C&S Wholesale Grocers

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C&S Wholesale Grocers
Industry Grocery wholesale and distribution
Founded Worcester, Massachusetts (1918)
Founder Israel Cohen and Abraham Siegel
Headquarters Keene, New Hampshire, United States
Number of locations
about 50 distribution centers in 15 states[1]
Key people
Revenue $21.7 billion (as of 2013)[2]
Number of employees
about 14,000 (as of 2013)[2]
Website www.cswg.com

C&S Wholesale Grocers is an American wholesale distributor of food and grocery store items with its headquarters in Keene, New Hampshire, United States. C&S is the twelfth-largest privately held company in the United States, as listed in 2013 by Forbes. C&S owns the Piggly Wiggly grocery brand (which is independently franchised to store operators) as well as the Best Yet private label brand.[3] C&S is the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the United States, based on revenue.[4]

C&S provides more than 95,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) food and nonfood items to 5,000 corporate customers, including produce, meat, dairy products, delicatessen products, fresh/frozen bakery items, health and beauty aids, candy, and tobacco. C&S has 14,000 associates in 15 states, and storage space of more than 15 million square feet.[1][5]

C&S customers include Giant-Carlisle, Giant-Landover, Stop & Shop, BI-LO/Winn-Dixie, Safeway Inc., A&P Supermarkets, Target Corporation, and independent store/supermarket owner/operators.[1]


C&S was founded by Israel Cohen and Abraham Siegel in 1918 in Worcester, Massachusetts. It began as a small grocery distribution center in a three-story building on Winter Street. In 1929 the original building flooded, prompting a move to a new, larger location on Hygeia Street. In the 1940s, as the popularity of supermarkets grew, C&S made several improvements to their distribution process including a warehouse "roller system", and staffing trucks with one employee who acts as driver and salesman, thus cutting delivery costs in half.[6]

C&S grew dramatically in 1958 after it began serving supermarket chain Big D in Worcester.[7]

In the 1970s, the founder's grandson, Rick Cohen, joined the company. C&S then built and moved into a 300,000-square-foot (28,000 m2) warehouse in Brattleboro, Vermont. With the move, it began serving several large supermarket chains, including A&P.[7]

In 2001, C&S moved into retailing as it acquired the Grand Union (supermarket) company (now Grand Union Family Markets). It was Grand Union's largest unsecured creditor when Grand Union declared bankruptcy, making a stalking horse offer.[8]

Beginning in 2013, C&S entered into a partnership with BI-LO to provide warehousing, distribution, and procurement services for all 480 Winn-Dixie stores. As a result, C&S began to operate six existing Winn-Dixie distribution centers in the Southeast of the United States.[9] In September 2014, C&S entered into an Asset purchase agreement with Associated Wholesalers Inc (AWI), thus allowing C&S to acquire nearly all of their assets.[10]


  • January 2009: Lawsuits were filed in federal courts in Wisconsin and New Hampshire alleging that C&S and SuperValu engaged in collusion to allocate markets and reduce competition. The charges stemmed from a 2003 asset swap in which SuperValu swapped distribution centers in the Northeast with C&S's centers in the Midwest with suits claiming that each had indicated it would not compete in the other's territory. The agreement raised red flags when C&S closed its newly acquired distribution centers shortly after the deal.[11][12][13]
  • December 2010: A&P filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing in court papers that, among other causes, A&P made an "unfavorable" arrangement with C&S where A&P was required to get 70 percent of its inventory from C&S.[14]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "About". C&S Wholesale Grocers. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "C&S Wholesale Grocers on the Forbes America's Largest Private Companies List". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2014-10-07. 
  3. ^ "Full Line Wholesale Procurment". C&S Wholesale Grocers. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Investor Relations". C&S Wholesale Grocers. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Private Label Brands". C&S Wholesale Grocers. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "C&S Through the Years". C&S Wholesale Grocers. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Coffey, Brendan; Siraj, Zohair. "Hidden Billionaire Cohen Hauls Fortune in Unmarked Trucks". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  8. ^ http://www.paulweiss.com/files/Publication/d1436bab-f7cd-4ecf-a1d7-26764ac96052/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/896831da-763f-4a4e-a70d-7599105b5056/837336.pdf[dead link]
  9. ^ Springer, Jon (2013-05-14). "C and S to Take Over Winn-Dixie Distribution". Supermarket News. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Associated Wholesalers Enters Into Asset Purchase Agreement With C&S Wholesale Grocers". PRNewswire (Associated Wholesalers Inc). September 9, 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Stevens, Caleb (January 22, 2009). "Supervalu faces collusion lawsuit". 
  12. ^ "Grocery Wholesalers Face Anticompetitive Lawsuit | Modern Distribution Management". Mdm.com. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  13. ^ Sanders, Bob (2009-07-03). "Grocery score: suit alleges C&S in antitrust conspiracy.". Entrepreneur.com. Retrieved 2010-12-13. [dead link]
  14. ^ Kary, Tiffany. "A&P, Century-Old U.S. Grocery Store Owner, Files for Bankruptcy". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 

External links[edit]