Bankruptcy court in Keene, N.H. has approved C&S Wholesale Grocer Inc.’s bid to purchase Associated Wholesalers, Inc. (AWI) and its subsidiaries. AWI, a regional cooperative food distributor based in Robesonia, Pa., operates two distribution centers in Pennsylvania and also provides retail services to its customers and members. Its subsidiaries include White Rose, which operates three distribution centers in New Jersey, and Nell’s Shurfine Markets, which operates four retail stores. The acquisition, expected to be finalized before Thanksgiving, would include substantially all of AWI/White Rose’s assets as well as their 2,200 employees.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Associated Wholesalers’ and White Rose’s strong team and customer base of independent grocers,” said Rick Cohen, C&S chairman and CEO. “My grandfather founded C&S to supply independent retailers, and while we now proudly service grocers of all sizes, this transaction will give us an even greater capacity to provide the unique services required by independents and regional chains.”
AWI entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 9, 2014, with C&S named as the “stalking horse” bidder. SuperValu, Inc. was also a bidder for AWI. Now that C&S’s winning bid has been approved, the transaction is expected to close on or about November 11, 2014.
“Our first priority is to provide exceptional service to the customers, especially as we approach the holiday season,” said Christopher Brown, C&S senior vice president, independent sales. “We are committed to maintaining and enhancing the services provided to the numerous retailers who have relied on AWI and White Rose for their grocery supply needs.”