Imperial Trading Company, a century-old Louisiana firm that distributes goods to convenience stores in 12 states, has doubled its size by acquiring a Michigan distributor that serves eight states in the Midwest.

Imperial announced it has purchased the stock of GRAD Inc., parent company of S. Abraham & Sons (SAS Distributing), of Grand Rapids.

The merged company becomes the fifth largest convenience store distributor in the United States, with 1,000 employees serving 20 states stretching from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico. Imperial and SAS will supply more than 5,000 retailers, with annual sales volume totaling $2.5 billion.

Jerry Abraham has been named president of Abraham. Alan Abraham will continue in an advisory capacity. Wayne M. Baquet Jr. is president of Imperial.

Imperial is owned by John Georges, who purchased The Advocate five years ago and grew it to become Louisiana’s largest newspaper. Imperial was founded more than 100 years ago by his grandfather, C.H. Pelias, a Greek immigrant. It has grown dramatically since Georges took control, when its annual sales were $29 million.

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SAS is the fourth acquisition in the past decade. Imperial purchased Harrison Company of Bossier City in 2008, Union Grocery of New Albany, Miss., in 2010, and CD Fite of Cedartown, Ga., in 2011.

SAS is nearly as old as Imperial — 90 years — and was founded by Lebanese immigrants. Both companies are members of the National Distribution Network.

“This acquisition makes sense since we are both in the same business and provide the same services and have similar histories and cultures. It will only make us stronger,” said Georges.

"Both companies were successful for the same reason: We both have great employees who put the customer first and strive to give the best service,” Georges added.

“In our desire to continue and expand our growth capabilities, we found the perfect fit for us in SAS,” said Baquet. “SAS is a leader in the Midwest, providing marketing, technology and distribution solutions for their customers. We are excited to join forces and share best practices to grow our market share.”

“As we looked at opportunities for the future of our company, we sought a like-minded company with similar core values and marketing philosophies. We found them in Imperial Trading Company,” said Alan Abraham.

“The merged company will continue to have a major presence in servicing the convenience store community and our focus will remain customer satisfaction,” said Jerry Abraham.

SAS will continue operating its two distribution centers, in Grand Rapids and Indianapolis, as well as its corporate office, and will retain all of its employees.