The Illinois Food Retailers Association is a non-profit trade association dedicated to the growth and profitability of locally owned and owner-operated retail food stores and the suppliers that service them. For each of its members, IFRA membership strengthens the link to the food industry at-large and provides industry specific programs, essential and timely information about general industry topics and legislative and regulatory issues that affect their business.
In 1925 four brothers named Broman founded a small retail butchers association — the forerunner of the present day Illinois Food Retailers Association. They hoped this new association would create a forum to exchange ideas and plans.
The 1940s ushered in a new era in the retail grocery industry with the advent of the larger, self-service stores, which were the beginnings of the modern day supermarket. Many of the butchers of the time expanded their operations to include general food items. To reflect these changes, the organization’s name was changed to the Chicago Area Food Dealers Association.
In 1952, a downstate organization known as the Illinois Food Dealers Association began to compete for membership in the Chicago area. When the National Association of Retail Grocers granted the exclusive franchise for the State of Illinois to the Chicago Food Dealers Association, the two organizations merged.
The newly formed organization was called the Associated Food Retailers of Illinois. Their office was located at 500 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago.
In 1968, the organization’s board of directors voted to change the name of the group from the Association Food Retailers of Illinois to the Illinois Food Retailers Association. The new name, they believed better represented the forward-looking nature of the association.
The success the Illinois Food Retailers Association enjoys today is not a result of the commitment of one individual, or even the work of one group. It is the culmination of the devoted and consistent efforts of all members throughout the decades-people willing to share their time and talent and resources to improve the lot of the whole.
Today, the Illinois Food Retailers Association is comprised of independents who operate over 700 stores throughout the state, together with the wholesalers and suppliers who service these locations. The Association is dedicated to the profitability and growth of the membership by offering such programs as legislative affairs, labor relations, insurance, coupon redemption, scholarship programs, and continuing education.
The need for the Association is greater than ever before. Our industry is shrinking and the ramifications of all the industry mergers and acquisitions have yet to be seen. Independents and their suppliers must work more closely to compete in this highly competitive marketplace.
Illinois Food Retailers Association
1919 S. Highland Ave.
Lombard, IL 60148