Long a familiar sight in Harford County, the logo of Klein's Family Markets will get a new look in coming months.
The company, founded in 1925 as a small general store on Fallston's Main Street, announced yesterday that it is joining the Wakefern Food Corp.'s retail cooperative, which owns the ShopRite banner. Klein's membership in the co-op means that its seven stores will be known as Klein's ShopRite.
Michael J. Klein, vice president and purchasing director for Klein's Family Markets, said in a statement that, like his own family, "many of the Wake- fern members are third- and fourth-generation grocers," and that joining forces with other independent retailers "will allow us to remain competitive with larger chains."
Wakefern, with headquarters in Keasbey, N.J., is the largest retailer-owned, nonfarming cooperative in the United States. It has more than 40 members who own and operate some 200 supermarkets under the ShopRite banner in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware that serve about 5 million customers a week.
In addition to providing its members with procurement, warehousing and distribution services, Wakefern acts as the marketing and advertising arm for ShopRite.
Joseph Colalillo, Wakefern's chairman and chief executive, and owner of three ShopRite stores in New Jersey, said that while ShopRite is new to the Baltimore market, "we're confident that Klein's shoppers will welcome the unique promotional programs and savings that ShopRite customers have enjoyed for years."
Under the new agreement, the Klein family's chain becomes the 44th member of Wakefern. Its stores in Aberdeen, Bel Air, Cardiff, Forest Hill, Phoenix and Belcamp will complete the transition to the ShopRite banner by the first quarter of 2009.