Associated Wholesale Grocers said Tuesday it had completed its merger with Affiliated Food Midwest, saying the combination would allow for more services to its member owners and the opportunity for further geographical expansion.
The combined companies, going under the AWG name, sent its first shipments to stores out of its newest divisions in Norfolk, Neb., and Kenosha, Wisc. on Sunday. Those facilities were previously run by Affiliated, along with an Elwood, Kans. facility that was scheduled to have closed concurrent with the completion of the deal.
The retailer-owned co-ops have more than 1,000 members in 35 states. Coupled with the expanded retailer member base and geographic footprint, the combination enables AWG to expand its offerings to its retail members with the addition of a retail accounting subsidiary and a digital marketing subsidiary.
"The expansion of our collective distribution areas into several new adjoining states where there remains a large number of independent grocers but few wholesale options is already paying dividends as retailers in those states are already making inquiries and asking how soon we can onboard new customers," David Smith, AWG's president and CEO, said in a statement. "With the current enthusiasm we are witnessing, our new Great Lakes Division in Kenosha may top $1 billion in annual sales sooner than we initially anticipated.”
Martin Arter, the former CEO of Affiliated, will lead AWG's Great Lakes Division in Kenosha. The company said the merger would pave further expansion into the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Michigan as well as West to Wyoming and Colorado.