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    Roche Bros. Co-owner to Depart

    Jay Roche ran the family-owned New England grocery chain with his cousins Ed and Rick.

    Roche Bros. said yesterday that vice chairman and co-owner Jay Roche has decided to leave the 18-store regional chain, based in Wellesley, Mass.

    In a letter to associates, Roche wrote: "I have talked with [co-owners] Ed and Rick [Roche], along with my family, and decided to leave Roche Bros. to pursue other interests. I don't do this to spend more time with my family -- they see me enough; it's more my own desire to try something new....Knowing firsthand the quality of the management team and the strength of our plan for the future, I know that Roche Bros. will continue to be a driving force in the industry."

    Founded by Bud and Pat Roche in 1952, the company is currently run by second-generation brothers Ed and Rick, who took over with their cousin Jay, Bud's son, in 1998, when Bud retired.

    Roche Bros. spokeswoman Janet O'Connor told Progressive Grocer that while Jay's departure from the company amounted to an early retirement, he was still "in the process" of leaving the company, with no official date set as his last day. His future plans remain undisclosed.

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