GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Spartan Stores' Patrick Quinn is watching the rise of what might be called the alternative format wholesaler -- and he knows it means a new day for Spartan and other conventional wholesalers. He refers to growing momentum for third-party operators attempting to set up distribution networks outside the conventional wholesaler structure. "This will be a very different kind of competition for us as distributors," said Quinn, Spartan's president and chief executive ...

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