MECHANICSVILLE, Va. -- Two executives of Super Rite have left the company.
The changes occurred after last month's discovery of 70 barrels of a petroleum-based substance buried in an area near the Super Rite distribution center. Richfood Holdings here at that time suspended Peter Vanderveen, Super Rite president and chief operating officer, and Wilbur Shirey, vice president of distribution. Richfood acquired the Harrisburg, Pa.-based wholesaler late last year. Donald D. Bennett, Richfood chairman and chief executive officer, told SN Vanderveen has taken early retirement, as he had planned to do when Richfood acquired Super Rite, and that the move was unrelated to the warehouse matter. Shirey was "let go" by Richfood, Bennett said, "because he had knowledge of the situation at the warehouse and didn't do anything about it." Shirey declined to comment, and Vanderveen could not be reached for comment.
Richfood has begun an environmental cleanup of the warehouse area. Although some samples of the grease in the barrels had a high lead content, Bennett said the contents had no effect on the warehouse or products shipped from there. An investigation by Apex, a consulting firm Richfood hired, to determine how the barrels got there is continuing along with the cleanup, he said. Apex is testing the materials and was expected to start hauling away the materials early last week. Bennett could not say when the probe and cleanup would be done or give their cost.
According to Bennett, Richfood had planned to build a freezer expansion and install a parking lot for its tractor/trailers on the site where the barrels were uncovered, "but we got word [about the barrels] before we put a shovel in the ground when some people came forward." He declined to pinpoint who those people were.