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C&S to buy Olean grocery cooperative

Regional wholesaler’s CEO to continue overseeing operations

C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. plans to acquire regional distributor Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative Inc.

Financial terms of the deal, announced late yesterday, weren’t disclosed. Keene, N.H.-based C&S said it expects the transaction to close early next year.

Olean Wholesale serves more than 270 independent food retail and convenience stores across New York, Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio. Plans call for President and CEO Robert Ketchner to continue to manage the Olean, N.Y.-based co-op’s day-to-day operations.

“As proven by the nearly 100 years of success with Olean Wholesale’s premier service model, Bob and the Olean team have established themselves as outstanding operators in the wholesale food business,” C&S CEO Mike Duffy said in a statement. “We have admired Olean Wholesale and the impressive organization its talented employees have built and very much look forward to partnering with the Olean team to continue this tradition and to expand the solutions available to their customers with the additional strength and scale of C&S.”

Founded in 1922, Olean Wholesale distributes all major product lines, including grocery, frozen, dairy, meat, produce, general merchandise and health and beauty aids.

The company also offers a range of retailer services (such as operations, technology, accounting, advertising, pricing and store development) as well as private label products, including more than 1,400 items under the Shurfine brand. Other private brands distributed by Olean include TopCare, Valu Time, Simply Done, @ease and Paws Happy Life.

“I am excited about the future and the new opportunities this partnership will offer the members of Olean Wholesale,” said Ketchner. “I believe that having the opportunity to combine the unquestioned service and dedication to our retailers with the scale and expertise of C&S will only make us better. I have had the pleasure of servicing our members for over 20 years, and I look forward to working with our team for many more.”

The nation’s largest grocery wholesale company, C&S supplies more than 137,000 products to about 7,700 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and other institutions.

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