SUNBURY, Pa. -- Weis Markets here plans to build up to 15 superstores in the next year and a half as part of a $107 million expansion program.
The program also includes the remodeling of eight to 12 existing stores, plus an expansion of the chain's Milton, Pa., distribution center. Work is under way on a 75,000-square-foot dairy and deli addition to the facility, and a 34,000-square-foot section of the warehouse will be converted into freezer storage space.
Chairman Robert F. Weis discussed the expansion plan last week at the company's annual meeting, attended by President Norman Rich, the board of directors and various shareholders.
The chain currently is erecting superstores in East Stroudsburg, North Lebanon and Allentown, Pa., as well as in Laurel, Md. Later this year, work is slated to start on superstores in Wellsboro, Mechanicsburg, Altoona and Hazleton, Pa., and in Havre De Grace, Md., Weis said in a company report on the meeting. Some of the stores will exceed 60,000 square feet. Last year, the chain built nine superstores and remodeled eight stores.
Weis noted that the company's capital budget is self-financed, and he added that it would aggressively seek acquisitions. Recent regional acquisitions by Weis Markets include Mr. Z's Food Mart, a 19-store chain in northeastern Pennsylvania, and King's Supermarkets, a five-store operator in the Lehigh Valley. Weis Markets also owns Superpetz, a pet supply superstore with 37 units in nine states.
"Over the next year and a half, we will continue to focus on our expansion program," Weis said in the meeting report. "But I wish to make clear that we are also in the market for acquisitions that make sense for Weis Markets."
Also at the meeting, Weis announced that the board would nominate and elect two new members: Jonathan Weis, the chain's real estate manager, and Michael Apfelbaum of the Sunbury-based law firm Apfelbaum, Apfelbaum & Apfelbaum.
In 1995, Weis Markets had an overall sales increase of 5.8%, to $1.65 billion. The chain also recorded a 4.2% rise in net profit, to $79.4 million, and a nine-cent uptick in net earnings per share last year.
"The results are even more impressive when you consider that Weis Markets is in the midst of the most ambitious expansion in company history," Rich said at the meeting.