C.E. "Doc" Toland
C.E. "Doc" Toland devoted most of his business career to serving the independent retailer in Arkansas and made invaluable contributions to the retailer-owned segment of the food industry. Having guided Affiliated Foods Southwest, Inc. from a three person operation to one of the state's premier companies, Toland established himself as one of the nation's most respected leaders in the field.
He entered the retail grocery business in 1936 when, at the age of 20, he purchased his own grocery store. He left the business to serve in the Army Air Corps during World War II, but in 1947 returned to work for Model Markets, a small group of independent grocers. In 1957, he became general manager of Associated Grocers, with annual sales of $1,500,000. In 1966, he was named president and by 1990, Associated Grocers (now Affiliated Foods Southwest) realized annual sales of over $560,000,000.
Toland's committed belief that by working cooperatively members could remain independent and still grow, made him a great champion of the cooperative form of business.