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Reaching Millions Of Families With Experience And Dedication They Trust: SUPERVALU

thesiliconreview-mark-gross-president-supervalu-18“Our roots are in supply chain and wholesale distribution; in subsequent years we’ve grown to include traditional and hard discount grocery retail formats.”

SUPERVALU® is a grocery industry leader, serving customers through a network of more than 3,000 owned, franchised, and independently owned stores across the country. SUPERVALU operates a complete range of grocery formats and merchandising programs that address the unique preferences of the communities we serve and allow us to satisfy differing regional tastes. 

Today, SUPERVALU and its 30,000 employees serve customers across the United States through a network of 2,012 stores composed of 1,815 stores operated by wholesale customers serviced primarily by the Company’s food distribution business and 197 traditional retail grocery stores operated under five retail banners. In addition, the Company operates 22 stores under the Shop ‘N Save name in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Annual sales total approximately $13 billion.

We proudly provide millions of customers with the best products on the shelves: national brands and our high-quality and affordable private label products. Our combined expertise in grocery, pharmacy, and wholesale operations provides SUPERVALU with a strong platform for sustainable success.

The Great Adventure of SUPERVALU

To succeed for more than 140 years, a company must be willing to not only change with the times but anticipate what’s next. SUPERVALU has been leading the pack for generations, with a history of innovation that spans the invention of the automobile to the vast opportunities afforded by today’s technology. Always looking for new ways to improve efficiency and better serve customers, SUPERVALU is watching for what’s next.


With seed money provided by Hugo G. Harrison, dry goods wholesaling operation B.S. Bull and Company becomes the birthplace of SUPERVALU. Over the next several decades, a variety of companies merge and are acquired by the founders of this early wholesaler. The company that eventually emerges from this is Winston and Newell Company. A successful and growing enterprise, Winston and Newell build the first modern grocery warehouse in Minneapolis. Innovations include a chute allowing products to move between floors without elevators. Winston and Newell become the first distribution company to use motorized trucks for deliveries.

The 1930's:

Affiliation with the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) introduces concepts including self-serve and cash-and-carry, gives independent retailers competitive advantages against the increasing power of retail grocery chains and lays the groundwork for the company’s close affiliations with independent retailers, which will continue throughout the company’s future.

1930 and 1931 are expansion years, as the company opens divisions in Fargo, Des Moines, Bismarck, and Aberdeen. In 1937, they begin handling high-volume perishables including potatoes, onions, oranges, and apples, creating an increasingly convenient procurement process for retailers.

1940's and 1950's:

 The company aligns retailers it serves to form a "virtual chain", streamlining processes and developing extensive services that emphasize nationally advertised brands, store fixture and layout advice, and supported advertising. In return, retailers operate under the Super Valu and U-Save names.

The company adds frozen food to its inventory in 1942 and a decade later, Winston and Newell are serving more than 560 stores across six states. The following year they pioneer implementation of 100 percent self-service produce departments in their affiliated retail stores.

Winston and Newell change its name to Super Valu in 1954, more closely aligning the company with its growing base of retailers. They strengthen their presence by acquiring twelve regional food wholesalers in the Midwest, Southeast and Northwestern U.S. distribution expansion continues until the late 1980s. 

The 1960s and 1970s:

In-store bakeries gain popularity in the early 1960's and 90 Super Valu stores feature this new amenity. 1962 marks the first year Super Valu ships more than one million tons of merchandise to affiliated retailers. The company also begins using computer technology to streamline retail order processing, warehouse inventory monitoring, truck dispatching and accepting manufacturer shipments. In the decade since its landmark wholesale acquisitions, the company enjoys rapid financial growth. By 1964, the company has grown to 3,960 employees and, two years later, estimated sales by Super Valu retailers exceed $1 billion for the first time, making the company one of the grocery industry's most powerful players. Only seven retail supermarket chains in the country have sales of this scope.

Retail grocery square footage increases in the early 1970's. Super Valu affiliated retailers begin installing floral departments as by 1972, the typical supermarket size is 20,000 square feet. Jack Crocker is named CEO in 1974 and the company's distribution business continues to expand. By the end of the decade, Super Valu operates eleven distribution centers; the Fargo facility, having opened in 1979, maximizes efficiency, space utilization and energy conservation.

The 1980s and 1990s:

Mike Wright is named CEO in 1981. During the 1980's, Super Valu acquires Minnesota-based Cub Foods, which operates five stores in the Twin Cities; by 1988, Cub is operating 45 additional stores. The company's wholesale business now operates a fleet of 900 tractors and 1,800 trailers, which travel 55 million miles each year. By 1988, Super Valu's affiliated retailers' combined sales make them the second largest food retailing group in the United States. The company is now serving more than 3,100 stores in 32 states.

In 1992 Super Valu modifies the company name to SUPERVALU, INC. and celebrates the 50th anniversary of retailing and retail support under the SUPERVALU name. Acquisitions continue throughout the 1990's. SUPERVALU deepens its Midwestern distribution operations and adds SHOP 'N SAVE and SAVE-A-LOT to its portfolio by acquiring St. Louis-based Wetterau, Inc. in 1992. Seven years later the company completes the $1.2 billion acquisition of Virginia-based Richfood Holdings. This provides significant distribution penetration in the Eastern seaboard and adds three brands to SUPERVALU's retail portfolio: Virginia's FARM FRESH, SHOPPERS Food Warehouse in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore-based Metro (converted to SHOPPERS in 2003 and 2004). By the end of the decade, SUPERVALU handles 15% of the nation's food distribution business, serving both affiliated and corporately-owned retail stores from coast to coast. 

