Who Is Shoprite Owned By?

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ShopRite is one of the most popular and recognizable supermarket chains on the east coast. With over 300 stores spanning across 6 states, it has a far-reaching presence and loyal customer base. But who exactly owns and operates ShopRite?

ShopRite is Owned by Wakefern Food Corp, the Largest Retailer-Owned Cooperative in the US

ShopRite stores are owned by Wakefern Food Corp, which is the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. Wakefern is comprised of 50 member companies that independently own and operate ShopRite supermarkets in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

What is a Retailer-Owned Cooperative?

A retailer-owned cooperative, like Wakefern, is a group of independent grocery store owners that join together for economies of scale. By pooling their buying power and resources, the member companies of Wakefern can obtain lower prices from suppliers, enhance marketing efforts, develop private label brands, and leverage shared technology and infrastructure.

Retailer-owned cooperatives allow independent grocers to remain autonomous and family-owned, while competing effectively against national chains. The member companies share profits and decision making power.

Wakefern’s Scale as the Largest Retailer-Owned Cooperative

As the largest retailer-owned cooperative, Wakefern has immense scale and leverage. Some key facts about Wakefern Food Corp:

  • Founded in 1946 in Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • Comprised of 50 member companies operating over 300 ShopRite stores
  • Annual sales over $16 billion
  • Supplies products to all ShopRite stores from a massive 1.6 million sq ft distribution center
  • Employs over 70,000 people

Wakefern provides all the back-end support ShopRite stores need, from distribution to purchasing to private label products. This allows the member companies to focus on serving local customers and communities.

These Family-Owned Businesses Operate Individual Shoprite Locations

While ShopRite is owned by Wakefern collectively, each individual store location is owned and operated by one of the 50 member companies. These are family-owned and family-operated businesses that have been running grocery stores for generations.

Here are some of the key member companies that own ShopRite stores:

1. Buonadonna ShopRite

The Buonadonna family has been operating supermarkets in New Jersey since the 1920s. Their first ShopRite opened in Lyndhurst in 1954. They currently own and operate 7 ShopRite locations.

2. Colligas Family Markets

Colligas Family Markets was founded in 1948 by Peter Colligas. Four generations of the Colligas family have grown the business to 8 ShopRite stores in Central and Northern New Jersey.

3. Collins Family Markets

James J. Collins opened the first Collins Family Market in 1933 in Maple Shade, NJ. Now on its fourth generation of family ownership, Collins Family Markets operates 4 ShopRite stores in South Jersey.

4. Cuellar Family Markets

The Cuellar family started in the grocery business in Cuba in the 1940s. Felix Cuellar opened the first Cuellar ShopRite in 1986 in New Brunswick, NJ. Today, the family operates 2 ShopRite stores focused on serving local Hispanic communities.

5. ShopRite of Lincoln Park

Joseph Panarese opened this ShopRite in 1963 in Lincoln Park, NJ. His children Sam and Richard Panarese now operate the successful store, which has been recognized for its fresh prepared foods.

6. ShopRite of Little Falls

ShopRite of Little Falls opened in 1963 under owner Sam Restivo. Three generations of the Restivo family have now worked at this community-focused ShopRite location in Passaic County, NJ.

7. ShopRite of Oakland, Inc.

Joseph Fisch opened a grocery store in the early 1900s in Ramapo, NY. Four generations later, his great grandchildren Len and Judy Joseph own this ShopRite serving customers in the New York suburbs.

8. ShopRite of Warminster, LLC

Local pharmacist Dr. Leonard Shulman opened Warminster’s first ShopRite in 1969. The store remains family-owned by his children who renovated it to include an on-site pharmacy.

This is just a sampling of the multi-generational, family-owned member companies operating ShopRite stores. Some have been in the grocery business for over 100 years, predating the Wakefern cooperative. By joining Wakefern, they gain the benefits of scale while retaining local ownership.

Shoprite Store Owners Have Deep Community Ties

A unique aspect of ShopRite’s ownership structure is how deeply embedded the member companies are within their local communities.

