Nicholas Markets Inc., owned by the Maniaci family, has become the 51st family-owned business to join the Wakefern Food Corp. retailer cooperative. The Maniaci family formerly belonged for many years to the Iselin, N.J.-based Allegiance Retail Services LLC cooperative, operating Nicholas Markets under the Foodtown banner, until its abrupt departure.
Founded in 1943 by Rocco and Nicholas Maniaci, grandfather and father of David Maniaci, current president and CEO of Nicholas Markets, the companyoperates four stores in North Haledon, Cedar Grove, Colonia and the Township of Washington, N.J., which will be rebranded as The Fresh Grocer, a Wakefern trademark.
There are nine The Fresh Grocer stores, eight in the greater Philadelphia area and one in Wilmington, Del.
“The competitive landscape in New Jersey has grown fierce in recent years,” noted Maniaci, who was elected the cooperative's chairman and CEO in 2011. “I believe Wakefern’s deep roots in the state will help me navigate this and other challenges facing the supermarket industry.”
He added: “I leave the Foodtown cooperative at a time when it is strong and thriving. It has seen significant growth to its membership base and store count over the past decade.”
“We are excited to welcome another member into our Wakefern family,” said Joseph Colalillo, chairman and CEO of Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern. “Nicholas Markets is a strong addition to our cooperative. David and his associates are deeply committed to serving their communities and providing exceptional quality and fresh prepared foods to their customers.”
“Adding Nicholas Markets stores to The Fresh Grocer banner strengthens Wakefern’s competitive position in northern New Jersey,” observed Joe Sheridan, Wakefern’s president and COO. “Membership in our cooperative allows independent operators to maintain their entrepreneurial spirit while benefiting from the scale and services Wakefern offers. We look forward to welcoming the Maniaci family to Wakefern.”
Progressive Grocer earlier contacted Allegiance, but has received no official statement on the departure of Maniaci.
The largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States, Wakefern comprises 51 members that independently own and operate 353 supermarkets under the ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace and Dearborn Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Virginia. Together with its member companies, Wakefern, which is No. 8 on PG’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States, employs more than 70,000 people, and is one of the largest employers in New Jersey.