The pending merger of Affiliated Foods Midwest Cooperative (AFM) and Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) received near unanimous approval from more than 400 of AFM's grocery store member-owners during a recent shareholders meeting. The vote, which was 410 to 2, was the final condition for the merger to move forward.
The combination of the two organizations, as PG previously reported, is expected to take effect next month.
Before the vote, AFM members were notified of the expected benefits of the merger, including lower cost of goods and an expanded array of service. “Our boards knew that unifying the cooperatives would produce substantial financial rewards for retailer-members and would produce long-term growth,” said Martin Arter, AFM’s president and CEO. Once the deal is sealed, Arter will become SVP and manager of the northern region for the newly combined AWG, and will oversee operations for Nebraska and Great Lakes divisions.
David Smith, AWG president and CEO, was “humbled” by the near unanimous vote, noting: “AWG will indeed be stronger together by joining forces with this amazing group of like-minded retailers.”
The expanded AWG will provide products and services to more than 3,500 independently owned member stores located in 35 states separated into nine divisions. In addition to the grocery wholesale operations, AWG operates subsidiary companies that provide wholesale supply of health and beauty products, general merchandise, pharmaceutical supplies and specialty, natural, organic and international foods as well as real estate and supermarket development services, retail accounting, digital marketing services and military commissary supply.
Following the merger, AWG will have annualized consolidated sales of about $10 billion.