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CLEVELAND — United Dairy Farmers said goodbye to the Cleveland market, selling its four Northeast Ohio stores to newcomer Uptown Mart. The stores are located in Lakewood, North Olmsted, South Euclid and Cleveland Heights.
With only four stores in Cleveland, compared to 44 stores in Columbus, 45 in Dayton and more than 90 in Cincinnati, it came down to economies of scale and the extra costs associated with the Greater Cleveland stores, reported Cleveland.com.
"The stores are very profitable, have skilled workers and are well-maintained," said United Dairy Farmers Corporate Head of Human Resources Mark Wilson.
A fourth-generation company, United Dairy Farmers is headquartered in Cincinnati and is a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of ice cream and milk. With additional operations in Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky, United Dairy Farmers' stores sell hand-dipped cones, sundaes and shakes alongside milk and other food and convenience fare, as well as gasoline at some of its locations, including North Olmsted.
Uptown Mart's name was recently registered with the State of Ohio on March 14 by owner Mohammad Madaat. He is also owner of other c-stores in the Columbus area, according to the news outlet.
The new Uptown Mart stores are located at: 1900 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights; 16511 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood; 24662 Lorain Rd. in North Olmsted; and 4234 Mayfield Rd. in South Euclid.
Oday Shanab, general manager of Uptown Mart, said the company has no intention of changing what's working. "Cleveland is used to the United Dairy Farmers brand. Everyone is addicted to the UDF ice cream," he commented. "We are keeping everything that United Dairy Farmers did. Uptown Mart is committed to United Dairy Farmers."
According to the manager, Uptown Mart intends to keep all of United Dairy Farmers' 60 full- and part-time workers on the payroll. "I can't stress enough that a big part of the decision to come to Cleveland was the great employees and really good management. They made United Dairy Farmers what it is in Cleveland."
Shanab added that he sees buying the stores as positive news for the neighborhood in which they are located. He plans to create a website where customers can give direct feedback on the stores in Lakewood, North Olmsted, South Euclid and Cleveland Heights.
Uptown Mart plans to expand in the Cleveland market, possibly with the Uptown Mart name, but specific locations have not been disclosed, the news outlet reported.