Maryland Supermarket Industry Figure Ben Schuster Dies
Progressive Grocer

JUNE 07, 2006 -- BALTIMORE -- Ben Schuster, co-founder of the Randallstown, Md.-based supermarket chain called Food-A-Rama, died June 4 after a long illness. He was in his late eighties.

Schuster founded Food-A-Rama, at one time the second-biggest retailer in the Baltimore market, with his brothers-in-law Paul and Dave Diamond. The family's retail banners included Food-A-Rama, Super Super, and Basics Food Warehouse. The chain was eventually taken over by Supervalu.

After coming to the United States from Europe in 1947, Schuster and the Diamonds built Food-A-Rama up to a 48-store company, before it was sold in 1985 to Super Rite Foods of Pennsylvania, which eventually changed the store name to Metro Food Markets. Super Rite was subsequently acquired by Richfood Holdings in 1995; and Minneapolis-based Supervalu bought Richfood in 1999. Supervalu later converted the Metro stores to the Shoppers Food & Pharmacy banner.

Schuster retired from the industry selling his company, and concentrated on his family's real estate holdings. He was inducted into the Maryland food industry Hall of Fame in 2003.

Schuster's survivors include his wife, Deborah; four children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.