Local company begins to use Lima warehouse

First Posted: 3/11/2015

LIMA — Chief Supermarkets is bringing its warehousing home to Lima.

The store’s parent company, Fresh Encounter Inc., is based in Findlay and has switched the warehousing service for its 36 grocery stores to the SpartanNash Lima Warehouse.

“The opportunity presented itself and it felt right to be able to come home and do business here locally as much as possible,” said Annette Hoeffel, director of marketing at Fresh Encounter.

For about two years, Fresh Encounter has been supplying its stores through a SpartanNash warehouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but changing to Lima is “the right thing to do,” Hoeffel said, and it “decreases the amount of miles that our product has to travel.”

The time was now because that’s when the opportunity arose.

“I know that the SpartanNash company has gone through some changes in their company recently as well in the past couple of years,” she said.

At the end of 2013, Spartan Stores Inc. and Nash Finch Co. merged, according to the SpartanNash website. SpartanNash declined to comment and referred questions to Fresh Encounter.

The Lima warehouse has about 250 employees and also offers Fresh Encounter a new brand of private label products called Our Family.

“This brand fully supports our company values by serving the families in our communities with a quality product at the competitive prices they demand,” according to a statement by Fresh Encounter President and CEO Michael Needler Jr.

The brand is part of Fresh Encounter’s growth, Needler said in the statement.

“Our company has recently grown to become one of the largest, independent family-owned grocery chains,” he said. “With this growth, we are proud to introduce you to an industry-leading private brand product line.”

The products are in local Chief stores now, Hoeffel said, and the warehousing transition has been completed.

“It’s closer, it’s part of the community that we’re currently doing business in so it’s great that our two companies are able to work together and really support each other and the community,” Hoeffel said.

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