ELIZABETH, N.J. — Wakefern Food Corp. is actively looking for non-member wholesale customers — an approach that represents “a major change in our mind-set,” according to Joseph S. Colalillo, chairman and chief executive officer of the member-owned cooperative here. ”We’re still focused 100% on our members and their needs, but if the right opportunity [for a wholesale customer] comes along, we won’t say no anymore,” he told SN. “We’ll look at it and see if there are benefits for us.” Wakefern has “two or three” wholesale customers, Colalillo said, including Heinens, a chain of 17 stores based in Cleveland, Ohio, that carries Wakefern’s ShopRite private label. Wakefern also formerly distributed HBC items to Richfood before the Richmond, Va.-based wholesaler was sold to Supervalu.
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