“But we always make sure we’re operating most efficiently, and it makes us do things like we’re doing with W. Newell,” Fawcett said.
Plans will be fleshed out in the coming months, Fawcett said. W. Newell headquarters will remain in Illinois, although some of the back office functions will be handled in Wisconsin, she said.
“We’re making these changes, trying to figure out what our path is,” Fawcett said. “But we don’t want to change the legacy of what is W. Newell.”
W. Newell & Co.’s legacy
Supervalu’s entire wholesale and retailing business was built on a produce distribution business that was founded in 1937, Winston & Newell.
When W. Newell was launched in 2005, Supervalu announced it as a new model for produce distribution designed to meet supermarket and wholesale customers’ increasing demands for more variety and higher quality produce.
It was housed in a $25 million, 155,000-square-foot warehouse, and had its own sales and service force. Its original purpose was to run independently of Supervalu’s broadline business.
“This is a very specialized supply chain that has specific requirements on speed to move the product from point of production to point of consumption,” Gionnette said in April 2005. “By developing the company as a standalone operation, it will allow us to develop supply chain solutions that will provide fresher product faster.”
At the time, Supervalu anticipated expanding the idea with produce distribution centers in other locations across the country.
Gionnette on Oct. 22 said he could not comment on the future direction of W. Newell.
“He made a decision to pursue other interests as we moved through the transition,” Fawcett said. “Gary was gracious enough to stay on and help us through the first part.”