Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Tom Thumbs in Bedford, Grapevine getting new names this week

The Rahr & Sons brewery has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors to the south side of Fort Worth.
The Rahr & Sons brewery has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors to the south side of Fort Worth. Rahr & Sons Brewing

Shoppers in Bedford and Grapevine will see new signs this week as their Tom Thumb supermarkets are converted to Minyard Sun Fresh Markets.

The stores were among a dozen Tom Thumb and Albertsons stores acquired by Associated Wholesale Grocers of Fort Worth and Minyards Food Stores of Richardson as part of divestments tied to the merger of Albertsons and Safeway, Tom Thumb’s parent.

The Bedford store, at 3300 Harwood Road, was expected to be converted to Sun Fresh on Sunday while the switch at the Grapevine store, at 4000 William D. Tate Ave., is scheduled for Tuesday, said Bill Davidson, general manager for Minyards.

A former Albertsons store at 1108 North U.S. 377 in Roanoke made the change a week ago.

Davidson said Minyards will replace Safeway’s private-label brands with its own, called Best Choice, and add about 1,700 brand-name goods. The grocer is also adding some signature items to the store, including fried chicken and fried catfish in the deli area and Tippins pies, he said.

Most of the workers at the stores will stay on and work for Minyards.

Tech Fort Worth hosts foreign delegation

Twenty entrepreneurs from Peru, Chile, Columbia and Mexico have spent the past two weeks in Fort Worth attending workshops and making contacts as part of a State Department program designed to promote economic development.

The Tech Fort Worth business incubator, which helps local entrepreneurs get going, hosted the life science and healthcare component of La Idea, a $120,000 program sponsored by the State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship branch. Other groups representing agribusiness and advanced manufacturing industries were hosted by Louisiana State University and Texas A&M in Corpus Christi.

In attendance at the program’s closing session at TCU on Thursday was David Thorne, a former U.S. Ambassador to Italy who now is a senior adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Thorne’s job is to expand economic development as a component of U.S. foreign policy, with the idea that prosperity can promote stability and peace.

He said young people worldwide yearn to be independent, and programs like La Idea are vital to nurturing entrepreneurship.

“If there is opportunity for young people in these countries, then that is an inspiration for them,” Thorne said. “The ability to set your own course, self-determinaton, at this point in the world is our most admired value. Kids around the world want to emulate this.”

Fort Worth South presents awards

Fort Worth South, which oversees development on the city’s near south side, presented its two top awards at its 20th anniversary gala Friday night.

The Most Valuable Partner Award was presented to Jay Chapa, the city’s housing and economic development director, and the Kline Watts Award was given to Fritz and Erin Rahr, owners of Rahr Brewery.

Chapa was recognized for his leadership at City Hall and his longstanding collaboration with Fort Worth South, the organization said. The award has been presented since 2004.

Fritz and Erin Rahr were honored for their pioneering entrepreneurship with their award-winning brewery, which has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors since they founded it a decade ago.

“They have quickly become a landmark Near Southside attraction, industry incubator and iconic brand,” the group said.

The Kline Watts Award is named for Dr. James Watts and real estate agent Joan Kline, who together in 1992 began collaborating with former City Councilman David Chappell regarding near south side redevelopment. Their efforts led to the creation of Fort Worth South in 1996.

American inks another sports deal

American Airlines likes sports teams that begin with letter C.

A couple of weeks after the Fort Worth-based carrier inked a deal with the Chicago Cubs to be the professional baseball team’s official airline, American announced a similar deal with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.

“American already serves more customers than any other airline at LAX, and our partnership with the Clippers underscores our commitment to Los Angeles – a city that is vital to our global network,” said American vice president of global marketing Fernand Fernandez. “Like the Clippers, we’re invested in winning.”

As this column noted last week, the Cubs haven’t won a championship since 1908. The Clippers have never won an NBA championship.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773

Twitter: @stevekasko