Seven Klein's Stores Join Wakefern Co-op

Klein's Family Markets said yesterday that it would be joining the Wakefern Food Corp. retail cooperative, with its seven stores taking the ShopRite banner, for which Wakefern serves as the marketing and advertising arm.

The move represents ShopRite's first foray into the Baltimore area, according to Wakefern chairman and c.e.o. Joseph Colalillo, himself a second-generation supermarket owner with three ShopRite stores in western New Jersey.

"Membership in the Wakefern cooperative will allow us to continue to grow the business we have been building since 1925," said Michael J. Klein, v.p. and purchasing director for Klein's Family Markets. "Like our own family, many of the Wakefern members are third- and fourth-generation grocers -- joining with other independent retailers will allow us to remain competitive with larger chains while remaining true to what has made Klein's Family Markets successful."

"Transitioning to the ShopRite banner will allow us to expand our offering throughout our store, including a broader selection in our meat, produce, deli, and bakery departments," noted Klein's perishable director Marshall J. Klein, who added that the quality of the ShopRite private label brand was another consideration when deciding to join ShopRite. "Harford County, Md. residents will now have access to more than 3,000 ShopRite branded items, including imported specialty foods, that we believe will bring a new level of quality and value to our customers," said Klein.

"With Wakefern, we have the support of a cooperative with more than $10 billion in retail sales and access to ShopRite's loyalty card program -- the PricePlus Club Card -- which will bring additional value and offers to our customers," observed Howard S. Klein, v.p. and general counsel for Klein's.

"The Kleins bring with them decades of supermarket experience that our entire membership is sure to benefit from," said Colalillo.

As the 44th member of the Wakefern Food Co-op, the Klein family will complete its transition to the ShopRite banner by the first quarter of 2009.

Klein's ShopRites will continue to offer full-service pharmacies, catering, and event support programs, and will seek to add additional services provided by ShopRite, including ShopRite's Culinary Workshop, a program that offers in-store cooking classes.

Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern, the largest retailer-owned (non-farm) cooperative in the United States, comprising 43 members who individually own and operate over 200 supermarkets under the ShopRite banner in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, and serves more than 5 million customers weekly. Wakefern, along with its ShopRite and PriceRite banners, has become one of New Jersey's largest employers, with approximately 32,000 associates in the state, and 49,000 overall.
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