SHERIDAN — The Safeway store in Sheridan has been sold to Ridley’s Family Market, a grocer with 24 stores located acrossUtah, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming.
Mark Ridley, owner of Ridley’s Family Markets, made the announcement about the sale on Friday.
The regional grocer will also purchase two Safeway stores in Casper and an Albertson’s in Laramie in the recently announced deal, according to a media release.
While the Federal Trade Commission must approve the agreement before it is final, the transition is expected to be complete by February 2015.
Ridley’s Family Market purchased the four stores in Wyoming from Associated Food Stores, a grocery wholesaler and co-op that facilitates such deals.
Jason Sokol, director of marketing for Associated Food Stores, said the sale came about as a result of the proposed merger between Albertson’s and Safeway, which was announced in March and is expected to close in January 2015.
“What’s going on is that Safeway and Albertson’s are merging and because of that they are having to divest stores in certain geographies where they will pick up too much market share because of the merger,” Sokol said. “Based off that, we had to then turn around and sell 150-plus stores across the different regions that they serve.”
The divestiture, or sale of a business by order of the government, is required in order to secure FTC clearance of the Safeway-Albertson’s merger, according to a press release. The stores in Wyoming are part of a sale of 168 stores in eight states to four different buyers.
Sokol said Associated Food Stores has worked with Ridley’s Family Market, Stokes Market and Missoula Fresh Market (owners of Orange Street Food Farm) to purchase four stores in Wyoming and four stores in Montana.
Once the agreement is final, which Sokol said is expected in the next couple weeks, the conversion of the Sheridan Safeway into a Ridley’s Family market will begin.
The four stores being acquired by Ridley’s in Wyoming employ approximately 290 people. Ridley’s Family Market will interview current employees to fill positions in the new stores and expects most, if not all, employees to retain their employment.
In Sheridan, Safeway employs approximately 40 people who will all have the chance to interview for a position with Ridley’s Family Market.
In total, Ridley’s Family Markets employ approximately 2,000 people in four states.
All four Wyoming locations also have pharmacies that will continue to offer the same services to guests under the Ridley’s Family Market name.
Every Ridley’s store is locally operated.
Shoppers visiting the four new stores in Wyoming can expect competitive prices and the addition of popular brands like Western Family and Full Circle, the press release said.
Sokol said a pricing survey is currently in progress but that his past experience with Ridley’s is that the grocer strives to deliver good value and competitive prices to customers.
As far as store arrangement and feel, Sokol said any changes made will depend on how well the stores have been maintained. Branding for Ridley’s Family Markets will be implemented, and all exterior names and any other copyrighted aspects of the old Safeway store must be changed.
The grocer will strive to make the change in ownership as smooth as possible, and the stores will remain open during the transition.
“Both parties are working closely together to make sure none of our shoppers or team members are disrupted through the transitions,” Sokol said.
Ridley’s Family Market is a family-owned grocer based in Idaho that opened its first store in Payson, Utah, in 1984 and has grown to a total of 24 stores in four states. At this time, there is one Ridley’s Family Market in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
“The entire Ridley’s family and team are excited for this opportunity to grow and serve these communities,” Ridley said in the release. “These new locations are great stores with great team members, working to serve their customers.”