C&S Wholesale Grocers, the nation’s largest grocery distributor, plans to buy fellow food wholesaler Piggly Wiggly Midwest.
Keene, N.H.-based C&S said Thursday that it has entered into a definitive agreement with the intent to purchase Piggly Wiggly Midwest, whose headquarters is in Sheboygan, Wis. Financial terms of the planned transaction weren’t disclosed.
With the deal, C&S would acquire 11 Piggly Wiggly Midwest corporate-run stores as well as serve 14 Butera Market supermarkets in the Chicagoland region plus 84 Piggly Wiggly franchisees in Wisconsin. Plans call for Piggly Wiggly Midwest’s current distribution centers and offices to continue to operate.
“The purchase of Piggly Wiggly Midwest is a natural expansion of our already successful Piggly Wiggly Carolina business and reinforces our strong commitment to this beloved brand,” C&S Wholesale Grocers CEO Bob Palmer said in a statement. “It is a well-established legend in grocery retail that is valued by customers for its competitive pricing and focus on service.”
Currently, C&S licenses the Piggly Wiggly banner to approximately 530 independently owned and operated supermarkets in 17 states through its Piggly Wiggly LLC subsidiary. Most of the stores are located in the Southeast. The addition of Piggly Wiggly Midwest would enlarge the C&S-affiliated stores’ market footprint in the Midwest.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to enhance our Midwest operations and serve more retail partners and shoppers in this important market,” Palmer added. “C&S is dedicated to remaining the industry leader through ensuring every one of our customers is a braggingly happy customer.
Piggly Wiggly Midwest operates company-owned stores and serves independent franchisees under a chain-style program. Its corporate offices and two of its distribution centers are located in Sheboygan, and a third distribution center is in Milwaukee.
“Although it has been a very difficult decision, the sale of Piggly Wiggly Midwest to C&S is a natural next step for this historic brand. Piggly Wiggly is more than a supermarket; it is a family of franchise operators, employees and loyal Pig Point customers, too,” stated Paul Butera Sr., president of Piggly Wiggly Midwest and founder of Butera Market. “C&S has the experience and knowledge to ensure that this 100-year old icon continues for the next 100 years.”
As part of the agreement, Butera Market has committed to retaining C&S as its primary distributor, according to Joseph Butera, the supermarket chain’s president.
“We look forward to working with C&S and expanding our partnership for another successful 50 years,” he said. “Paul Sr.'s sons — Joseph and Paul Jr., along with Paul Sr.’s grandson Nicholas (Paul Jr.’s son) — will continue and extend the family legacy another generation as they continue running Butera Market’s operations.”
C&S said it expects to finalize the acquisition at the end of this month, pending regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. Overall, the distributor supplies more than 7,700 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions, offering over 137,000 products.
Independent supermarkets bearing the Piggly Wiggly banner are supplied by Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co. The website for the Bessemer, Ala.-based cooperative said the company serves more than 270 stores in seven states.