Unified Grocers and Charlie's Produce Team Up to Grow Sales

Charlie's Produce Logo
Unified Grocers company logo

COMMERCE, Calif., June 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Unified Grocers announced today that it has named Charlie's Produce as its exclusive partner in all produce categories for Unified's independent retail customers operating stores in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. This new venture will significantly enhance the overall produce offering available to Unified's customers in the Pacific Northwest.

Bob Ling, President and Chief Executive Officer, Unified Grocers, said, "We are proud to partner with Charlie's and look forward to leveraging our combined strengths and the many growth opportunities our new relationship provides. This new program enables our independent retailers to compete more effectively and differentiate their stores through a wide variety of quality, fresh produce. It also simplifies billing by consolidating statements and providing incentives for our retailers' continued purchases through Unified and Charlie's."

Retail customers of Unified in the Pacific Northwest will now have more than 5,500 fresh produce items available, as well as a broad assortment of specialty and prepared produce, floral and home meal replacement products. Charlie's extensive line of organic and local produce enables Unified's customers to better meet shoppers' growing demand for quality organic offerings. Charlie's daily delivery service ensures that Unified's independent retail stores have the freshest produce available at all times. Independent SQF Certification of Charlie's processing facilities assures buyers that items are produced, processed and handled according to the high standards they expect. To better serve their customers' needs, Charlie's is also reinvesting in their business through significant expansions and/or remodels for their facilities in Spokane, Seattle, Portland and Anchorage.

Charlie Billow, Chief Executive Officer, Charlie's Produce, said, "At Charlie's, we pride ourselves on developing long term partnerships that are built on trust and guaranteed customer satisfaction. Combining the strength of the largest retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor in the western United States, with the largest produce company on the West Coast, creates a new innovative, dynamic force in the marketplace. We are confident that Unified and its retailers will prosper from our relationship and the high level of service and quality that have made Charlie's — and our customers — successful for more than 35 years."

Retailers will begin to reap the benefits of this exciting new program early this summer. Many of Unified's current produce employees will remain on Unified's staff — or may join Charlie's organization — to ensure continued customer satisfaction and excellent service to Unified's retailers. Unified will continue to service Cash & Carry stores in the Pacific Northwest from the company's Portland, Oregon produce facility.

About Charlie's Produce

Charlie's Produce is an employee-owned, full service produce company that supplies grocery stores, restaurants, institutions and the marine industry with a full range of conventional, organic and specialty produce, floral items and a large assortment of fresh-cut and custom-cut produce. Charlie's operates full-stocking distribution centers in Seattle and Spokane, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and Anchorage, Alaska. For more information about Charlie's Produce, visit: http://www.charliesproduce.com.

About Unified Grocers, Inc.

Founded in 1922, Unified Grocers is a retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor that supplies independent retailers throughout the western United States. Unified, which generated approximately $3.8 billion in sales during fiscal 2012, offers independent retailers all the resources they need to compete in the supermarket industry. For more information about Unified Grocers, visit: http://www.unifiedgrocers.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements about the future performance of Unified Grocers based on management's assumptions and beliefs in light of information currently available to it. There are a variety of factors that could cause actual and future results to differ materially from those anticipated by the statements made above. These factors are outlined in Unified's Annual Report on Form 10-K and other interim reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Furthermore, Unified undertakes no obligation to update, amend or clarify forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

CONTACT: Bob Hutchins, (206) 763-7966 bhutchins@unifiedgrocers.com

Source: Unified Grocers