By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The future of the Twin Cities biggest grocer is up in the air. Cub Foods’ parent company, Supervalu, was purchased Thursday by a Rhode Island-based wholesaler for close to $3 billion.

The new company — United Natural Foods, Inc. — plans to sell Supervalu’s retail operations over time.

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The Cub Foods in Plymouth is celebrating its Grand Reopening the same day its parent company announced it had been bought out.

Supervalu has changed its business model over the last decade after bailing on an effort to expand the retail market, to then refocusing on wholesale business.

“It’s a tough business to be in. It’s low margins. Add in the recession of ’08, put it all in, it’s been struggling,” George John, professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, said.

John thinks it’s unlikely the new sale will shut down the roughly 80 Cub Foods stores, but it could change your shopping experience.

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“When you cut costs, what do you do? Cut the number of cashiers. Don’t renovate stores as often,” he said.

If a buyer wants to revive Cub, John said, they have to keep prices competitive.

Shoppers say they hope to see the Cub Foods they know stick around.

“I think it’s a nice large grocery store that has a lot to offer, so taking that away from the area it’s present would be tough,” shopper Bridget Macbean said.

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Supervalu currently employs around 30,000 people around the country, many right here in the Twin Cities. John says it’s likely administration jobs could see cuts as the headquarters here will move.

Kate Raddatz