FRANKLIN PARK, Ill. — The boards of Chicago area cooperatives Central Grocers and Certified Grocers Midwest have agreed to merge the companies, officials said yesterday. Under terms of the agreement, which requires approval from member-owners, Certified members will transition their business to Central, which would be the surviving entity. The volume of the two wholesalers will be consolidated in a new 920,000-square-foot distribution facility in Joliet, Ill., set to open early next year. Central Grocers, based here, has estimated annual sales of $1.4 billion; Certified has sales of about $625 million, according to estimates. The combined cooperative would serve 225 members operating some 450 stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.
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