United States. The corporate office is located in Houston, Texas.
C&S Wholesale Grocers is an American wholesale distribution of food and grocery store items with its headquarters in Keene, New Hampshire, United States. C&S is the tenth-largest privately held company in the United States, as listed by Forbes. C&S owns the Piggly Wiggly grocery brand as well as the Best Yet private label brand. C&S is the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the United States, based on revenue.
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Joseph-Beth Booksellers is an independent bookseller with four stores in the United States. It formerly operated a total of seven under the Joseph-Beth name and two under the Davis-Kidd Booksellers name. The name "Joseph-Beth" derives from the middle names of its two founders, Neil and Mary Beth Van Uum. They opened their first store in Lexington, Kentucky in November 1986.
Food Fair, also known by its successor name Pantry Pride, was a large supermarket chain in the United States. It was founded by Samuel N. Friedland, who opened the first store in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the late 1920s. As of 1957, Food Fair had 275 stores, and at its peak, the chain had more than 500 stores. Friedland's family retained control of the firm through 1978, when the chain entered bankruptcy.
Heilig-Meyers was a retail furniture store chain founded in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in 1913 by two Lithuanian immigrants, W. A. Heilig and J. M. Meyers. Its corporate headquarters was in Richmond, Virginia. The chain grew to become the largest furniture retailer in the United States in the 1990s, ultimately having over 1,000 stores nationwide.
Garfinckel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoads, Inc. was a Washington, D.C.-based national retail conglomerate that existed from 1967 to 1981.
Payless Cashways was a building materials retailer based in Kansas City, United States. The company primarily operated during the 1980s and 1990s originating from their beginning, and is considered among the first national chains to implement the DIY strategy. The company experienced financial difficulties during the late 1980s.