Associated Wholesale Grocers Agrees to Sell Grocery Stores to Employees

The management and employees of Homeland Acquisition Corporation (HAC), consisting of Homeland, United of Oklahoma, Country Mart stores in Oklahoma and Super Save stores in north central Texas, has announced that it completed an employee buyout (EBO) transaction allowing employees to purchase the company, which operates 76 retail grocery stores. The stock purchase deal closed on December 27, 2011.

Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) purchased the bulk of these stores out of bankruptcy in September 2002. “AWG has been a very progressive owner, investing in remodeling and updating locations,” says Darryl Fitzgerald, president of HAC, Inc. “They furnished us with the resources to help our company recover and then begin to grow. The turnaround of these stores has been the direct result of our hardworking, dedicated employees. It is gratifying to see those efforts rewarded with ownership.”

The conversion of HAC, Inc. to an employee-owned company will be achieved through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Employees will be credited with shares of company stock annually, which will become vested based on the employee’s service to the company, and the value of the stock earned will later be paid to the employees. Details of the private transaction were not disclosed.

“We are proud to continue our role in providing our customers in Oklahoma and Texas the freshest, highest quality food available. Our employees will continue to serve their neighbors with gratitude and appreciation for their business,” says Fitzgerald. “Employee ownership ensures everyone’s mutual interest is absolutely aligned in the business. In that regard, we are all focused on providing the best service possible to our customers.”

AWG President and CEO Jerry Garland said, “Since the AWG acquisition of a number of these stores brought them out of bankruptcy in 2002, this management and employee team has completed a turnaround and is now on solid footing to build a more competitive organization focused on meeting their customers’ needs. AWG is pleased to be selling 100 percent of the company to its employees, which will allow them to enjoy the fruits of their efforts as owners of their own business.”

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