At the Certco Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, March 5, Randall M. “Randy” Simon announced that he will retire from his role as president and CEO of the Fitchburg, Wisconsin-based cooperative wholesaler, next month.
“With my retirement date set at April 27, 2019, it will help me transition into my new lifestyle,” Simon said in an email that was sent to The Shelby Report. “Thanks to all of you who have helped Certco Inc. be successful in my almost 30 years here.”
Simon will be succeeded by Amy Niemetscheck, who currently serves as EVP and CFO. She is breaking new ground, as one of the first women—if not the first—to lead a sizable grocery wholesaler.
“I am honored and excited to be named the president and CEO of Certco,” Niemetscheck said. “I am so fortunate to have worked with Randall Simon for the past eight years. His mentorship means more to me than he will ever know. I’m happy we still have a couple months for transition to continue and am thrilled for him and Joyce as they look forward to their upcoming retirement years. Congratulations to my good friend, Randy!”
She added, “Our industry has many challenges in front of us, and I’m grateful the Board of Directors sees me as the leader to guide Certco forward. I am thrilled to be given that opportunity with such a supportive board of directors along with all our great employees and internal directors at my side. This includes David Ryman, who I have elected to lead with me as my vice president.
“In order to get our arms around all the change and to identify where to start to overcome these challenges, I look forward to focusing on our core mission at Certco. I am eager to create a vision that empowers the employees, strengthens our partnership with our vendors and brokers, and ensures we continue to make the independent retailers we serve successful. Without our independent retailers, Certco would not exist. They have been our foundation since 1930 and will continue to be the focus in the years ahead.”
Certco’s original name was Central Wisconsin Cooperative Food Stores. The co-op began in 1930 when five retailers in the Madison area joined together to get lower prices through combined purchasing. In 1942, the co-op established a warehouse, using a downtown garage as its distribution center. In 1956, the company name was changed to Certified Grocer’s Co-op. In 1962, the distribution center was moved to its current location and, in 1975, the name was changed to Certco Inc.
Today, Certco services more than 300 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa. The company has added on to its main distribution center numerous times, installed an HBC/GM and Specialty Foods facility and a new freezer facility. It currently has just under 1 million s.f. of distribution space with room to grow. It distributes more than 59,000 items for independent grocery retailers.