Wakefern food co-op welcomes new chairman, president at annual meeting

Keasbey-based Wakefern Food Corp. welcomed a new chairman and president during the company’s annual meeting last week, when shareholders, store leadership teams and staff joined together for the event at the Hanover Marriott Hotel in Whippany.

Outgoing Chairman Joseph Colalillo paid tribute to the cooperative he led for 18 years as he welcomed Sean McMenamin as the new chairman and Mike Stigers as Wakefern’s new president.

McMenamin, who served as vice chairman of the board, is also president of McMenamin Family Markets, which operates two ShopRite stores in Philadelphia. It was the first annual meeting for Stigers, who joined Wakefern in June.

“Sean is a second-generation grocer who believes in the mission of our cooperative. He recognizes that Wakefern succeeds when all of its members succeed. Both Sean and Mike are strong leaders who will confidently navigate the challenges ahead to make sure Wakefern continues to grow and succeed,” Colalillo said.

Colalillo will continue to serve on Wakefern’s board and lead his family company, ShopRite of Hunterdon County, which operates five ShopRite stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“It has been my great privilege and honor to serve our cooperative as chairman of the board,” said Colalillo, who thanked fellow board members, retiring Wakefern President Joe Sheridan and associates. “Together, we have steered our company through a period of substantial growth, made investments in warehouses, technology and new and innovative marketing programs. Through our combined efforts, Wakefern’s retail banners are respected and formidable regional supermarkets in the Northeast.”

“I am honored and humbled to be here today and promise to work as hard as I can to ensure that our family-owned businesses — our Wakefern family — thrive for generations to come,” McMenamin said. “A desire to help people eat well and be happy has been at our core since the cooperative was founded by eight neighborhood grocers in 1946. That shared common purpose will continue to guide us and keep our members strong in this rapidly changing industry.”

Colalillo presented Sheridan with the chairman’s award for his nearly 50 years of service to the cooperative. In his last annual report on the cooperative, Sheridan said investments in brick-and-mortar stores, online shopping, technology and Own Brands continue to drive a best-in-class customer experience that strengthens Wakefern.

“As I complete my last and 28th presentation to this group, I want you to know that it has always been my privilege to present the accomplishments of all the people in this room, in our warehouses and in our stores. It has been an honor for me to serve multiple generations of ShopRite families who lead their own companies and support Wakefern,” Sheridan said.

Both Colalillo and Sheridan called on Wakefern members and associates to support the new leadership team with McMenamin and Stigers at the helm.

Stigers said he is focused on protecting Wakefern’s legacy while moving the company forward.

“The past 77 years has seen Wakefern achieve the considerable feat of becoming the nation’s largest retailer-owned cooperative. This cooperative has a pretty remarkable history, and I’m so grateful to be part of it. I’m excited to think about what the next 77 will bring and how we can take the next steps on Wakefern’s journey into the future,” Stigers said.

The board also welcomed Sandra Brown, chairwoman of Brown’s Super Stores Inc. and David Maniaci, CEO and president of Nicholas Markets Inc., as the newest members of Wakefern’s board of directors.

Other Wakefern shareholders elected to the board of directors at last Thursday’s meeting include: Larri Wolfson and Dominick J. Romano, vice chairmen; Nicholas Sumas, treasurer; Lawrence Inserra Jr., and Neil Greenstein, assistant treasurers; Richard Saker, secretary; and Ned Gladstein, Shawn Ravitz and Marshall Klein, assistant secretaries.