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Frank Budwey has agreed to sell his three Budwey’s supermarkets in the Buffalo-Niagara, N.Y., region to the Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-op Inc. in a deal that will end his family’s 86 years in the local grocery business, according to a published report.
The original North Tonawanda location will retain the Budwey’s banner, but the cooperative is expected to sell the Budwey’s store on Kenmore Avenue to Dash’s Markets, The Buffalo News reported, citing industry sources, while the fate of the Newfane store is still up in the air. Budwey joined the Olean, N.Y.-based retail cooperative in 2002, saying it enabled him to own shares of its warehouse and “cut out the middleman.” A condition of the deal is that Olean Wholesale keep the stores’ approximately 430 employees, Budwey told the newspaper.
“I’m going to be 65 next year, and I didn’t have a succession plan, so this is my succession plan,” Budwey gave as his reason for agreeing to the deal. “I’ve been trying to sell for about two years now.”
Budwey, a Vietnam veteran who took over business in 1971, said his small chain lasted by focusing on its strengths, among them independence, small floor plans and convenience. He added that he was still finalizing the deal with Olean Wholesale, which would then most likely look for a franchise operator to operate the stores.
Pending such factors as the signing of a definitive sales agreement and the arrangement of financing for the purchase, the deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
Olean Wholesale supplies more than 100 stores throughout western and central New York, western Pennsylvania, and northeastern Ohio. Its store-brand labels include the Shurfine, ShurSaving and Western Family brands.