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Industry Mourns Passing of Bill Bishop

Consultant, thought leader and founder of Willard Bishop Consulting and Brick Meets Click was 80
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Bill Bishop
Willard "Bill" Bishop, Jr., 1941-2022

Willard “Bill” Bishop, who provided insights to retailers and brands for decades, has died. The founder of Willard Bishop Consulting and co-founder of Brick Meets Click passed away on March 25 at the age of 80.

Earlier this year, his family and colleagues at Brick Meets Click announced that Bishop was stepping away from the firm due to serious ongoing health challenges. “As you know, Bill has enjoyed a long and successful career in the grocery industry doing work that he loved, and he became good friends with many people along the way. He is very thankful for all your friendship and support over the years,” wrote his children, Steve Bishop, David Bishop and Cindy Christian in a statement.

A native of South Orange, N.J., and a longtime resident of Barrington, Ill., Bishop was known for finding and imparting key grocery insights during his nearly four decades at Willard Bishop Consulting and later, at Brick Meets Click, where he sought to uncover ways that digital technologies were impacting the marketplace. Also during his distinguished career, he helped launch two Coca-Cola Retailing Research Councils, including one on grocery and the other on convenience retail, and taught marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He served as a board member for Raley’s Fine Foods and The Food Institute and was inducted into the Private Label Hall of Fame in fall 2020.

Bishop was praised for providing a different kind of benchmark for people in their own careers by fostering a deeper knowledge of the industry they serve. More than 300 people commented on a LinkedIn post from Brick Meets Click that announced his retirement. “Bill is such an icon in the grocery industry and his contribution has been immense,” wrote Mark Fairhurst, VP of marketing at Mercatus.

Echoed Cathy Richelieu, solution delivery principal at Blue Yonder, in another LinkedIn comment: I met Bill at my first industry conference very early in my career. He called on me from the audience to talk about how we were managing a successful Scanning implementation at Scott's Food Stores, a 10-store chain in Fort Wayne, Indiana, back when scanning and data was the 'big new thing' in retail. After that, he tapped me frequently to speak at ‘his’ conferences, but most importantly, he always stopped to chat as he walked the floor at the trade shows we've all attended through the years. Reading the posts here from many of my friends and mentors in the industry, I realize how Bill, in many ways, has connected us all.”

Bishop is survived by his wife of 58 years, Catherine, and his children, Cindy (Joe) Christian of Tucson, Ariz., Steve (Anila) Bishop of Scottsdale, Ariz., and David (Julia) Bishop of Barrington, Ill. He was also the proud grandfather of four and the brother of Richard Bishop of Portland, Ore., and Philip (Sheryl) Bishop of Kinnelon, N.J.

A memorial service for Bishop is planned for mid-May in Barrington, Ill. His family is planning on a separate online memorial event for those in the grocery industry to honor him and his influence and achievements.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites memorial donations to be made in his honor to F.I.S.H. Food Pantry, Carpentersville, or to a favorite local food pantry.

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