Progressive Grocer Independent

AUG 2016

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August 2016 | Defining the Independent Market | 19 e co-op has grown to 275 stores (200 of which are branded Piggly Wig- gly locations) in seven states and sales of $750 million. e warehouse receives about 160 deliveries a day, and between 65 and 80 loads go out daily; PWADC leases 79 semi trucks, but has access to as many as it needs. In 1987, the warehouse moved to its current loca- tion in Bessemer, Ala., with 480,000 square feet of storage. rough four expansions, the building has grown to slightly more than 1 million square feet under one roof housing more than 22,000 SKUs. e buying and distribution of groceries are the biggest services PWADC provides; how- ever, they may not be the most important. Role of Wholesaler "Our job is help [retailers] make money, stay current and stay competitive," says David Bul- lard, PWADC president and CEO. "We work hard to do that. If we can't help them make money, they don't need us." Since PWADC is a co-op, retailers buy stock in the company to access the services. Only store owners can be stockholders, and they must maintain investment minimums in relation to their store sales. Stockholders currently range in size from one store to 19. When Bullard joined PWADC, he changed the buy-in to make it more attrac- tive for retailers. e down payment is now 15 percent of 125 percent of the weekly sales of a business, not to exceed $20,000. So the maximum any retailer will pay to join the co- op is $20,000, no matter how many stores it has. "e amount of money that retailers have to come up with today is not near as great as it was five years ago," says Jerry McCann, SVP and director of retail operations for PWADC. Bullard and his team are tasked with running the co-op efficiently and earning a profit, which in turn is paid back to the stockholders/retailers in patronage dividends. "at's part of our job, to ensure they get a nice return on their investment," Bullard adds. e patronage dividend is then split: Half of the amount is paid directly to the owners and half pays for FRONT OFFICE Left: David Bullard, president and CEO, and Jerry McCann, SVP and director of retail operations. "What we're trying to do is show the power of when we can harness all of this buying power and what we can achieve if we work together." —David Bullard, president and CEO

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