AMES, Iowa--Dahl's announcement Monday that it would seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy, along with a new owner, shocked customers, despite years of rumors about the company's financial well-being.
"It's like a part of Des Moines history is going out of business," lamented Des Moines longtime customer Sherine Rhodes.
Earlier this year, Dahl's confirmed plans to close stores in West Des Moines, Ames and Ankeny, leaving ten stores. Kansas City-based Associated Wholesale Grocers announced Monday it would purchase Dahl's. In a statement, the company did not say whether it would keep all of the remaining Dahl's stores but did say it would re-brand them. The statement did not disclose the new name of the remaining stores.
AWG's statement said in part:
Jerry Garland, President and CEO of the Kansas City-based AWG said: “Our intentions for entering into the agreement to purchase Dahl's Foods are to provide an opportunity for a member of our cooperative to successfully enter the Des Moines grocery market, with some good locations, and to gain a strong and experienced workforce, which is already in the stores. The current team at Dahl's had commenced rebuilding this chain and we believe they have a good plan but the financial position they found themselves in was just too big to overcome. We envision that once acquired, Craig Moore and the store teammates will be given additional and continued support, the stores will be remodeled and updated, and steps will be taken to build a new brand and identity for the Dahl's stores, and ultimately the consumers of Des Moines can be provided with a better selection and value in locations which are familiar and staffed by friends and neighbors. We believe this overall plan will strongly position these AWG member stores to favorably compete in Des Moines.”
Michelle Hurd, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, didn't want to specifically address Dahl's bankruptcy. But she did provide this statement to Channel 13 news:
“The Iowa marketplace has been and continues to be highly competitive. I anticipate that will remain the case in the future. Our state is home to a number of successful Iowa-based supermarket chains, national chains and a network of strong independent grocery stores. As a result, Iowa consumers enjoy some of the lowest grocery prices and best customer service in the country. This level of competition does put pressure on retailers. On average, Iowa grocers operate within a one percent profit margin.”
“While I’m not in a positon to comment on the specifics of Dahl’s situation, I can say I’m confident that Dahl’s has a solid strategy in place and that their actions are being done in the best interest of their employees and their customers.”
“The plans announced today are designed to provide Dahl’s shoppers an enhanced customer experience and ultimately help their stores be successful.”