Following World War II, the end of food rationing and the lifting of price controls marked the beginning of a challenging time for the independent grocer. During the war, customer loyalty to independent grocers was strong, but afterward, the bigger self-service supermarkets were offering a wider selection at lower prices, and shoppers took notice.
In 1946, in an effort to assist these struggling grocers, a sales representative from Del Monte Foods introduced eight independent grocers from Newark, New Jersey, to the idea of pooling their resources to purchase large quantities of products at lower cost. Open to the new business arrangement, the grocers banded together and used their new cooperative buying power to offer customers the same goods at competitive prices. After a successful trial period, the relationship was formalized on December 5, 1946, with each grocer investing $1,000 into the new entity giving birth to Wakefern Food Corp.
Today, Wakefern is the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States, comprising 50 member companies who independently own and operate 362 retail supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island markets.
Wakefern In the Community
While our corporate mission is to help small businesses succeed in a big business world, Wakefern Food Corp. believes in nurturing and sustaining healthy communities. We are invested in improving the lives of our associates, customers and neighbors in many ways, from reducing our impact on the environment to fighting hunger, promoting healthy lifestyles, and more. Visit our Sustainability page and learn how Wakefern is striving to make its communities a better place to live, work and shop.
Wakefern at a Glance
- Founded in 1946
- Supporting family-owned businesses for four generations
- Nearly 50 members
- Hundreds of supermarkets — ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market
- Stores throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
and Rhode Island
- Readington Farms, a milk and dairy processing plant located in
Whitehouse, NJ, produces Bowl & Basket milk and spring water, orange juice, iced teas, and drinks for Wakefern banner brands ShopRite and Price Rite Marketplace, as well as QuikCheck convenience stores.
- Helping fight hunger with $51 million donated since 1999 through ShopRite Partners In Caring program