Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG) has begun serving additional Chicago-area supermarket retailers, the Kansas City, Kansas-based wholesaler said May 5.
With the new Chicagoland business coming on board, AWG is ramping up full-scale deliveries out of its Kenosha, Wisconsin, division—acquired following its merger with Affiliated Foods Midwest (AFM) last October—which will be the main distribution center for the Chicago area.
Along with delivering groceries, AWG offers a variety of other services for independent grocers in Chicago and throughout its 36-state distribution footprint, including advertising, marketing, retail training, store design and decor, engineering and more.
“Our co-op members make our ongoing success possible,” said David Smith, AWG’s CEO. “We strive to give them the best services and do the best job possible for them day in, day out. We’re glad these Chicago retailers chose us.”
One of the retailers new to AWG is Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets, founded in 1958 in Elmwood Park, Illinois. Since that time, Caputo’s has become known for its extensive product variety as well as its own house brand, “La Bella Romana,” a line of staple items for authentic Italian cuisine, according to AWG.
Caputo’s has grown to eight stores in the Chicago area offering shoppers items such as made-from-scratch sausage, pasta, sauces, bakery and deli items, and hot entrees.
“One of the things that we liked about AWG was that they speak the retail language,” said Robertino Presta, CEO of Angelo Caputo’s. “They’re retailer driven, which is what we were looking for.”
Treasure Island Foods, another established Chicago food retailer, also joined AWG. Treasure Island was founded in 1963 on the north side of Chicago. The chain now operates seven stores, with plans to grow. Once called “the most European supermarket in America” by Julia Child, Treasure Island Foods prides itself on its extensive variety of international products.
“Joining AWG was about finding the right partner who would, in the long term, help us meet our goals.” said Christ Kamberos Jr., VP of development for Treasure Island Foods. “When my dad started the business his goal was to become ‘the place’ to shop for foodies and those looking for true European food and he succeeded.
“We are now focused on continuing to innovate and grow our footprint through expansion. We believe AWG will provide a strong platform and partnership for us to continue to build our brand throughout the next several decades,” Kamberos added.
“These families have some great stories about how they began, the struggles they overcame and it’s all amazing. Several of these businesses were started by first generation Americans. They’re truly American Dream success stories,” said Smith. “We look forward to a bright future with them in Chicago.”