SuperValu, one of the country’s largest grocery groups, plans to close two Colorado distribution facilities and lay off nearly 750 workers, according to two notices filed earlier this week with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the warehouses will permanently cease operation or that all those jobs are lost.
Advantage Logistics USA West LLC, a distribution arm of SuperValu, in filings said it plans to close warehouses in Aurora and Fountain in early February. There are 272 workers in Aurora and 475 in Fountain who will lose employment with Advantage because of the closures, according to notices made to the state under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).
But in its letters to the state and comments from a spokesperson, Advantage Logistics indicated that another firm, Windigo, plans to take over the two warehouses and keep them running.
“Windigo will be taking over the operations of the facility and the work that was done there; it is our understanding that they will offer employment to many of our associates. The work will still continue out of these facilities,” said Jeff Swanson, a spokesman for SuperValu, which is based in Eden Prairie, Minn.
Swanson didn’t provide an estimate of how many of the existing jobs might be preserved. Windigo Logistics LLC is headquartered at 1400 Wewatta St., according to a new business registration filed on May 17 with the Colorado Secretary of State.
SuperValu’s store brands include Cub Foods in Minnesota, Hornbacher’s in North Dakota, Shop ‘N Save in Illinois, Farm Fresh in Virginia and Shoppers in the D.C. area. The company also serves as a wholesaler to more than 1,800 independently owned and operated stores and provides third-party logistical services to other retailers.
In Colorado, Advantage Logistics distributes products for Kroger, which owns the King Soopers and City Market chains. Teamster Local 455 in Denver represents some of the workers who might lose their jobs.
In late July, United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) announced it would purchase SuperValu for $2.9 billion, including $1.6 billion in assumed debt. UNFI is the largest distributor to Whole Foods Market and other natural foods stores.
UNFI plans to divest itself of SuperValu’s grocery store business, which includes 197 stores under its five brands. SuperValu employs around 30,000 workers companywide and reported $14.1 billion in sales last year.