Associated Food Stores was founded in 1940 by then Utah Retail Grocers Association President Donald P. Lloyd, along with 34 Utah retailers. He felt that larger corporate stores would have a negative impact on smaller independent retailers and saw the only way for them to survive was by uniting, which would increase their buying power and face the competition as a stronger unit. Lloyd convinced the 34 independent retailers to give $300 towards building an ‘associated,’ independent warehouse.
Associated Fresh Markets, a banner of Associated Food Stores came about after it purchased 34 Albertsons stores from retailer Supervalu Inc. and renamed them in 2009. One year later, three of the stores were shut down due to bad performance. As of 2012, only 26 of the Fresh Market banner stores in Utah were remaining.
The retail supermarkets supplied by the cooperative are located in Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Oregon and Idaho.
The cooperative, in addition to supplying the independent retail supermarkets, also owns a number of corporate stores running under five names; Dan’s, Macey’s, Dick’s Market, Lin’s and Fresh Market. All are located in Utah save for one Lin’s located in Overton, Nevada. In 2007, it was reported that 23 percent of the cooperative’s total sales had been contributed by the corporate stores. The cooperative is a distributor of Western Family, a well-liked store brand, as well as Shurfine, Marketchoice, Better Buy and Shursavings brands. Western Family Foods owns the Western Family brand.