Suffolk-based wholesaler ForWard Foods has bought its first retail outlet.

The cash & carry business owned by former AC Ward & Son MD James Ward has taken over a Choices UK video franchise in its home town of Sudbury.

From this week it will be run as an off-licence and video rental outlet, which will also sell snacks and confectionery. The store will trade as Danny's. "I wanted to have a retail presence as well as a wholesale one in the town," said Ward. "This works well as, apart from the videos and DVDs, everything will be supplied through ForWard by way of vertical integration."

As yet there are no plans to develop further stores. "It is early days but at the moment I am happy running a local business."

Ward set up ForWard Foods last January after splitting from Blueheath, which acquired AC Ward in October 2005. He said the business had had a successful year, with weekly turnover growing from £90,000 to £210,000 last year.

Ward is planning to significantly increase the amount of products sourced locally during 2007. He is in talks with local supplier group Taste of Anglia with a view to adding more lines from local producers sold through the depot. "It is important to support some of the excellent local producers and I am confident that local sourcing is set to become an even more important issue for consumers over the coming year," he added.