Calgary Co-op buying Community Natural Foods

Co-op plans to operate Community Natural Foods as an independent subsidiary, with the same commitment to local and organic products

Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media reporter based in CalgaryRetail grocery chain Calgary Co-op has acquired Community Natural Foods as part of the succession plan for Community Natural Foods’ owner. 

“As representatives of our 440,000 members, Calgary Co-op’s board is pleased support the expansion of Calgary Co-op’s commitment to health and wellness, while providing Calgary Co-op members with the benefit of annual net earnings from the Community Natural Foods business,” said Patricia McLeod, Co-op board chair, in a Monday news release.

Calgary Co-op said it plans to operate Community Natural Foods as an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary, with the same commitment to local and organic products and the current staff and management structure in place.

“For Calgary Co-op’s food business to survive and thrive in the long term, we must work locally to increase the relevance of our unique offering of products and services to members’ lifestyles,” said Ken Keelor, Calgary Co-op CEO. “We must also deliver steady financial performance for our member-owned co-operative. This acquisition is an important step in that direction.

“Our entire team looks forward to connecting with the passion and expertise of our Community Natural Foods colleagues.”

Community Natural Foods was started in 1977 by the Wilkes brothers. It soon grew out of its original location on 11th Avenue S.W., moving to its current 10th Avenue Market and Café location. It expanded in 2000 to Chinook Station Market and again in 2013 to Crowfoot Market.

“I really want to thank Calgarians for their loyalty and the Community Natural Foods team for their passion to provide our city with natural and organic food,” said Garry Wilkes, Community Natural Foods founder and owner.

“It’s been an amazing 42-year journey and it was my personal wish to sell to a buyer who would steward the Community Natural Foods business and brand carefully and thoughtfully. I believe the Calgary Co-op team is the perfect fit as our two organizations share similar values and a deep connection to this community.”

Owned by members, Calgary Co-op is one of the largest retail co-operatives in North America with locations in Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks and Strathmore. Those locations include: food centres, pharmacies, gas stations, car washes, commercial cardlocks, home health-care centres, wine, spirits and beer locations, and cannabis. It has more than 400,000 members, 3,850 employees, assets of $627 million and annual sales of $1.3 billion.

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