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Spartan Stores announced yesterday that it will buy D&W Food Centers’ 20 stores in western Michigan for an undisclosed amount. The move will improve Spartan’s annual revenues by about $200 million a year, and Spartan said it would give it a presence in markets that it does not serve.

While D&W has long been one of the more respected independent retailers in the country, the cutthroat competition – especially between Wal-Mart and Meijer - has made the recent past extremely rough on the company.

Spartan expects the deal to close late in the fiscal 2006 fourth quarter or early in the following quarter, pending the completion of due diligence.

Spartan Stores serves more than 350 independent grocery stores in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and owns and operates 54 retail supermarkets and 19 deep-discount food and drug stores in Michigan and Ohio. D&W formerly used Spartan as its primary wholesaler, but left for Supervalu several years ago as Spartan became more of a retailer.
KC's View:
While we hope that D&W’s management, employees and customers will survive this change in ownership, we have to admit to certain sadness about the shift.

Over the years, we’ve had numerous opportunities to visit with D&W’s management and write about its stores; we’ve long felt that the company’s former CEO, Jeff Gietzen, was not just one of the smartest guys in the business, but also a real gentleman.

These kinds of changes may be inevitable, may be necessary for formats like D&W to survive. But that doesn’t make it a good thing.

Change is nothing so much as a second chance.