Nash Finch Returns to its Roots

Minneapolis-based food distributor Nash Finch Co. has agreed to purchase a Wally’s Supermarket location in Devils Lake, N.D., the town where Nash Finch was founded in 1885.

Wally’s Supermarkets parent company was founded in 1952 by Wally and Ione DeSautel in Grafton, N.D. A second Wally’s location in Grafton will be owned and operated by Hugo’s, a Nash Finch-supplied customer. The transactions are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“When we made the difficult decision to exit the supermarket business and sell our stores, we felt it was critical to find buyers that would take good care of our customers,” said Mike DeSautel, one of the owners of Wally’s Supermarkets. “We are pleased that Nash Finch and Hugo’s are going to be the new owners of our stores, and that our customers can expect a smooth transition since there aren’t any expected changes in management or staff. On behalf of the DeSautel family, I want to thank all of our dedicated employees and our many loyal shoppers who together have helped us develop a business that has delivered a consistent good value and hometown service to our loyal customers.”

Alec Covington, Nash Finch president and CEO, added: “It is exciting for us to own a supermarket in Devils Lake, where Nash Finch was founded and opened its very first store. This creates a wonderful opportunity for us to serve customers, in a place of historical significance for Nash Finch, in the same way the Nash Brothers did 126 years ago.”

Valley Markets, the operators of the Hugo’s Family Marketplace and a family-owned business based in Grand Forks, N.D., is acquiring Wally’s Grafton store. Hugo’s operates its stores as neighborhood supermarkets where customers receive extra personal service and attention.

“Hugo’s is thrilled to own a store in Grafton, and we couldn't be happier to purchase a wonderful family-operated grocery store like Wally’s,” said Hugo’s owner Kristi Magnuson-Nelson. “We are excited to meet our new friends and neighbors and welcome them into the Hugo’s family of customers.”

Hugo’s currently owns and operates eight supermarkets in Grand Forks and Jamestown, N.D., as well as in Crookston, East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls, Minn.

Nash Finch’s core food distribution business serves independent retailers and military commissaries in 36 states, the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Azores and Egypt. The company also owns and operates a base of retail stores, primarily supermarkets under the Econofoods, Family Thrift Center, Avanza, Family Fresh Markets, Savers Choice and Sun Mart banners.

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