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Friedman’s Freshmarkets, the Butler, Pa.-based 111-year-old supermarket company, has tapped Robesonia, Pa.-based Associated Wholesalers Inc. (AWI) as its new primary wholesaler.
Carole F. Bitter, president and CEO of the six-store regional independent, said the company’s five-year contract with Supervalu expires on September 30, and will not be extended. “We are happy to report that we are in the process of transitioning to AWI and will join the cooperative,” said Bitter, explaining that her company’s wholesaler search began with seven companies and was subsequently pared to four after conducting “an extremely thorough cost study" over the course of 16 months.
"We are convinced the cooperative model will work best for us,” explained Bitter, further citing AWI’s competitive costs, “philosophy, work ethic and commitment to the independent operator,” that culminated in the ultimate decision that “AWI best fits our needs going forward.”
The retailer-owned cooperative supplies an array of food and nonfood products to independent grocers and convenience stores along the eastern seaboard. From distribution centers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, AWI offers broadline grocery products, bakery goods, meat and dairy items, fresh produce, and frozen foods, as well as a full line of general merchandise products. The company's White Rose Foods unit serves supermarkets and grocers in the New York City area, New Jersey, and throughout New England. AWI also operates supermarkets, mostly under the Shurfine Markets banner.