Tony’s Fresh Market Acquired by Private-Equity Firm

Apollo seeks to take Chicago-based food retailer to next level
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Apollo Funds has acquired Tony's Fresh Market in the Chicago area.

Chicago-area specialty food grocer Tony's Fresh Market has been acquired through funds managed by global asset company Apollo.  Founded in 1979 by Italian immigrants Tony Ingraffia and Domenico Gambino, Tony’s currently operates 18 stores in Chicagoland and is planning and developing new locations in that market.

Apollo’s backing of the family-owned operation is the latest in a series of fund investments in the grocery sector, including previous involvements with The Fresh Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Smart & Final, and others. As of 2021, Apollo had about $498 billion assets under management.

According to Apollo partner Andrew Jhawar, the acquisition of Tony’s will enhance consumer access to fresh and often locally sourced foods across a diverse service area. “Having spent more than 20 years leading Apollo’s private-equity investments in grocery and retail, I firmly believe the business is poised for strong organic growth, and together we see additional opportunities to support Tony’s through go-to-market execution, customer loyalty programs, e-commerce and more,” said Jhawar.

Frank Ingraffia, a member of the founding family and Tony’s CEO, said that the move came at the a good time for the independent grocer. “My family has been feeding our communities for generations and [is] incredibly excited to partner with Apollo to build upon that legacy of fresh and healthy food, at an affordable price and delivered with respect to the many cultures of our customers,” noted Ingraffia.

As the private-equity firm helps Tony’s navigate future growth, Apollo also supports the grocer’s ongoing efforts to improve food security and donate to community food banks.  “We are focused on tackling the persistent challenge of access to healthy and affordable food, particularly in underserved communities,” explained Joanna Reiss, an Apollo partner who helps lead impact investment for that company. “We hope to further strengthen and scale Tony’s, and by doing so achieve strong financial performance alongside even greater impact.”

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