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‘We won!’ – Spartan Stores turned SpartanNash keeps HQ in Michigan

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The new SpartanNash will continue to supply grocery stores like D&W Fresh Market.

You know Spartan Stores – Family Fair, D & W, VG’s – they’re known by different names.

This week the grocery store chain merged with Minneapolis-based grocery distributor Nash Finch. It’s a lot bigger than Spartan. It’s the largest food supplier to stores on military bases.

The new company, now known as SpartanNash, is worth more than $7 billion.

Birgit Klohs is President and CEO of The Right Place. The economic development group worked with the state to offer almost $2.75 million in grant money to keep the headquarters in Michigan.

She’s just beaming at the thought of edging out a big city like Minneapolis.

“(Minneapolis) has many fortune 500 companies, a very large airport and yet we competed well,” Klohs said, “We won, is the long and the short of it, and for us this is just a tremendously wonderful day.”

Klohs says changes to Michigan’s business tax and regulatory structure made a big difference.

“You had good incentive package. You have an improved business climate. You have a good workforce and you had a good quality of life and all of those played a role in the decision,” Klohs said.

Spartan Stores has been around almost a century.

“Never take these companies for granted. Sometimes we forget that because they’ve been here forever and they’ll be here forever and you know why are we worried about this? Well we were worried about it,” she said.

The incentives will help retain 620 jobs at the Byron Center-based headquarters, create 72 new jobs and the potential for another 300 jobs in the future.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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