SPARTAN STORES IS REVERSING ITS FRESH-FOODS DIRECTION

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- In a move that underscores a new direction for wholesaler-distributor Spartan Stores here, the company has created a position titled meal solutions and consumer affairs manager, and has named Shari Steinbach to the spot.a's position was created last summer; he had been frozen/dairy purchasing/inbound manager.The two appointments indicate Spartan has done an about-face with fresh

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- In a move that underscores a new direction for wholesaler-distributor Spartan Stores here, the company has created a position titled meal solutions and consumer affairs manager, and has named Shari Steinbach to the spot.

a's position was created last summer; he had been frozen/dairy purchasing/inbound manager.

The two appointments indicate Spartan has done an about-face with fresh foods, specifically the deli/meals-solutions market and fresh bakery operations.

As reported in SN, the wholesaler-distributor decided to stop distributing deli and bakery products to its retail customers just over a year ago. At that time, the company sold its deli-bakery inventory to Lipari Foods, Warren, Mich., a wholesale distributor.

Commenting last year on the company's dropout from the deli and bakery businesses, a spokeswoman noted that the structure of Spartan, which does the bulk of its sales in grocery products, had prevented the company from efficiently delivering small quantities of fresh products on a daily basis.

While an official at Spartan did confirm that it is revisiting the deli and bakery segment, the company would not disclose why. A source at Spartan told SN, "There is a new initiative under way, but nobody wants to go into detail right now."

Spartan Stores is a full-service grocery distribution company that serves 500 independently owned Spartan stores in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.