CERTIFIED EXPANDING SPECIALTY COVERAGE

LOS ANGELES -- Grocers Specialty Co. here, a subsidiary of Certified Grocers of California, expects to expand its coverage of the Western United States with the purchase of Gourmet Specialties.Certified purchased the company,, a full-service distributor of gourmet and ethnic specialty foods, from Liberty Richter, Saddle Brook, N.J., and its parent company, Hagemeyer NV, which is based in the Netherlands.

LOS ANGELES -- Grocers Specialty Co. here, a subsidiary of Certified Grocers of California, expects to expand its coverage of the Western United States with the purchase of Gourmet Specialties.

Certified purchased the company,, a full-service distributor of gourmet and ethnic specialty foods, from Liberty Richter, Saddle Brook, N.J., and its parent company, Hagemeyer NV, which is based in the Netherlands. Gourmet Specialties has 90 employees, with offices and a distribution center in Hayward, Calif. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

"This is an exciting acquisition for Certified and Grocers Specialty Co., as it nicely complements our existing full-service specialty business throughout the Pacific region states, while providing an expanded product line and more efficient and effective customer service and support," said Ted Gardner, president of Grocers Specialty Co. and vice president of nonfood and specialty products for Certified.

According to Gardner, having both companies will enable GSC and Certified to supply the Western part of the United States.

"By combining the strengths of both organizations, we now can offer retailers one of the most comprehensive assortments of gourmet and specialty items in the industry, with three strategically placed California warehouses able to supply the entire Western United States," said Gardner. "In fact, our combined customer base stretches from Hawaii and Alaska to Colorado and New Mexico."

Gardner also noted that retailers would further benefit from the combined purchasing power of GSC and Gourmet Specialties, as well as improved system efficiencies and other synergies between the two organizations.

"Gourmet Specialties enjoys an outstanding reputation in the northern California grocery community for providing excellent products and services, while Certified's Grocers Specialty Co. is well known for offering an even wider variety of specialty items, both gourmet and ethnic, as well as candy, cigarettes and tobacco products," said Gardner. "We also provide a complete offering in the fast growing herbal, mineral and vitamin supplement area."

Certified Grocers is a retailer-owned distributor that supplies more than 2,700 retail stores in California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and the Pacific region. Distribution centers are located in Commerce, Stockton, Santa Fe Springs and Fresno, Calif. Manufacturing facilities are located in Los Angeles.