The 2000s – Today:

thesiliconreview-retail-us-cover-18Jeff Noddle is named Chief Executive Officer in 2001, following more than two decades of leadership by Mike Wright. In 2002, Noddle is named the chairman of the board in addition to his position as president and CEO. This is also the year SUPERVALU launches SVHarbor, an industry-leading, Internet-enabled business-to-business portal for affiliated and corporate retailers, manufacturer partners and distribution centers.

In 2005 SUPERVALU introduces W. Newell, a specialty produce distribution company combining the company's long-standing heritage in produce, extensive produce retailing knowledge and market-leading position in food distribution.

In 2006, SUPERVALU acquires the premier retail properties of Albertsons, Inc. This transaction propels the company to the position of third-largest grocery retail company in the United States. The following year, East View Innovation Center opens on the company's home office campus in Minneapolis. This facility houses the majority of the company's business operations as well as state-of-the-art test kitchens, sensory laboratories, and grocery store department prototypes for increasingly sophisticated planning.

In 2009 Craig Herkert is named president and CEO, following nearly a decade of leadership by Jeff Noddle.

In 2012, Wayne Sales is named president and CEO of SUPERVALU to help SUPERVALU reposition itself in the grocery wholesale and retail sector. The following year SUPERVALU divests several retail chains, including Albertsons, Acme, Shaw's and Jewel-Osco, allowing the company to refocus on its industry-leading logistics and grocery wholesaling expertise, affiliated retailers and smaller regional chains. In 2013 Sam Duncan is named president and CEO, replacing Wayne Sales.

Mark Gross is named president and CEO in February of 2016. In December of 2016, SUPERVALU completed the sale of Save A Lot. Today the company is looking toward the future with renewed energy and focus on growth in its primary business segments: Wholesale and its five strong regional retail banners: CUB FOODS, FARM FRESH, HORNBACHER'S, SHOP 'N SAVE, and SHOPPERS. 

Providing Independent Grocery Services

SUPERVALU is a leader in wholesale and distribution, serving over 3,000 independently owned and operated stores. The company provides a wide array of services to its supplied retailers, which effectively leverages SUPERVALU's scale and expertise across its entire network.

Setting the Standard: The independent retail grocer is the cornerstone of SUPERVALU's industry-leading distribution business, which serves a broad range of entrepreneurs ranging from single neighborhood stores to small and large, regional multi-store locations. Each of these independent retailers is focused on the needs of their respective communities and creates a shopping environment that is reflective of - and responsive to - their local neighborhoods.

Working for Your Success: Many independent grocers look to SUPERVALU for more than distribution support. SUPERVALU has a dedicated support team focusing on sales and gross-profit enhancing merchandising and marketing programs, which help to ensure the success of the stores we supply. To best serve the needs of these customers, SUPERVALU offers a full suite of retail support services that include consumer research, data analysis, and market development, merchandising and marketing support, private brand programs, leading technology and facility operations services.

Responsive and Innovative: As the market changes, today's consumers expect more from their local grocery store. As a result, independent retailers expect more from SUPERVALU. Our wholesale platform is an easy, collaborative way for independent retailers and SUPERVALU to find solutions that provide real results. SUPERVALU’s expertise, flexibility, and commitment make the difference in today's evolving shopping experience. 

Following the Motto of “Non-Nobis Solum Nati Sumus”

For nearly 150 years, SUPERVALU has helped new and existing owners successfully open, manage and grow their grocery business. We pride ourselves on the ability to leverage our size and scale to deliver national programs benefitting our entire network of retailers while recognizing the importance of being locally relevant.

Fresh Difference: SUPERVALU provides your customers with an amazing fresh experience and a primary source solution for your stores. Strong offerings, quality products and the ease of working with a single provider are just a few reasons we believe our fresh approach in produce/floral, meat/seafood and bakery/deli is the smart choice for retailers everywhere.

Account Management: SUPERVALU supports each of our customers with a dedicated sales and operations staff. They provide expert knowledge, strategic planning, and experience to ensure we meet your specific store needs. 

Logistics Leader: SUPERVALU ships over 600 million cases of product annually. Through our 18 distribution centers and specialty warehouses, we serve over 2,000 retailers in 39 states.

Professional Services: SUPERVALU Professional Services offers a complete suite of tools and capabilities to run your retail operation so you can focus on your customers: market analysis, eCommerce, cyber security, marketing, training, HR, finance, store design, technology services and more.

Panorama of the Persona

Mark Gross, President, and CEO: Mark Gross joined SUPERVALU in February 2016. He has 20 years of grocery and wholesale leadership experience. From 1997 to 2006, he worked at C&S Wholesale Grocers, including serving as Co-President of C&S’s overall operations from 2005-2006. Additionally, during his tenure with C&S, Gross served as Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel, and President of its affiliated retail grocery operations.

For the past decade, Gross has led Surry Investment Advisors, a firm he founded, to provide consulting services to grocery distributors and retailers with respect to strategic and operational matters. In this advisory role, he has assisted grocery clients in several multi-billion dollar acquisitions and divestitures and consulted with private equity firms with respect to investments in food retail, distribution, and consumer packaged goods sectors. Gross earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Cum Laude, and holds a BA from Dartmouth College.

“Superior service, engrained in our culture, sets us apart from the competition and provides the experience our customers expect.”