Community Natural Foods grocery stores bought by Calgary Co-op

Calgary Co-op has bought Community Natural Foods grocery stores.

The companies announced the acquisition on Monday.

"For Calgary Co-op's food business to survive and thrive in the long term, we must work locally to increase the relevance of our unique offering of products and services to members' lifestyles," said Calgary Co-op CEO Ken Keelor in a release.

Co-op said it plans to run Community Natural Foods as an independent subsidiary, and maintain its commitment to local and organic products.

The current staff and management structure will be kept in place as well.

Community Natural Foods was started on 11th Avenue S.W. in Calgary in 1977. It's since moved and expanded to three locations — 10th Avenue S.W., Chinook Station Market and Crowfoot Market. 

"It's been an amazing 42-year journey and it was my personal wish to sell to a buyer who would steward the Community Natural Foods business and brand carefully and thoughtfully," said Garry Wilkes, who along with his brother founded the company. 

Calgary Co-op has stores around the city and neighbouring communities. It has 3,850 employees and annual sales of $1.3 billion.