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Willowbrook Farms will close Friday after 68 years

Willowbrook Farms, a 68-year-old food distributor in the Niagara Frontier Food Terminal, will close its doors Friday after 68 years in business.

The company, which also has a popular cash-and-carry store in the terminal, has been sold to Latina Boulevard Foods. Willowbrook will deliver its customers' orders and keep the store open until Friday. After that, the store will close, and Latina will take over the company's distribution business.

Third-generation owner Karen Wattles Vogelsang said the Wattle's family's fourth generation is not interested in joining the family business.

The changing face of the grocery business has made it harder for small, independently owned food distributors to compete. Behemoths such as Target and Walmart have added grocery departments that rely on large, national suppliers and have invested millions of dollars building their own food distribution centers.

Another portion of the business, Willowbrook Beverage Center, will remain in operation at the Food Terminal.

Latina Foods has a long history in Western New York. Established 63 years ago on Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls, the company recently completed a 150,000-square-foot expansion and added a new fleet of trucks. It is located in the former Scrivner Food warehouse in Cheektowaga.

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