HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Funeral services are scheduled here Tuesday for Martin Lavelle, a former A&P executive who co-founded the Edmar Foods supermarket chain in the Chicago area.
Lavelle died May 9 at age 79.
He began his career as a stock boy at age 16 at Del Farms Foods, which was owned by National Tea Co. He rose in the ranks at National to become a district manager, then director of sales and marketing, and in 1974 he was named regional vice president/director of supermarkets. When National was acquired by A&P, he was named director of supermarkets for the Chicago area, overseeing more than 100 Chicago-area stores.
He left A&P in 1978 to open the first Edmar Foods store in Chicago with partner Ed Olczyk, a fellow executive at A&P. They grew the chain to nine locations in the area. Lavelle also was a director on the board of wholesaling cooperative Central Grocers, Joliet, Ill., for 10 years, beginning in 1992.
“He served during the time the directors and management made the critical decisions that gave us the start of our financial foundation that brought us our success today,” said Jim Denges, chief executive officer, Central Grocers, in a statement.
Lavelle is survived by his wife, Pat, three children and seven grandchildren.