Glidewell Distributing of Fort Smith has received final approval for membership with national grocery supplier AWG.
A regional distributor of products primarily to convenience stores, Glidewell Distributing was notified by AWG on Jan. 18 that its membership application and review process was complete.
Kansas, City, Kan.-based AWG was founded in 1926. AWG, which stands for Associated Wholesale Grocers, has nine distribution hubs throughout the United States. It is the second-largest grocery cooperative and fourth largest grocery wholesaler in the U.S. With 2,700 member stores in 24 states, its 2010 sales were $7.25 billion. Headquarters is in Kansas City, Kan.
Glidewell Distributing began doing business in 1946. With more than 1,000 accounts throughout Arkansas and Oklahoma, the company supplies convenience stores and other retailers with alcohol, tobacco, snacks, groceries, health and beauty supplies and related products.
“It’s very exciting for us, because the majority of AWG members are large chain grocery stores, not regional distributors,” Nick Glidewell, sales director for Glidewell Distributing, said in a statement. “By gaining this membership, we’ve just massively increased our buying power and given our customers access to five or six times as many products as they had before.”
Glidewell Distributing will receive shipment from a 700,000-square-foot AWG warehouse in Oklahoma City. According to an AWG brochure, the cooperative’s offerings include 12,534 grocery items, 2,143 meat products, 1,000 produce selections as well as hundreds of items in the deli, bakery and floral categories. In all, AWG handles more than 42,000 products.
“It’s a little unusual for regional distributors like us to make the required capital investment to have membership in such a huge national cooperative,” Glidewell said. “But it will pay off for everyone with more choice, better pricing and new services and programs.”