NSA Will Have a New England Chapter

The National Supermarket Association (NSA), a trade association representing over 700 independently owned supermarkets, will open headquarters in downtown Providence, Rhode Island for its newly established New England chapter.

The NSA is investing in Providence without any economic or tax incentives from the state or city. Sabina Matos, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Rhode Island, announced the news on Monday, June 24.

“I am excited to announce that the National Supermarket Association has chosen Providence for their New England headquarters, better positioning our state to become a leader in the region’s food economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Matos.

“The National Supermarket Association will be a valuable partner in reducing grocery costs for Rhode Island families, supporting our vibrant community of food producers and wholesalers, and eliminating food deserts in our state.”

Founded in 1989, the National Supermarket Association is a trade association representing the interests of independent grocery stores across the East Coast.

New England Chapter

“We are extremely grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from the state of Rhode Island. This commitment makes our mission more achievable and impactful. Our mission is to advance and support the independent supermarket owners by promoting innovation, sustainability, and community engagement. We rise by lifting others,” said NSA New England Chapter President William Rodriguez.

The announcement caps over eighteen months of discussions between Lieutenant Governor Matos and NSA leadership, during which the Lieutenant Governor has advocated for the selection of Rhode Island for NSA’s headquarters based on the state’s central location, competitive business costs, and rich talent pool. 

Through membership with the NSA, grocery stores can access exclusive vendor programs, receive technical assistance, benefit from proactive and reduced-rate food safety inspections, and participate in other programs meant to reduce supply and administrative costs and keep their products affordable.

Over 700 grocery stores from Massachusetts to Florida are already members of the NSA. Independent grocery stores create 3,000 jobs and over $420 million in annual sales in Rhode Island, and over $15 billion in annual sales across New England. The NSA also has a Florida Chapter.

The NSA focuses on establishing grocery stores in communities and neighborhoods that lack access to traditional grocery chains. In Rhode Island, more than 25% of census tracts are categorized as low-income and have limited access to fresh food, and almost half of all people of color in Rhode Island reside in these areas. As part of its work in the region, the NSA will seek opportunities to eliminate food deserts by bringing locally owned grocery stores with affordable, nutritious, and culturally relevant food to these underserved areas.

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What People Are Saying

The announcement from Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos that the National Supermarket Association will open its New England headquarters in downtown Providence drew praise and excitement from local government officials, food policy experts, and business leaders:

“The opening of the National Association of Supermarkets’ New England Chapter in downtown Providence adds to the city’s diversity and independent spirit. Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, who played a crucial role in bringing them here, deserves credit. As the NSA welcomes its members to Providence to meet, work, and connect, we are reminded of the importance of investing in the neighborhood here to make it a lively and vibrant place for workers, residents, and visitors,” said Joseph R. Paolino, Jr., CEO and Managing Partner of Paolino Properties, who brokered the sale of the building at 61 Weybosset Street.

Meanwhile, Oscar Mejias, Chief Executive Officer RI Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said “The Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (RIHCC) emphasizes the significance of promoting independent grocery stores to maintain affordable and accessible food options for communities of color. The presence of National Supermarket Association (NSA) aims to bolster these efforts by leveraging NSA’s resources and expertise for our Small Business Community. By working together, we strive to ensure that local businesses thrive and families in our diverse communities have access to nutritious food at reasonable prices. We welcome NSA to Rhode Island!”

And UNFI, a Providence-based grocery wholesaler, said, “UNFI is pleased that the National Supermarket Association’s New England Chapter has chosen Providence, RI, to locate its regional headquarters. As a fellow Rhode Island-based business we welcome them to the neighborhood and look forward to working with them on industry issues that serve all New Englanders.”