Longevity Leads to Strong Community Bonds

Many ShopRite member companies have operated within the same community for decades. The Knowles family opened their first location in 1951 in Lodi, NJ. For over 70 years, they have served multiple generations of customers from the same town.

This longevity and commitment fosters loyal shoppers who feel connected to “their ShopRite”. Member companies support local schools, sports teams, and non-profits. Their community roots run deep.

Local and Personalized Service

ShopRite store owners and employees live in the same neighborhoods as their customers. This enables them to provide a shopping experience catered to local tastes and demographics. Stores proudly advertise that they are family owned and locally operated.

Many ShopRites feature offerings tailored to their neighborhood, like ethnic specialty foods or locally sourced produce. This hyper-local approach is only possible due to independent ownership.

Weathering Hard Times Together

The cohesiveness provided by Wakefern gives its members stability and staying power. During crises like Superstorm Sandy or the COVID-19 pandemic, ShopRites remained open serving their communities.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Wakefern members collectively donated $2.1 million worth of groceries to food banks and pantries in their store areas. These efforts reinforced ShopRite’s image as a neighbor you can count on.

The Cooperative Model Allows Independent Stores to Compete

ShopRite’s success stems from the cooperative model enabling independent grocers to pool resources and compete at scale. Wakefern provides “the power of many stores under one name”.

Joint Purchasing Power

By purchasing goods and services jointly, Wakefern can leverage its size to secure the best possible prices from suppliers. This translates into competitive pricing in stores that benefits customers.

Access to National and Private Brand Products

Wakefern supplies all ShopRite stores with national brand products from companies like Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s. It also develops and produces a full line-up of high quality, affordable private label products under the ShopRite and Bowl & Basket brands.

State-of-the-Art Technology

Procuring the latest store systems and technology could be cost prohibitive for independent grocers. By utilizing solutions provided by the cooperative, each ShopRite has modern point-of-sale, self-checkout, digital coupons, scan data analytics, and inventory management capabilities.

Shared Marketing and Advertising

Wakefern manages all marketing for ShopRite including digital, print, TV, radio, and circular advertising. This unified brand message and creative expertise amplifies awareness. Independent stores benefit from professionally produced marketing they could not afford solo.

Shoprite Continues to Focus on the Customer Experience

While ShopRite is positioned competitively thanks to the cooperative model, its member companies stay rooted in their original mission – serving the customer.

Shoprite’s ‘Quality, Variety & Value’ Promise

This tagline captures ShopRite’s focus on providing customers an enjoyable, satisfying shopping experience. Stores deliver exceptional service with helpful employees and clean, well-organized stores. They carry the brands people want at prices they can afford.

Emphasis on Fresh Departments

ShopRite stores highlight bountiful produce, butcher and seafood departments. Many locations feature specialty items from local farms. Stores tout chef-prepared meals, custom cakes, fresh sushi and brick oven pizza for added convenience.

Digital Convenience and Savings

ShopRite meets the needs of today’s digitally-connected shoppers through its mobile app, online shopping with curbside pickup, self-checkout, and digital coupons. Membership in Price Plus Club provides personalized savings.

Giving Back to the Community

ShopRite is there when the community needs them most. Through donations, fundraisers, and partnerships with local organizations, stores support their neighborhoods. And by employing thousands of local residents, ShopRite provides meaningful careers close to home.

Shoprite Stays Close to its Roots as it Continues Growing

While ShopRite now boasts over 300 stores, the values that defined its first location in 1946 still hold true. Independent, multi-generational grocers joined together to better serve their customers. This cooperative model enabled ShopRite to grow while retaining its community focus.

As ShopRite expands to serve more neighborhoods, it stays committed to providing quality, value and convenience powered by hometown pride. Customers count on and connect with “their ShopRite” because behind each store are local owners invested in their communities. So while the ShopRite brand is owned collectively by Wakefern, each location remains in the hands of family-run businesses deeply rooted in the towns they serve.

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