Here is another story that I have been sitting on for several months. Why? As an employee for one of the stores, I have heard a lot of rumors, and separating fact from fiction can be difficult. As an employee I can’t repeat everything I know, so I was glad when I finally saw this story released to the media. I was surprised at how much detail has been revealed a month ahead of time.
According to the Topeka Capital Journal, Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) of Kansas City, Kan., owner of Falley’s/Food 4 Less stores in Topeka, plans to convert four Food 4 Less stores in Topeka to Price Chopper stores, company officials announced this morning.
The conversion to Price Chopper in mid-March will increase employment in the four Food 4 Less stores in Topeka to nearly 800 from 600 employees, said John Rolfe, director of perishables for the Price Chopper group in Topeka.
You may remember I wrote a few months ago about AWG merging two of its subsidiaries into one. This is the final move of that action. The company got rid of all but 8 of the 45 employees at the Falley’s corporate office. While the rest of the grocery operation is operating out of the Oklahoma City office of Homeland stores (HAC, Inc), the remaining employees in the corporate offices in Topeka will oversee Price Chopper operations in the Topeka and Saint Joseph area.
Last fall, Associated Wholesale Grocers decided to merge Falley’s/Food 4 Less corporate offices in Topeka with AWG’s Homeland Stores in Oklahoma City. Several corporate functions, including accounting, moved to Oklahoma City to the Homeland Stores group. The number of employees in the Falley’s/Food 4 Less corporate office in Topeka fell to eight from 45, Rolfe said. He said the remaining employees would oversee the Price Chopper operations in Topeka.
Price Chopper, which has some national name recognition, was founded 27 years ago in Kansas City, and employs more than 8,000 in its home market.
Kansas City-area Price Chopper Stores are owned by five local families. The Topeka and St. Joseph stores are owned by Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG), the nation’s second-largest grocery cooperative.
In addition to owning the stores to be converted, AWG also supplies all the Price Chopper’s in the Midwest as well as owns the name.