FARGO - Coborn's Inc., the parent company of Cash Wise stores, has signed a purchase agreement with Supervalu to acquire several Hornbacher's grocery stores.

The St. Cloud, Minn.-based grocery retailer will purchase the five Hornbacher's stores in Fargo and two stores in Moorhead, as well as a store currently under construction in West Fargo, according to the Friday, Nov. 30, announcement. The Grand Forks Hornbacher's store, which is not included in the sale, will close. A liquidation sale of the Grand Forks store will begin Monday, Dec. 3.

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Supervalu announced in July it was selling itself to United Natural Foods Inc. in a $2.9 billion deal that included the company's debt and liabilities.

During a press conference Friday, Nov. 30, at a south Fargo Hornbacher's, Chad Ferguson, president of retail operations at Supervalu, explained that UNI was interested in the wholesale operations, but not the "retail side of business."

Chris Coborn, chairman, president and CEO of Coborn's, said he was interested as soon as he heard UNI hoped to sell the Hornbacher's stores.

"We saw this as an opportunity to further invest in the thriving Fargo-Moorhead area with Supervalu exiting the retail business," he said. "Hornbacher's is a respected grocery retailer; they're doing everything right. We intend to let them continue operating as-is so there is no change to their guest experience."

As part of the sale, Coborn's plans to retain the Hornbacher's name and will enter into a long-term agreement for Supervalu to serve as the primary supplier of Hornbacher's locations. The deal is expected to close before Dec. 25.

Coborn said Matt Leiseth will continue on as president of the Hornbacher's brand and will also have a role within the Coborn's leadership team.

"We're confident we can learn something from Matt and his team," Coborn said.

Leiseth said he looks forward to joining the Coborn's family.

"On behalf of the 1,200 employees of Hornbacher's, we are so excited to be joining a new family that really believes in and supports our vision of being great community partners," Leiseth said. "To make sure that you're connected to the food banks and the United Way and all of the other great nonprofits, that's what makes this a great community to live in. We could not be more proud and honored to be a part of a new family and can't wait to get started."

Coborn's Inc. also owns CobornsDelivers, an online grocery ordering and home delivery service, and stand-alone convenience, liquor and pharmacy locations.