Chicago-based grocery retailer Tony’s Fresh Market has been acquired by Apollo Funds, according to an April 20 statement from Apollo Global Management Inc.
Tony’s, which was founded in 1979 by Italian immigrants Tony Ingraffia and Domenico Gambino, operates 18 stores in the Chicago area. The grocery retailer, which prides itself on sourcing products from over 400 vendors to provide affordable, high-quality items, also has more locations planned.
“My family has been feeding our communities for generations and are incredibly excited to partner with Apollo to build upon that legacy of fresh and healthy food, at an affordable price and delivered with respect to the many cultures of our customers,” Tony’s CEO and a member of the founding family Frank Ingraffia said in a statement.
Apollo’s backing of the family-owned operation is the latest in a series of fund investments it has made in the grocery sector, including including leading franchises such as The Fresh Market, Sprouts Farmers Market and Smart & Final through both past and present fund investments. As of 2021, Apollo said it had about $498 billion assets under management.
“Tony’s is a market leader that’s built an incredible reputation in Chicago, known for its high-quality foods and differentiated offering that includes international food options and commitment to customer service,” Apollo Partner Andrew Jhawar said in a statement. “Having spent more than 20 years leading Apollo’s private equity investments in grocery and retail, I firmly believe the business is poised for strong organic growth, and together we see additional opportunities to support Tony’s through go-to-market execution, customer loyalty programs, e-commerce and more.”
Family-owned and operated since its founding more than 40 years ago, Apollo said in a statement that the founding family will partner with Apollo, both in management roles and as shareholders, going forward.
“Tony, Frank and the broader team have built an incredible business, and we look forward to leveraging our extensive expertise to support their continued success,” Jhawar said in a statement.
Apollo partner Joanna Reiss, who is co-lead of impact investing, said healthy and affordable food is Apollo’s focus. “With our investment in Tony’s, we are proud to support a high-performing company that is increasing access to quality, affordable groceries in a broad swath of neighborhoods as well as donating to local food banks to fight hunger. We hope to further strengthen and scale Tony’s, and by doing so achieve strong financial performance alongside even greater impact,” Reiss said in a statement.