BATON ROUGE, La. -- It was 1950, and independent operators here, as elsewhere, were having a hard time competing with the chains. ifficult to compete effectively on price. In search of a long-term solution, a group of 17 local independents here formed a new cooperative and called it Associated Grocers. "The concept of a cooperative or retailer-owned wholesaler has been around for a while," Jay Campbell Jr., president and chief executive officer, said. "In cooperative circles our company ...

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