ISELIN, N.J. — D'Agostino Supermarkets of Larchmont, N.Y. has joined Allegiance Retail Services, the new entity formed by the Foodtown Cooperative here, Bill Donahoe, president and chief operating officer, Allegiance, told SN.
D'Agostino currently operates 15 stores in the metro New York area — primarily in Manhattan. The transition will take place over the next few months.
“D'Agostino Supermarkets is excited about joining Allegiance,” said Nick D'Agostino III, president and chief executive officer, D'Agostino's, in a prepared statement. “We were previously members of a cooperative organization for many years and now are very excited about renewing our relationship with the great operators at Allegiance. We feel it is like going back home. We look forward to being able to better serve our customers because of this relationship.”
D'Agostino's, like Foodtown, buys through C&S Wholesale Grocers, Keene, N.H.
Allegiance is a new retail services company created by Foodtown that will seek to expand the cooperative with more independent membership.
“We want to give independents the benefit of the membership services we provide, and allow them to keep their existing banner,” said Donahoe, who is also president and chief operating officer of Foodtown, in an interview with SN. “The way the Foodtown bylaws had been structured over the years, it didn't always allow that.”
Allegiance Retail Services, he said, will seek to provide independent retailers with collective buying power; store operations and merchandising; advertising and marketing; IT support; more than 1,100 Foodtown private-label products; DSD support; and loyalty, gift card and payment card processing.
Foodtown is a purchasing and marketing cooperative. It includes about 66 independently owned stores in the Northeast, most of which operate under the Foodtown banner.
“This is all part of our plan to expand our brand and our reach because of our partnership with C&S, so we can talk to people about joining without having to convert their stores to Foodtown,” he said. “We think a lot of successful independent retailers could benefit from our flexible services platform.”
Both Donahoe and David Maniaci, chairman and chief executive officer of Foodtown, will serve the same roles for Allegiance.
“The ultimate goal is to attract as many members as possible, because the true essence of a co-op is in the strength of its members,” Maniaci told SN. “Our goal is to go after the top independents out there.”
He said Foodtown has a strong relationship with C&S, which began supplying Foodtown last year after the cooperative left White Rose, now part of Associated Wholesalers Inc.
“We negotiate all our own deals with the vendors, and we negotiate our own programs 52 weeks a year,” Maniaci explained.
Allegiance, he said, with a staff of 55 individuals, will seek to supplement the collective buying power of the co-op with a flexible offering of merchandising, marketing and other support functions.
“For wholesalers, their job is to deliver the products to the back door, and then they leave,” Maniaci said. “When you are part of wholesaler's marketing group, you tend to be driven by what a wholesaler wants to give you. With us, 100% can be driven from the retailer's perspective.”