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In my last newsletter, we announced the launch of Progressive Grocer‘s LinkedIn group, and I’d like to thank everyone who has joined and added to the discussions — your input has been tremendous. We’re at almost 800 members now, with dozens of new ones joining each week from all facets of the food retailing business — national grocery chains, community-based independents, CPG suppliers, technology and equipment vendors, just to name a few.

As you’ll see from the stories below, social networking has grown beyond a mere fad to a powerful means of engaging each other — and consumers — and as the industry continues to learn more about applying the platform, we can expect to see some unique innovations down the road.

PG is no different, and we have been developing some new tools to help retailers get the most from this medium. We’ll have some exciting news for you on this front shortly! For those of you interested in joining our LinkedIn group, here’s the link:

And while we’re on the topic of retailers connecting with each other, check out what our friends Gary and Sterling Hawkins of Green Hills have done with their store. Gary is very well-known for his work with shopper data — he wrote two books on the subject and created the SmartShop loyalty system. Now, he’s turned his store into a lab to help educate retailers about technology using a real-live store environment, rather than just a mere simulation. You’ll find the story — and Gary’s contact info — below.

Till then, keep connecting!

Joseph Tarnowski
[email protected]