Israel Cohen and and Abraham Siegel founded C&S Wholesale Grocers in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1918. Three years later Cohen bought out Siegel’s share of the business.
C&S distinguished itself from its numerous competitors by increasing the speed of delivery through efficient warehouse procedures and putting the needs of customers as a first priority.
After WWII, Israel’s son Lester returned home from the war and began to sell to military commissaries.
In 1955 Lester became CEO of C&S. For the next twenty years Lester grew the company, focusing on wholesale and by 1974 annual sales had reached $14 million.
In 1993 annual sales reached $1 billion.
By 2003 C&S was the third-largest wholesaler in the United States and the largest in New England.
Today C&S delivers over 100,000 food and non-food items to 3,900 independent supermarkets, regional and national chains, and military bases from 50 distribution centers. Its customers include Safeway, Target, A&P, Stop & Shop, and Foodtown.
C&S has 17,000 employees and had $20.40 billion in revenue in 2011.