Massive Atlantic Wholesalers Distribution Effort Delivers Fresh/Frozen to Region

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There's a giant refrigerator box on Caledonia's Commerce Street, through which the perishable items sold in the Maritime's Save Easy, IGA, and Atlantic Superstores passes, including the fresh and frozen meat for Newfoundland customers.

Moncton is the central nervous centre for perishables in the Maritimes for Atlantic Wholesalers, the superstores and retail chains and customers served by the central distribution centre.

Atlantic Wholesalers, owned by the Loblaw Group of Companies, owns The wholesale and retail operations of Atlantic Wholesalers Ltd., including: Atlantic Superstore, Atlantic SuperValu, IGA, Atlantic Save Easy, Omni, Red & White, Foodtown, Foodmaster, Quik Mart, Smart Cart, Valu-Mart and Cash & Carry outlets.

Atlantic Wholesalers has centralized deliveries for perishables from their recently expanded Moncton warehouse. This facility provides 183,000-sq. ft. of capacity and provides temporary storage and order picking assembly for food supplies, which are stored in an integrated dry, fresh, and freezer capacity.

Loblaw Group of Companies is part of GEORGE WESTON LIMITED {WN.(TSE)}, the leading food and grocery company in Canada, with global business interests.

A team of 100-support people lead by facility General Manager, David Rayworth, works in the big box distribution centre. There they keep a steady flow of perishables moving unto trucks destined for the largest and smallest communities in the Maritimes and Newfoundland.

The logistics centre has to keep up with a firm that is gaining market share and expanding facilities all over the region.

Atlantic Superstores continues to expand throughout the region and in March, 2000, opened the region's largest and newest superstore on 465 University Avenue, in Charlottetown, PEI. The new mega store has a complete range of accessory services that provide one-stop customer convenience for the grocery shopper. Added store features include - Family Vision, Dr. Shoe, Beanz Coffee, Tender Loving Corn, Photolab, Island Travel, Natural Value, Candle Shop, Supermax, Kloz for Kidz, Cook & Table, Dry Cleaner, Kids, PC Meat Shop, PC Financial, Meals To Go, Fresh To Go, Flower Shop, Drugstore and Holy Smokes.

The Atlantic Superstore is owned and operated by Atlantic Wholesalers Limited. There are currently 18 Superstores operating in Nova Scotia, 14 Superstores in New Brunswick and two on Prince Edward Island.

Atlantic Wholesalers is a wholly owned subsidiary of Loblaw Companies Limited, employing over 10,725 employees in the region through its corporate and franchise locations.

The story of Atlantic Wholesalers Ltd. remarkable growth in the region is one of progress and expansion. The company's history began in Sackville, New Brunswick in the year 1903. The company was founded by Dr. F. A. Dixon, who bought and shipped hay, and Mr. W. C. Milner, a flour and feed merchant. The two men combined their enterprises to form Sackville Hay & Feed Company Limited.

Service expanded, over the years, as Mr. Dixon steadily increased the number of grocery items that the company handled, experimenting with retail operations in a Sackville grocery store. Warehouses and branch offices were eventually opened throughout the Maritimes and the 1931 purchase of Morrison's Limited and the 1944 purchase of Jones-Schofield-Hatheway brought on the expansion and name change from Sackville Hay & Feed company to Atlantic Wholesalers Limited.

In 1976, Loblaw Companies Limited completed their purchase of all outstanding shares of Atlantic Wholesalers Limited.

The 1980's brought further growth and new store formats to the Maritimes. In 1984, the unique line of President's Choice products was introduced to customers throughout the Maritimes. In August of 1986, the first The Real Atlantic Superstore opened in Moncton, New Brunswick, changing the competitive grocery retailing landscape in the Maritimes.

The further purchase of Capitol Stores Limited in 1986 added to the company's range of retail operations and enhanced its presence in one of the Maritime's major urban markets.

In 1991, SuperValu stores were introduced to the Maritimes with the first store opening in Glace Bay, with others following throughout Cape Breton. Most recently, AWL expanded its position as the premier food distributor in Atlantic Canada by amalgamating with the former Agora Food Merchant business, also based in the Metro Halifax area. AWL's parent company, Loblaws, purchased the wholesale, retail and distribution operations in Atlantic Canada of Agora from its Ontario parent, Oshawa Group Limited, in November of 1998, to add to Loblaws' Eastern Canadian network.

The retail success and strategies of Atlantic Wholesale in becoming the largest grocery operator in the region, over the last nearly 100 years, and particularly in the last twenty years, has created the need for a cost effective, central distribution facility. Atlantic Wholesalers distribution centre is a key component in the ability of the retailer to keep always fresh products moving to the grocery shelves of Atlantic Canada.

"The fact that all of the over 3,500 items moving through this facility are perishable keeps us on our toes here. We've got a strong team recruited and developed locally and that helps us keep the trucks moving throughout the region," says Rayworth.

August, 2000