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Colemans strikes deal with Gander Consumers Co-op

Coleman Group will source and deliver all products to the store

Gander Consumers Co-op has struck a deal with The Coleman Group that will see Colemans supply all products, including fresh categories, to the Gander supermarket.

The agreement, which Colemans vice-president Mike Coleman described as a “long-term relationship,” follows a similar deal recently struck between Coleman and the Clarenville Area Consumers Co-op.

Darrell Pike, store manager with the Gander Co-op, said that Colemans was selected on the basis of its Newfoundland roots, its commitment to the communities in which it operates, and its reputation for superior products.

Pike said that Colemans is particularly strong in fresh foods, which has traditionally been one of Gander Co-op’s biggest strengths.

Colemans competed against Sobeys, Loblaw and Atlantic Grocery Distributors for the contract. The selection process took about a month to complete, said Pike.

Gander Co-op previously had a supplier agreement in place with Co-op Atlantic, a roughly 60-store group that includes both the Gander and Clarenville stores. Co-op Atlantic recently agreed to sell its food and gas wholesale and retail business to Sobeys.

That transaction, which is still awaiting approval from the Competition Bureau, included five corporately owned retail food stores, which some speculated would be converted to the Sobeys banner.

The deal is also expected to enable Stellarton, N.S-based Sobeys to expand its wholesale business by supplying Co-op stores in the Atlantic region. Sobeys already controls an estimated 25% of the Atlantic region’s consumer packaged goods sales according to Canadian Grocer estimates.

Pike said that Gander Co-op’s board recommended switching to Colemans, a decision that was unanimously supported at a member meeting.

Coleman said the fact that Co-op stores are independently owned gives them leeway to select their own suppliers. “They’re free to make their own decision about who they want to use as a supplier, and I guess that was ultimately the case here,” says Coleman. “These two Co-ops chose us because they thought we would be a better fit.”

Colemans has supplier arrangements in place with nine other independent stores throughout the province, including Bidgoods Supermarket in St. John’s and Bonavista-based J.T. Swyers, one of the province’s oldest grocery retailers. Coleman said his company is still willing to strike other supplier deals. “We’re always interested in talking to other retailers,” he said.

Colemans, based in Corner-Brook, NL, and operates some 12 grocery stores of its own in the province under the Colemans banner.

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