C&S Wholesale Grocers

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C&S Wholesale Grocers
Type Private
Founded Worcester, Massachusetts (1918)
Founder(s) Israel Cohen and Abraham Siegel
Headquarters Keene, New Hampshire, United States
Key people Richard B. Cohen (CEO)
Revenue $19.45 billion (as of 2007)
Employees about 18,000 (as of 2007)

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 2008 by Forbes.[1] As of November 2009, they are the eighth-largest such company.[2] C&S owns the Piggly Wiggly grocery brand (which is independently franchised to store operators) as well as the Best Yet private label brand.

C&S provides more than 95,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) food and nonfood items to 4,600 corporate customers, including produce, meat, dairy products, delicatessen products, fresh/frozen bakery items, health and beauty aids, candy, and tobacco. C&S has 15,000 associates in 11 states, and storage space of more than 15 million square feet.[3]

C&S customers include Belle Foods, Pathmark, Safeway Inc., Food Giant Stores, Shaw's Supermarkets, Stop & Shop, A&P Supermarkets, Target Corporation, Tops Markets LLC, BiLo Foods, Great American, SavMart/Foodmax, DeMoulas, and independent store/supermarket owner/operators.[3]


C&S was founded by Israel Cohen and Abraham Siegel in 1918 in Worcester, Massachusetts.[4] Rick Cohen, the third generation of the Cohen family to run the company, is the CEO.[5]

C&S grew dramatically in 1958 after it began serving supermarket chain Big D in Worcester.[6]

In 1981, C&S 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]

In July 2003, C&S bought the wholesale grocery business of the bankrupt Fleming.


  • 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.[9][10][11]
  • 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.[12]

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