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    Eight San Francisco Grocers Sign Up With IGA

    CHICAGO -- Eight conventional supermarkets in the San Francisco Bay area will be converting to the IGA Banner as they join the world's largest voluntary supermarket network, with aggregate worldwide retail sales of more than $21 billion per year.

    CHICAGO -- Eight conventional supermarkets in the San Francisco Bay area will be converting to the IGA Banner as they join the world's largest voluntary supermarket network, with aggregate worldwide retail sales of more than $21 billion per year.

    The stores, five Cala Foods and three Bell Markets, were acquired from Ralphs Grocery Co. by DeLano Retail Partners in 2006. They are located in San Francisco (three stores), Tiburon (two stores), Fairfax, Mill Valley, and Novato.

    The first store, located in Mill Valley, will be converted to IGA Jan. 23. The remaining stores will be converted throughout the month of February, with anticipated completion by March 1. The Sacramento division of Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., will be the primary supplier of each of the supermarkets, which will be known as DeLano IGA Markets.

    New owners Harley and Dennis DeLano, who are father and son, had extensive experience working with this particular store group when it was under Ralphs ownership. Harley DeLano was president of the stores for 10 years, until his retirement in 2000. Dennis DeLano worked with the company for over 15 years, and was a member of the store group's management team when he left in 2006.

    Harley DeLano said that key factors in making his decision to convert to IGA were IGA's renowned brand identity, the world-class training and certification opportunities offered by the IGA Coca-Cola Institute, and IGA's national consumer marketing event programs.

    "No matter where you go in the world, people recognize the IGA brand and equate it with hometown community pride," he said. "Throughout our involvement with these stores, we have always been dedicated to the community as well as our customers. IGA is a perfect match for us."

    According to the DeLanos, the stores are of varying sizes and offer a diverse mix of services that cater to each store's specific clientele.

    Said IGA chairman Dr. Thomas Haggai, who visited DeLano Retail Partners in October: "[T]hey have for the first time given us a strong presence in the gateway city of San Francisco. This is one of the first signings under the leadership of new IGA [president, chairman, and] c.e.o. Mark Batenic."

    C&S' Bryon Lovell, Sacramento division president, also welcomed the store group. "We view them as growth partners for the future," Lovell said. "They both bring tremendous experience in retail and will help build IGA brand equity in the California market."

    The IGA alliance includes more than 4,000 Hometown Proud Supermarkets worldwide, supported by 36 distribution companies and more than 55 major manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers encompassing everything from grocery to equipment items. IGA has operations in 48 of the United States and more than 40 countries, commonwealths, and territories on all six inhabited continents.

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