EDISON, N.J. -- Twin County Grocers, a retailer-owned cooperative here, last week named a new chief executive officer, a new chief financial officer, and issued a statement concerning its financial strength.
The announcements came in an already turbulent month that saw Twin County's CEO resign suddenly and one of its group members file for bankruptcy protection.
The new CEO is James F. McGuire, a 17-year Twin County veteran who was executive vice president and chief operating officer of the company. He succeeds John D'Ambrosio, who resigned as CEO Nov. 6 for personal reasons.
D'Ambrosio joined Twin County in September 1995 as group vice president of distribution. Previously, he was director and general manager of Paul's Trucking, the trucking division of Pathmark Stores, Woodbridge, N.J., and held warehouse and transportation positions with Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J. Prior to those assignments, he was executive vice president of Bozzuto's, Cheshire, Conn., and president of Foodtown in Kansas City, Mo. He became CEO in February.
Last week, Twin County also said Kenneth R. Baum has joined Twin County as chief financial officer and group vice president. Baum began his career with Price Waterhouse and was most recently chief financial officer and senior vice president of Grand Union Co., Wayne, N.J.
Twin County supplies about 135 stores in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and has sales of about $1 billion.
Industry observers raised some concerns about Twin County after one of its group members, Vitale Foodtown Inc., Old Tappan, N.J., filed for and was granted Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Vitale Foodtown operates eight stores in the Bergen-Passaic area, and had estimated sales of about $35 million in 1996.
McGuire told SN Twin County is continuing to supply the stores on a cash basis.
Under Twin County's bylaws, the cooperative has first right of refusal to purchase the stores if they go up for sale.
"Twin County has a strong interest in those stores," he said.
A representative of Vitale Foodtown said last week all eight stores were open for business as usual, but declined further comment. She said the group's president, Martin Vitale, was unavailable for comment.
In a statement, Twin County said its financial backer, Heller Financial, New York, "has been and continues to be very supportive of Twin County Grocers.
"Heller has continued the uninterrupted advance of funds under the existing $80 million asset-based credit facility entered into in September 1997. Twin County is in compliance with all covenants and terms of the agreements governing the credit facility."
The Heller Credit Facility has a limit of $80 million, with current commitments of up to $70 million subject to a borrowing base consisting of up to 85% of eligible accounts, up to 65% of eligible inventory and a supplemental amount of up to $20 million. Twin County said when and if the borrowing base exceeds $70 million, the credit facility contains a trigger increasing the commitments to $80 million.
Twin County announced new business growth on several fronts, which the company expects will increase sales at least 10% in the current fiscal year.
The company said it expects growth from existing Foodtown members in New York, and from five new stores from Foodtown and D'Agostino members. In addition, Twin County said two IGA stores in New Jersey would switch to the Foodtown banner in January 1998. Twin County also said it is experiencing accelerated volume at Grande and Unidos -- two organizations it supplies in Puerto Rico.