The Empire is growing. Sobeys’ parent Empire Co. announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement to buy 51 per cent of independent grocery chain Longo’s and its online service Grocery Gateway in a deal worth $357 million. The deal adds Longo’s 36 Ontario-based stores to Empire’s growing collection of brands, including Sobeys, Farm Boy, Foodland and FreshCo. Voila, Empire’s online grocery delivery service, will continue as a separate brand. The deal also includes Longo’s distribution centre as well as its commissary kitchen. Longo’s and Grocery Gateway will continue to be run as separate brands, and will be operated by current Longo’s management, including Longo’s CEO Anthony Longo.