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19 Grocery Co-ops Make 2003 NCB Co-op 100 List

WASHINGTON - The country's top grocery cooperatives earned $28.1 billion in revenues during 2003, according to a list of the nation's 100 highest revenue-earning cooperatives produced by National Cooperative Bank (NCB).

The NCB Co-op 100, an annual report that tracks revenues generated by cooperatives, is an indicator of co-op business activity across the country. The 100 cooperatives on the list earned approximately $117.4 billion in combined revenue, demonstrating the vital role cooperatives play in the national economy.

In 2003, grocery cooperatives had the second-strongest presence on the NCB Co-op 100 with 19 businesses ranking in the top 100. Ranked number three on the overall list, one spot higher than in 2002, Wakefern Food Corp. of Elizabeth, N.J., is number one in the grocery sector.

Additional cooperatives in this sector in descending rank order include: TOPCO Associates LLC, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Unified Western Grocers, Associated Food Stores, Associated Wholesalers, Inc., Central Grocers Cooperative, Affiliated Foods, Inc., Associated Grocers, Inc., Affiliated Foods Midwest Co-op, Inc., URM Stores, Certified Grocers Midwest, Western Family Holding Company, Piggly Wiggly Alabama, Affiliated Foods Southwest, Associated Grocers, Inc., Key Food Stores Cooperative, Inc., Associated Grocers of Florida, Inc., and Associated Grocers of the South, Inc.

"Revenues for cooperatives continue to grow annually -- an outstanding accomplishment -- further solidifying the tremendous strength of these businesses in today's marketplace," said Charles E. Snyder, president and c.e.o. of NCB. "For more than a century, our cooperatives have flourished and become one of the nation's most reliable sources for good and services, bringing financial stability and prosperity to millions of people."

A cooperative is a business that is owned and controlled by its members who have joined together to use the cooperative's goods, services, and facilities. A board of directors, elected by the membership, sets both policies and procedures. By pooling resources, members can increase power to buy, sell, market, or bargain as one group and join economics of scale and share in any profits generated. In addition, communities benefit both socially and fiscally by the cooperatives' ability to reach and deliver goods and services from across the nation.

According to the National Cooperative Business Association, there are 48,000 cooperatives in the United States. These entities exist in a number of sectors, including agriculture, grocery, hardware and lumber, finance, energy, and housing. Many cooperatives on the NCB Co-op 100 list are household names, such as Ocean Spray, ShopRite and The Associated Press.
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