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About C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.

C&S Wholesale Grocers is at the bottom of the food chain -- and likes it that way. The company is the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the US, supplying goods to some 6,500 independent and major supermarkets (including Safeway and Target), chain stores, military bases, and institutions. C&S Wholesale, which serves about 15 states (from Vermont to Hawaii), distributes more than 150,000 food and nonfood items from more than 50 locations. Its ES3 logistics unit provides warehousing and supply-chain management services. Israel Cohen started the company with Abraham Siegel in 1918.

Operations

C&S Wholesale's offerings include wholesale procurement, category management, pricing, marketing and advertising, merchandising support, store design, and business and accounting services.

In addition, it has access to more than 3,000 private label brands, including Best Yet, Piggly Wiggly, White Rose, Exceptional Value, and Nature's Finest. It is also the licensed distributor of the IGA and Parade labels.

Geographic Reach

While C&S Wholesale's operations are concentrated in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, the company also has warehouse operations in the South (Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas) and western US, including California and Hawaii. Its ES3 logistics unit has facilities in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

Sales and Marketing

C&S Wholesale supplies products to a number of leading grocery chains including Big M, Bi-Lo Holding, Holiday Quality Foods, Market Basket, Kroger, Marsh Supermarkets, Save-Mor Markets, Stop & Shop, Target, and Top Friendly Markets.

Financial Performance

C&S Wholesale claims that it and its affiliated companies had $30 billion in annual revenue in 2015. Based on sales, C&S ranks as the 10th-largest privately held company in the US for 2018, according to Forbes magazine.

Strategy

C&S Wholesale expands through acquisitions that fill geographic and market holes and to maintain its competitive edge in a business that's rapidly consolidating. In 2018, C&S made a bid to buy rival wholesaler Supervalu, a deal that would have united the No. 1 and No. 2 grocery wholesalers in the US. C&S Wholesale lost the deal to United Natural Foods' $2.9 billion offer. Instead, C&S Wholesale agreed to acquire Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, which serves more than 270 independently owned food retail and convenience stores in central and western New York, western Pennsylvania, and northeast Ohio.

Previously, C&S Wholesale bought FreshKO Produce Services to bolster its fresh and organic customer base and its presence in California and other trade areas. The purchase of Houston-based Grocers Supply Co. expanded C&S's distribution footprint to the Southwest, where GSC supplied more than 900 independent grocery stores, including Hispanic-themed Fiesta Mart.

C&S Wholesale is a giant in an industry known for moving high volumes of products and having narrow profit margins. Adding to that, price competition has heated up in recent years as smaller regional distributors have fought to stay competitive with industry leaders.

C&S Wholesale has taken its leading position by offering logistics services to retail chains and food manufacturers (Unilever), in addition to distribution. This diversification strategy not only offers a lucrative stream of revenue, but it has also helped to protect the company from bankruptcies in the retail grocery industry.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2018 C&S Wholesale agreed to buy Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, based in Olean, New York. It serves some 270 independent grocery and convenience stores in central and western New York, western Pennsylvania, and northeastern Ohio.

Company Background

Israel Cohen and Abraham Siegel began C&S Wholesale Grocers in 1918 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Cohen ran the company for more than 50 years after buying out Siegel in 1921. It became a family concern in 1972 when Cohen turned the company over to his son Lester, who soon brought in his sons, Jim and Rick.

Some 100 years after its creation, C&S Wholesale is the biggest food distributor in the US and one of the country's biggest private companies. Its growth came from acquisitions that filled out its product lines and expanded its territory.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.

7 CORPORATE DR
Keene, NH 03431-5042
Phone: 1 (603) 354-7000

Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
Chairman: Richard B. Cohen
CEO: Mike Duffy
CFO: Kevin F. McNamara
Employees (This Location): 435
Employees (All Locations): 17,000

Major Office Locations

Keene, NH

Other Locations

Birmingham, AL
Hoover, AL
Odenville, AL
Sulligent, AL
Batesville, AR
Fresno, CA
Sacramento, CA
Stockton, CA
Tracy, CA
Suffield, CT
Windsor Locks, CT
Jacksonville, FL
Miami, FL
Quincy, FL
Butler, GA
Glennville, GA
Jesup, GA
Lindale, GA
Townsend, GA
Kapolei, HI
Hammond, LA
Springfield, MA
Westfield, MA
Aberdeen, MD
North East, MD
Upper Marlboro, MD
Aurora, NC
Ayden, NC
Beaufort, NC
Kinston, NC
Littleton, NC
Keene, NH
Bayonne, NJ
Carteret, NJ
Edison, NJ
Lake Hiawatha, NJ
Waldwick, NJ
Au Sable Forks, NY
Bolton Landing, NY
Cheektowaga, NY
Chester, NY
Corinth, NY
Elizabethtown, NY
Hancock, NY
Millerton, NY
Montgomery, NY
Newburgh, NY
New Hartford, NY
North Creek, NY
Northville, NY
Peru, NY
Saranac Lake, NY
Schroon Lake, NY
Stamford, NY
Tannersville, NY
West Coxsackie, NY
Bethlehem, PA
Blandon, PA
Carlisle, PA
Dunmore, PA
East Berlin, PA
Milford, PA
Robesonia, PA
Scranton, PA
York, PA
Charleston, SC
Columbia, SC
Edisto Island, SC
Florence, SC
Greenwood, SC
Hardeeville, SC
Hollywood, SC
Johns Island, SC
Lexington, SC
Mount Pleasant, SC
Mullins, SC
Myrtle Beach, SC
North Charleston, SC
Orangeburg, SC
Pawleys Island, SC
Prosperity, SC
Saint Matthews, SC
Summerville, SC
Sumter, SC
Wagener, SC
Harlingen, TX
Houston, TX
Irving, TX
New Caney, TX
San Antonio, TX
Brattleboro, VT
Hardwick, VT
Northfield, VT
Rutland, VT
Kenosha, WI
Parkersburg, WV