Following the end of the Second World War, the end of food rationing and the lifting of price controls marked the beginning of a troubling 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 frugal 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 concept of cooperative buying. Collectively purchasing products in large quantities at a lower cost allowed these grocers to offer their customers the same goods at an unprecedented, competitive price. Pleased with the results, on December 5, 1946 this cooperative relationship was formalized. Each of the seven grocers invested $1,000 and Wakefern Food Corporation was born.
Today, Wakefern is a cooperative and wholesale provider comprised of 46 members who own and operate retail supermarkets under the ShopRite banner in the New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland markets. In 1995, PriceRite supermarkets, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wakefern Food Corporation, extended Wakefern’s trading area to Rhode Island and Massachusetts. PriceRite also has locations in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.