Recently, Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) and Coborn’s announced a new supplier partnership agreement. AWG will be serving as the primary wholesale supplier for Coborn’s, effectively serving the 59 grocery stores across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin operating under the Coborn’s, Cash Wise Foods, Marketplace Foods, and Hornbacher’s banners.
“The upper Midwest is home to Coborn’s and other extraordinary independent grocers,” David Smith, AWG’s President and CEO said. “We have experienced strong growth in this region, but distance and distribution costs weren’t favorable for our members or us. We believe this new Division will be a game-changer for grocers in the area and will quickly become our highest growth Division.”
According to the release, AWG will commence supply of grocery products to the Coborn’s stores in January 2022 from AWG’s new Upper Midwest Division in St. Cloud, Minnesota, situated in the former Creative Memories warehouse facility located in St. Cloud’s I-94 Business Park at Opportunity Drive and I-94. Fresh and frozen products will temporarily ship from AWG’s Nebraska and Great Lakes Divisions. Later on in 2022, AWG will complete a new fresh and frozen warehouse at a location still to be determined.
Once the new location is completed, the collective warehouses will provide more than 650,000 square feet of warehouse space and accommodate the full-line distribution of products to Coborn’s and other AWG member stores in the region. Additionally, once a site is selected for the new fresh and frozen warehouse and completed, AWG plans a future expansion into a single state-of-the-art facility with automated high-tech operations and with up to one million square feet of space, based on retail demand. In total, AWG expects this project to create over 400 new jobs.
“We are excited to embark on this new partnership with AWG and to be a part of their plans to expand into Minnesota. This partnership provides Coborn’s a strong wholesale partner and positions our company well for future long-term growth and stability,” said Chris Coborn, Chairman, President, and CEO of Coborn’s. “As an employee-owned company, we are proud to join the AWG co-op which allows us to continue to serve our guests in a remarkable way. As community members, we are also pleased about the additional jobs this will create for Central Minnesota.”
Currently, the Upper Midwest Division will supply and support current and future cooperative members closer to the new operation. The service area will include Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, providing those member-retailers a more localized assortment, lower cost of goods, and saving those AWG members millions of dollars annually through reduced freight expenses.
“Coborn’s is one of the nation’s top independent grocers, with a rich history and impressive 100-year track record of retail excellence and growth while serving and supporting their communities. We’re very excited to welcome Coborn’s to the AWG cooperative family, and it’s a blessing to know that we can now support them as they enter the next century of their history”, said Smith.
This expansion will create AWG’s ninth full-line wholesale Division. AWG currently operates Divisions in Kansas City, KS; Springfield, MO; Oklahoma City, OK; Southaven, MS; Goodlettsville, TN; Pearl River, LA; Kenosha, WI; and Norfolk, NE. The new Upper Midwest Division will be overseen by Danny Lane, AWG Senior Vice President, and long-time industry veteran.
We here at Deli Market News cannot wait to see this partnership grow and look forward to more developments in the retail sector.