Food Fella: New town for Foodtown as Nicholas Markets joins Wakefern

Some fast-breaking news happening in the Garden State retail food industry, as New Jersey-based Nicholas Markets, owned by the Maniaci family, has become the 51st organization to join the Wakefern Food cooperative. Since 1943, the Maniaci family has owned and operated specialty food and grocery stores in northern New Jersey under the Foodtown banners. As of Oct. 30, that will change as its four stores, located in North Haledon, Cedar Grove, Colonia and the Township of Washington under the Foodtown banner, will be rebranded as the Fresh Grocer, a Wakefern trademark. Currently, there are nine Fresh Grocer stores, with eight stores located in the greater Philadelphia area and one in Wilmington, Delaware.

“The competitive landscape in New Jersey has grown fierce in recent years,” said David Maniaci, current CEO and president of Nicholas Markets Inc. “I believe Wakefern’s deep roots in the state will help me navigate this and other challenges facing the supermarket industry.”

“I leave the Foodtown cooperative at a time when it is strong and thriving,” added Maniaci. “It has seen significant growth to its membership base and store count over the past decade.”

“Adding Nicholas Markets stores to the Fresh Grocer banner strengthens Wakefern’s competitive position in northern New Jersey,” said Joe Sheridan, Wakefern chief president and chief operating officer. “Membership in our cooperative allows independent operators to maintain their entrepreneurial spirit while benefiting from the scale and services Wakefern offers. We look forward to welcoming the Maniaci family to Wakefern.”

Wakefern Food Corp. has now grown into the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. Founded in 1946, the cooperative comprises 51 members who today independently own and operate 353 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace, Gourmet Garage and Dearborn Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs more than 70,000 people, and is one of the largest employers in New Jersey.

Congratulations to all parties involved in this deal: Nicholas Markets, the Maniaci family and Wakefern Food Corp.!