Hickory, North Carolina-based Alex Lee Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire W. Lee Flowers & Co., a wholesale and retail grocery company headquartered in Scranton, South Carolina. The acquisition of W. Lee Flowers, which distributes to more than 75 grocery stores in the Carolinas and Georgia, including 50 stores that it owns and operates, will enable Alex Lee to expand its geographic footprint, enhance operations in new markets and offer consumers a greater variety of products at competitive costs. This acquisition adds another company to Alex Lee’s family, along with Merchants Distributors (MDI), Lowes Foods and Souto Foods.
Lee Flowers will operate as a subsidiary of Alex Lee and will maintain its present facility in Scranton. While employees of W. Lee Flowers are being retained, the company’s executives, William Henry Johnson Jr. and Heyward L. King Jr., will step down after more than 80 years of combined leadership. Rick Geary will take over the leadership responsibility for W. Lee Flowers.
“For years, Alex Lee and W. Lee Flowers have worked together in various capacities. Both are known within the industry, and to each other, as dependable, family-owned, values-based businesses that have earned the respect of customers, suppliers and vendors,” says Brian George, president & CEO, Alex Lee Inc. “Together, we have an opportunity to accelerate our growth in all markets, while continuing to provide exceptional services. W. Lee Flowers and its employees have built invaluable relationships within their local communities that we expect will only solidify as we move forward together.”
“While we look to the future with enthusiasm, we also recognize the achievements that have led us to this point,” says George. “Henry Johnson and Heyward King have shepherded the organization their fathers helped build through many decades of growth. They have more than earned our respect and gratitude, as well as a pair of long and happy retirements.”
“We are thrilled to continue serving our customers and distribution partners within the Alex Lee family of companies,” says Henry Johnson, president, W. Lee Flowers & Co. “Alex Lee shares our longtime commitment to prioritizing customer service and value. With the support of Alex Lee and its fellow subsidiaries, we believe we’re in an ideal position to thrive in a competitive environment.”