Northwest Grocers (NWG) has tapped KeHE Distributors as its primary wholesaler for natural, organic, and specialty products.
Under the four-year pact, NWG member retailers will be able to leverage KeHE’s national scale in specialty, natural and organic product distribution as well as its fresh perimeter programs, Naperville, Ill.-based KeHE said in announcing the agreement yesterday.
NWG, based in Tukwila, Wash., provides advertising, marketing, merchandising and other services to independent grocery retailers in the Pacific Northwest. Specialized category services include expertise in beer, wine, meat, seafood, deli, bakery, grocery, frozen, dairy, produce and floral.
“Northwest Grocers provides its members with best in class support for advertising, marketing, and promotional merchandising,” NWG President Stan Trask said in a statement. “We are committed to bringing our retailers the best tools for supporting their natural, organic, and specialty product needs. Our partnership with KeHE unlocks the resources our independents need for an innovative, full solution program that will provide them with the ability to drive sales and lead in this market.”
Overall, NWG serves more than 90 independent grocers in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Northern California. Store banners supported by the organization, which is owned by its retail members, include Thriftway, Red Apple Markets, Family Grocer, Sea Mart Quality Foods, IGA and IGA Market Fresh, Select Market and Payless Foods, among others.
“Northwest Grocers is known for their strategic support of their members,” commented KeHE Chief Operating Officer Gene Carter. “KeHE was founded by a passionate grocer in service of the needs of other retailers. Almost 70 years later, we’re even more dedicated to serving the unique, ever-changing needs of that customer base. This partnership will allow KeHE to collaborate with the NWG team in areas like supply chain and category management to drive growth and innovation for their members.”
An employee-owned, B Corp-certified company, KeHE supplies natural food stores, supermarket chains, independent grocery stores and other specialty retailers across North America through its 15 distribution centers.
KeHE has bolstered its client roster over the past couple of years. In October, the wholesaler expanded its partnership The Save Mart Cos., becoming its primary distributor for perimeter categories and renewing its natural, organic and specialty product distribution pact with the grocer. The previous month, KeHE entered into a primary distribution deal with better-for-you grocery chain MOM’s Organic Market.
In June, the distributor was named as the primary U.S. wholesaler of the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA) cooperative, and last February Albertsons Cos. renewed its supply agreement with KeHE as its primary wholesaler for natural, organic and specialty products. In 2018, KeHe added online natural/organic grocer Thrive Market as a primary distribution customer and renewed its distribution pact with Sprouts Farmers Market through 2025.