Tony’s Fresh Market sold to a private equity firm

The sale gives Apollo Global Management a deeper stake in the Chicago-area grocery market.

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Tony’s Fresh Market located at 5233 North Lincoln Avenue in the Budlong Woods neighborhood, Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Tony’s Fresh Market has been sold to the private equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

A New York private equity firm said Wednesday it has acquired Tony’s Fresh Market, a Chicago-area grocery chain with 18 stores. Terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition by Apollo Global Management builds on its grocery investments nationally and locally. Apollo has a stake in Albertsons, whose properties include the Jewel-Osco stores.

Tony’s was founded in 1979 in Logan Square by Tony Ingraffia and Domenico Gambino, according to the company website. It has remained family-owned. The Apollo announcement said family members will continue in management and as shareholders.

Frank Ingraffia, CEO of Tony’s, said in an interview that he foresees no change in day-to-day management as a result of the sale, except that “our growth trajectory is going to change a little.” He said Tony’s, which has expanded at a rate of one to three stores a year, will become opportunistic in growing in the Chicago area and beyond.

“It was very important to Apollo that family remain in day-to-day management,” he said, with the New York firm as a partner for financing and strategy. Ingraffia said he sees no potential tie-up with Jewel.

In 2020, Apollo acquired convertible preferred shares in Albertsons representing a 17.5% stake in the company.

Apollo partner Joanna Reiss said the firm is interested in getting healthy and affordable food to underserved communities. “We hope to further strengthen and scale Tony’s, and by doing so achieve strong financial performance alongside even greater impact,” she said.

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