Spartan merger impact minimal

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:57 PM

Locally, D&W Fresh Market, Leppink's carry Spartan products and Orchard Market stores carry Nash Finch products.

Details are still being finalized on the all-stock merger valued at $1.3 billion, but officials say customers won't see any changes at their local grocers. Employees, rewards programs, products, weekly specials and pharmacy services will remain intact.

Don Ferguson, store director of Leppink's, 17717 174th Ave. in Ferrysburg, said he heard about the merger from a delivery driver.

Leppink's is an independent store, supplied by Spartan.

“It shouldn't affect us too much,” Ferguson said. “I don't see any immediate changes.”

Ferguson said the collaboration could give Spartan more buying power.

“I foresee us still drawing our products from the same warehouse (Grand Rapids),” Ferguson said.

The deal will expand Spartan's distribution beyond Michigan, Indiana and Ohio to 37 states and the District of Columbia. It also makes Spartan the largest food distributor to U.S. Military commissaries and exchanges in the United States and abroad.

Ferguson said he is excited for Spartan and its wider distribution footprint.

“It will be one of the biggest (suppliers) in the country,” Ferguson said. “But I don't see any immediate changes for us.”

A clerk at the D&W Fresh Market store in Grand Haven said all media inquiries must be handled by the corporate office in Grand Rapids and the local store manager could not speak about the transaction.

Officials from Orchard Market did not return phone calls.

The merger is expected to create a combined entity with $7.5 billion in annual sales.

Together, Spartan Stores and Nash Finch will have 22 distribution centers and 177 retail stores, according to corporate data.

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