Northwest Grocers, Unified form strategic alliance

Unified Grocers and Northwest Grocers said Friday they have formed a strategic alliance under which NWG will become the exclusive marketing and advertising company for Unified members in the Pacific Northwest.

The companies said NWG will begin managing marketing and advertising for additional retailers in August. Unified is a member-owned cooperative based in Los Angeles.

Northwest is a limited liability corporation formed in 2004 by Unified members in the Pacific Northwest to perform marketing, advertising and other retail services. The new alliance will consolidate Unified’s managed ad group in the region with NWG’s, which had been a separate operating entity. The combination will boost the ad group’s size from 62 stores to 120.

The stores operate under a variety of banners, including Thriftway in Oregon and Washington, Red Apple Markets in Washington and Alaska and others.

According to Unified, the alliance will provide increased buying power and synergies by creating a new “virtual chain”; help streamline the group’s administration and marketing activities; optimize member opportunities and promotions; simplify vendor relations; and promote sales growth for all stakeholders.

According to Stan Trask, president of Northwest Grocers, “The synergies created with this agreement will strengthen independent grocery retailers’ competitive position in the marketplace.”

Ray VanWetten, Unified’s VP of sales for the Pacific Northwest, said the partnership will help solidify the positions of member retailers in the region. “Together we will be able to help our retailers buy and sell more efficiently, build their brands and ultimately compete better and grow for years to come.”

Editor's note: This article was updated on July 11 with additional information about the alliance.

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