News Briefs

  • 4/12/2022

    Associated Grocers of New England Adds Solar Rooftop to Distribution Center

    AGNE rooftop solar teaser

    In a move that will create the largest rooftop solar installation in the state of New Hampshire, Associated Grocers of New England (AGNE) has partnered with ReVision Energy to outfit its Pembroke distribution center with solar energy that will help power its operations.

    The 50,000-square-foot distribution center employs a 1MW SolarEdge DC-optimized array that should offset approximately 20% of its annual energy consumption, which will lend itself to a return on investment of less than nine years and will reduce carbon emissions by approximately 1,100 tons per year.

    The solar project is part of a wider sustainability initiative being undertaken by the co-op and steered forward by the Associated Grocers Green Awareness Committee. The company hopes to expand its use of solar energy in the future.

    “Once we started looking at solar, we quickly saw it was a no-brainer,” said Tommy Coyle, marketing media specialist for AGNE. “We spoke to six installers but found ReVision Energy to be the most straight-forward company to deal with. Added to that, the SolarEdge system it proposed offered the fastest ROI. That was an important factor in getting the AGNE board to sign off on the project.”

    AGNE is the largest retailer-owned wholesale grocery distribution center in New England, serving over 650 independent retail stores across the region, as well as upstate New York.

  • 4/13/2022

    Festival Foods Coming to Northwest Wisconsin

    Festival Foods teaser

    Festival Foods is moving into another market in Wisconsin. According to local media reports, a new store will be built in Chippewa Falls in the northwest part of the state.

    Slated to open in late 2023, the store is part of the Chippewa Crossing site developed by Milwaukee-based Wangard Partners, Inc. “We are very excited to have Festival Foods as the anchor for our Chippewa Crossing development,” said Stewart Wangard, Wangard’s CEO and chairman of the board. “Festival Foods is a very successful, Wisconsin-based grocery brand, and their presence in Chippewa Falls will be an impactful option for the community.”

    Currently, Festival Foods operates 39 grocery stores in Wisconsin. The company recently added to its portfolio with the purchase of former Trig’s locations in the towns of Wausau, Weston and Stevens Point.

    De Pere, Wis.-based Skogen's Festival Foods is an employee- and family-owned company.

  • 4/13/2022

    Cardenas Markets Offering Curbside Pickup in Vegas

    Cardenas Markets Las Vegas Curbside Pickup Teaser

    Cardenas Markets has rolled out curbside pickup at all five of its Las Vegas locations, through the Hispanic grocer’s partnership with San Francisco-based Instacart

    “Our customers are at the center of everything we do,” noted Adam Salgado, Cardenas’ chief marketing officer. “Whether shopping in-store or online, Cardenas Markets is committed to ensuring an excellent and convenient shopping experience for our customers.”

    To use curbside pickup, Cardenas customers can visit Instacart’s website and click the Pickup icon for a Las Vegas Cardenas store location. Upon completing the online order, they choose a pickup time, and a Cardenas Markets associate will prepare and ensure the order is ready for pickup at the selected time. Customers park in the area designated for curbside pickup and use the Instacart app to notify the store of their arrival.

    Ontario, Calif.-based Cardenas operates 52 stores under the Cardenas banner and seven stores under the Cardenas Ranch Markets banner. The company operates in California, Nevada and Arizona.

  • 4/12/2022

    Amazon’s Just Walk Out Tech Available at Minute Maid Park

    Minute Maid Park Teaser

    Amazon has collaborated with the Houston Astros to bring the e-tailer’s checkout-free Just Walk Out technology to two food and beverage stores at Minute Maid Park, just ahead of the first home game of the season, on April 18.

    The Astros’ stadium is the first in Major League Baseball to adopt Just Walk Out, and it’s using the same slightly modified system that Amazon offers at select Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh stores. Just Walk Out shopping is made possible by using similar types of technologies used in self-driving cars, computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning.

    Amazon’s technology is available at the stadium’s 19th Hole store, located on the Concourse level, and the Market store, located on the Honda Club level. Both stores offer a selection of snacks, soda, candy and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, with the Concourse-level store also offering pre-packaged salads, wine bottles and souvenirs.

    Both locations require a customer to insert their credit card at the entry gate to begin shopping. Items will be added to their virtual cart after being grabbed off the shelf, and anything returned to the shelf will be taken out of their virtual cart.

    Each store also features staff to greet customers and offer in-store assistance. To buy alcohol, customers will still have to show ID to a store attendant.

    “Our technology is designed to deliver a fast and frictionless shopping experience, so we’re thrilled to help eliminate checkout lines for fans when they need to refuel during games and between innings,” said Dilip Kumar, VP of physical retail and technology at Amazon.

    Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, its wholly owned subsidiary, is No. 26 on PG's list.

  • 4/12/2022

    New Indie Market Coming to Northern Alabama

    New Indie Market Coming to Northern Alabama

    A new independent grocer is set to open in Florence, Ala., in the north part of the state. Coming in mid-2022, Cottonwood Farm & Grocery will sell fresh meats, produce, bulk grains, flowers, cheeses, grab-and-go meals and snacks and housewares, among other products.

    Many items will be locally sourced from farmers and growers in the Tennessee Valley, and the retailer will team up with natural and organic wholesaler UNFI to carry organic brands such as Annie’s, Amy’s, Beyond Meat and Evol. Located at 318 N. Court Street in the downtown district, the market also will feature an assortment of vegan and gluten-free products and offer DoorDash delivery service and the use of EBT payments. As part of its community-focused efforts, Cottonwood Farm owners Hope and Brian Williamson are planning to provide items that are nearing their end date and haven’t sold yet to a local center for those in need.

    “We opened this storefront to give local farmers a place to sell their goods, and we’ve succeeded,” said Brian Williamson. “And, keeping the shelves stocked with other organic items is something the community vocalized, so we’re trying to meet that need.”

  • 4/12/2022

    Blue Apron Hires Chief Product Officer

    Blue Apron Hires Chief Product Officer

    As Blue Apron continues to add new offerings like breakfast and single-serve items to its portfolio, it’s also growing its product team. The meal kit company has appointed Josh Friedman as chief product officer, effective April 18.

    In this recently-created c-suite role, Friedman will head up Blue Apron’s product strategy across several functions. He will oversee efforts in the areas of fulfillment, culinary and digital product, among other responsibilities.

    Friedman joins Blue Apron from The Neiman Marcus Group, where he served as head of digital products. His retail background also includes positions at JCPenney and Dell, where he led product, digital, e-commerce, marketing analytics and omnichannel operations and teams.

    A graduate of the MBA and undergraduate accounting programs at The University of Texas at Austin, Friedman served on the advisory board for the Digital Council at the National Retail Federation, and the University of North Texas Global Digital Retailing Research Center.

    “Josh’s strengths in weaving digital experiences around unique physical products combined with his experience growing e-commerce, fulfillment environments as well as transforming a product-driven culture cross-functionally will be a great addition to our established leadership team,” said Linda Findley, Blue Apron’s president and CEO to whom Friedman will report. “His exceptional record in team building, leadership, growing direct businesses, marketing technology, and data-driven product strategy will be an asset, and I look forward to his contribution to the business.”

    Friedman, for his part, said that he is looking forward to joining Blue Apron at a time of growth and expansion, both from a product and reach standpoint. “The team has established a strong foundation for the business and I am excited to work with them to build on top of the great work that has already been done,” he remarked.

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