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Fresh Encounter Acquires Chief Super Market Chain

Michael Needler Sr. and Michael Needler Jr.
Michael Needler Sr. and Michael Needler Jr. of Fresh Encounter.

Fresh Encounter, headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Defiance, Ohio-based Chief Super Market chain. The acquisition incorporates all Chief Super Market retail locations—Boots BBQ, Chief Kitchen and Chief Smokehouse—into the Fresh Encounter retail business. The combined companies will operate 36 stores in Ohio and Indiana and employ approximately 2,200 people.

“This acquisition will be transformative for Fresh Encounter,” said Michael Needler Jr., CEO and president of Fresh Encounter. “The Chief locations will increase our retail footprint in Ohio as well as onboard premier grocery retail locations into our operation.”

chief logoFresh Encounter operates 25 stores in Ohio and Indiana. The Chief chain owns 11 stores in Ohio’s west central and northwest regions.

“It is difficult to create a merger of this size in such close proximity and not overlap retail locations, but this is one of those rare instances when we can consolidate resources without sacrificing any retail operations,” Needler added.

Stephanie Skylar, president and CEO of Chief Super Market, said, “Fresh Encounter is an obvious succession plan for our organization. We have been colleagues for many years and respect their approach to the challenging, yet rewarding, grocery business. We look forward to watching the combined organizations continue to grow and prosper.”

The Chief stores will continue to operate under their existing brands.

Michael Needler Sr. and the late Susan Needler founded Fresh Encounter in 1995 after the acquisition of CWC Cos. from Carroll Cheek. CWC Cos. was founded in 1964. The chain of grocery stores is celebrating 50 years of continuous service to Ohio and Indiana residents this year, operating under the banners of Great Scot, Community Markets and Sack n’ Save.

Chief Super Market was founded in 1951 by Ted Hench, Karl Hench and John Nolan. The company has remained family owned for more than 60 years.

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