AG New England Realigns Merch, Ad Departments; Promotes Execs

Left to right: Rick Wheeler, Sue Johnson, Kathleen McCarthy

Associated Grocers of New England said this week it has reallocated responsibilities related to its merchandising and advertising departments, and promoted two executives.

“In today’s highly competitive retail food environment, it’s more important than ever for stores to maximize the impact of their merchandising and advertising,” noted company president and CEO Mike Bourgoine. “As a wholesale supplier to over 500 food stores, we have re-examined the process of more effectively helping stores position themselves in the marketplace. This means more actively involving the buyers and category managers in the merchandising and advertising process.”

In keeping with this redistribution of responsibilities, VP of wholesale merchandising and procurement Rick Wheeler now oversees the weekly development of effective, consumer-focused advertising circulars or flyers. “As part of the procurement function, this realignment gives buyers and category managers an active role in the ad plan development process and improves inventory management, attracts more aggressive price points due to lower product costs, and produces better coordination of item selection between our perishable and grocery wholesale procurement departments,” said Bourgoine.

Advertising manager Sue Johnson has been promoted to senior manager of marketing & communications, reporting to director of retail programs Curt O’Hara. Her responsibilities include research and coordination with retail customers for special retail event promotions, such as grand openings, anniversary sales, and truckload sales. She additionally develops creative marketing themes for the weekly flyer program, takes part in the flyer item selection process, oversees vendor fund use in support of advertising and marketing initiatives, provides creative input to retail marketing programs and support materials, and oversees the advertising department. Johnson also heads production of important management presentations, both internally and externally.

Succeeding Johnson, Kathleen McCarthy has become advertising manager, in which capacity she handles the high-quality production of all marketing support materials and flyers for customers, which includes costing of any materials produced, the quality and effectiveness of those materials, and meeting deadlines for having the materials produced and distributed. McCarthy also assists Johnson, to whom she reports, in the planning and coordination of all special event advertising and marketing initiatives.

Owned entirely by independent retail grocers as members of a cooperative, Pembroke, N.H.-based AG New England, the largest retailer-owned wholesale grocery distribution center in New England, serves independent retail food stores in Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the upstate New York/Albany area.
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