Northwest Grocers (NWG), Tukwila, Wash., and Unified Grocers, Commerce, Calif., formed a new strategic alliance, making NWG the exclusive marketing and advertising company for Unified’s Pacific Northwest Member stores operating under banners trademarked by Unified and IGA USA, Chicago.

In August, NWG will begin managing all marketing and advertising activities for these stores, which include more than 120 locations operating under the Thriftway, Red Apple Markets, Select Markets and IGA Market Fresh banners, among others.

In addition to the increased buying power and synergies created from this new “virtual chain” of stores, the alliance will help streamline the group’s administration and marketing activities, optimize member opportunities and promotions, simplify vendor relations and promote sales growth for all stakeholders.

“Northwest Grocers is excited about this new strategic alliance with Unified,” says Stan Trask, president, NWG. “The synergies created with this agreement will strengthen independent grocery retailers’ competitive position in the marketplace.”

“Partnering with Northwest Grocers is an important step in solidifying the position our member retailers hold in the Pacific Northwest,” adds Ray VanWetten, Unified Grocers’ vice president of sales, Pacific Northwest. “Together, we will be able to help our retailers buy and sell more efficiently, build their brands and ultimately better compete and grow for years to come.”