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SpartanNash said this morning that it has acquired Martin’s Super Markets, a 47-year-old, family-owned company with 21 stores in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan and annual sales approaching a half-billion dollars.

Terms of the deal, expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, were not disclosed.

Rob Bartels, president of Martin’s and grandson of its founders, said that he was “seeking a partner we could trust with the family’s legacy of exceptional customer service, quality products and value; we found that partner in SpartanNash … We share similar values, a passion for the business, and cultures based on excellent customer service, stewardship of our brands, and commitment to our communities and teams.”

And David Staples, SpartanNash’s president/CEO, described Martin’s as “a valued independent retail customer since 2005, and we have the greatest respect for the Martin’s management team and its commitment to their associates, customers, and the communities they serve … Our long-standing relationship has built the foundation for our future success and will enable us to grow our corporate retail business in Indiana and Michigan consistent with our long-term strategic growth strategy. We also believe this investment in our corporate retail business will help us take full advantage of our opportunities to generate value for all SpartanNash stakeholders.”

Martin’s was advised in the deal by Scott Moses of PJ Solomon.
KC's View:
Martin’s is a special company, and I have a ton of respect for the people who have made it so special for so long. The reality of the current competitive and economic climate is that it is extremely difficult for independent retailers to sustain their businesses without effective partners, and so, to some degree, there is a game of musical chairs going on. Except that it is not a game, and it isn’t just about finding a seat … it is about finding the right economic and cultural fit, because if an independent’s unique value proposition is corrupted, then the deal doesn’t make sense for anyone.

From knowing some of the players involved, I’m confident that the Martin’s-SpartanNash deal makes sense.