Michigan Associations Merge

Food dealers, petroleum retailers join forces

DEARBORN, Mich. -- The boards of directors of the Associated Food Dealers of Michigan (AFD) and the Great Lakes Petroleum Retailers & Allied Trades Association have both voted to merge the two trade groups into a single association representing more than 3,900 small business locations in Michigan and Ohio.

The merger becomes effective April 1, 2006.

Today, the retail food and beverage business is increasingly cutting across many categories. Service stations, liquor stores and independent supermarkets are all a part of our [image-nocss] industry, said Jane Shallal, president of the AFD. Anyone who has run into a gas station food mart or a neighborhood grocery store for a gallon of milk can see just how much the two kinds of businesses have in common.

The new strength in our numbers will bring better buying power and a more powerful voice in speaking to the Michigan and Ohio legislatures, said Ed Weglarz, president of the Great Lakes Petroleum Retailers. Small retail businesses play an important role in the economic health of our two Midwestern states, and they deserve recognition for it.

Governor Jennifer Granholm attended the first meeting of the combined boards of the two associations in Dearborn. She wished them well, saying, I want to be the first person to congratulate all of you on the marriage of two great organizations.

The Associated Food & Petroleum Dealers, with Shallal acting as its president, will have its primary offices in Farmington Hills, with additional offices in Lansing. Weglarz will serve as executive vice president of petroleum. Dan Reeves will serve as executive vice president of food and beverage.

The new association will continue to provide vendor discounts, industry news, training programs and political advocacy for its members, but on a more substantial and powerful scale. Additionally, the organization's increased membership will assist it in more forcefully tackling predatory pricing by merchandisers and other businesses, it said.

The Associated Food Dealers of Michigan was founded in 1916 and represents more than 3,000 grocery stores, supermarkets and liquor licenses throughout Michigan. The Great Lakes Petroleum Retailers & Allied Trades Association has roots going back to 1929, when it was formed as the Service Station Dealers of Michigan. The group merged with the Ohio Petroleum Retailers & Repair Association in 2004 to become the Great Lakes Petroleum Retailers & Allied Trades Association. It represents more than 900 gas stations and convenience stores in Michigan and Ohio.