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  • 9/14/2022

    Chef’Store Names New President

    Chef’Store Exec

    At a time of expansion, Chef'Store is getting a new leader. Parent company US Foods announced the hiring of Irfan Badibanga as president of the warehouse retailer that serves foodservice professionals and members of the public.

    In his new role, Badibanga will spearhead the retailer’s growth strategy and lead efforts to add more locations. He reports to Jay Kvasnicka, EVP of field operations for US Foods.

    Prior to joining Chef’Store, Badibanga was SVP of operations at Giant Food. His industry leadership also includes roles as SVP of operations at Family Dollar Stores and VP of operations at Walmart. He began his industry career as a bagger at a Gooding’s Supermarket location in Orlando, Fla.

    [Read more: "US Foods Completes Expansion of Louisiana Distribution Center"]

    “Chef’Store is poised for tremendous growth, and I am excited to help advance an omnichannel experience that enables purchasing synergies for our US Foods broadline customers,” the new president remarked. “Our Chef’Store locations have an unparalleled culture that enables associates to cultivate lasting partnerships with our customers, and a customer value proposition that is centered around an incomparable customer experience that emphasizes clean, easy-to-navigate stores and a consistently stocked assortment of products aligned with the communities we operate in.” 

    Kvasnicka welcomed Badibanga to the organization. “His extensive retail leadership experience and proven track record of helping advance retail excellence will be critical as we continue to invest in the growth and expansion of our Chef’Store business,” he said.

    US Foods acquired Smart Foodservice Warehouse stores in April 2020 and rebranded all Smart Foodservice Warehouse stores as US Foods Chef’Stores in February 2021. With 80 locations across 13 states, the chain offers fresh meat, produce, dairy, and deli items, along with an assortment of grocery products, beverages, catering essentials, janitorial supplies and other goods.  

  • 9/15/2022

    Next Stop for Pop Up Grocer: Denver

    Pop Up Grocer Interior Teaser

    Pop Up Grocer has revealed that its next location will be Denver, where the company will set up temporary shop on Friday, Sept. 30.

    The location will remain in place at 2645 Walnut Street in the city’s RiNo neighborhood until Oct. 30, during which time it will showcase more than 100 brands, including national brands like Christie’s ChipsThe Hampton Grocer and Courtside, in addition to several Colorado-based brands, among them Hazlo tequila mixer, Rowdy Mermaid kombucha and vegan Byte Bars. It will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

    “Denver is an active, wellness-minded city that has welcomed a lot of new residents in the last few years,” noted Emily Schildt, founder and CEO of New York-based Pop Up Grocer. “We’re thrilled to meet their enthusiasm for adventure with a like-minded array of products that are the perfect complement to their lifestyle.”

    Other cities recently visited by Pop Up Grocer include Chicago and Washington, D.C.

    In addition to its temporary stores, the recently rebranded company has revealed that it will soon open a permanent flagship location in the Big Apple. 

  • 9/15/2022

    Nearly 30% of Pet Parents Can't Afford Their Fur Babies Amid Inflation

    Cat food teaser

    Online financial services marketplace LendingTree has released a consumer survey finding that more than 75% of pet owners believe that inflation is making pet ownership more expensive, and 26% are struggling to afford the four-legged members of their families. By generation, Millennials (32%) were most likely to say that they're having trouble paying for pet expenses amid inflation.

    Overall, 87% of pet owners said that they've experienced increased pricing on key pet-related expenses, especially pet food (74%) and veterinary services (33%). This increase in cost has forced pet owners to make financial sacrifices for their pets, with nearly one in four (23%) having taken on debt for their furry friends, and some even limiting their retirement savings contributions (10%).

    Other key survey findings included:

    • While pet owners reported spending an average of $1,163 annually on their pets in a 2021 LendingTree survey, in 2022, owners say they're spending just $984 per year — a nearly $180 difference.
    • 44% of pet owners are making financial sacrifices for their pets. 
    • 30% of owners who've been in pet-related debt have owed $1,000 or more. 

    Charlotte, N.C.-based LendingTree commissioned Provo, Utah-based Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,017 U.S. pet owners, ages 18 to 76, on Aug. 12-18. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure that the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

  • 9/15/2022

    Superior Grocers Unveils New Location in SoCal

    Superior Grocers

    Superior Grocers has hit a milestone, opening its 70th store in Southern California. The location at 280 E. Harvard Blvd. in Santa Paula operates under The Market by Superior banner.

    The Santa Paula store northwest of Los Angeles features grocery staples as well as a large selection of produce, fresh meat, baked goods and ready-to-eat hot food options. A liquor department is also a part of the new location.

    “We are very excited to open The Market by Superior and to join the community of Santa Paula,” said Superior’s President Richard Wardwell. “We are honored to serve the neighborhood with a great shopping experience as they have welcomed us with open arms.”

    Founded in 1981, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based Superior Grocers is one of the largest independently-owned grocery chains in Southern California. 

  • 9/15/2022

    Indies Urge Congress to Back Credit Card Reform

    Paying With Credit Card Teaser

    Almost 1,000 independent grocers joined in a letter encouraging Congress to support bipartisan legislation that would bring much-needed competition to the market for credit card routing. Sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Roger Marshall, R-Kans., the Credit Card Competition Act would permit merchants to choose between two unaffiliated networks to process credit card transactions.

    “The letter represents a resounding call from the independent supermarket industry that credit card reforms are long past due. For many of our members, the fees associated with accepting credit cards is one of the highest costs of doing business,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Grocers Association (NGA), which represents the independent sector of the grocery industry. “In addition to the direct impact these ‘swipe fees’ have on independent grocers’ operations, they also drive up the costs of food and other goods at a time when Americans are already reeling from a level of inflation not seen in a generation.”

    “The Credit Card Competition Act would bring much-needed relief to retailers and American consumers by simply requiring that Visa and Mastercard compete with other networks for both merchant and bank business,” noted the letter, which was sent to all members of the House and Senate by the Merchants Payments Coalition, of which NGA is a founding member. 

    The signatories to the letter requested that legislators co-sponsor S. 4674, the Credit Card Competition Act, to help improve the likelihood the bill will be considered by Congress and ultimately signed into law. 

  • 9/15/2022

    Kroger Expanding Use of PackIt Totes in E-Commerce

    PackIt Totes Kroger Teaser

    The Kroger Co. has expanded its collaboration with PackIt, a brand of New York-based Tenth Avenue Holdings LLC, to new storefronts and  regions of the United States. 

    “After successful pilot programs at multiple storefronts in the Midwest and western United States, the PackIt Fresh Mobile Refrigeration Solution is now being implemented at Kroger stores across Atlanta and Nashville for the first time,” said Melissa Kieling, founder of Agoura Hills, Calif.-based PackIt. “We’re also seeing our solution entering additional stores in California and Arizona. Kroger clearly recognizes the improvement to product freshness and efficiencies gained by deploying our EcoFreeze totes into their retail operations.” 

    Kroger’s Ralphs banner recently launched a program enabling customers to pick up orders in as little as an hour, with PackIt Fresh totes now used at its stores as a single staging vehicle to collect ambient, refrigerated and frozen items. Collapsible, freezable, reusable PackIt Fresh EcoFreeze totes feature PackIt’s patented EcoFreeze Technology: freezable gel built into the walls to keep perishables cold and food-safe for 15 hours.  

    Progressive Grocer reported last year that Boone, Iowa-based Fareway Stores Inc. uses EcoFreeze totes for its curbside pickup service.

    Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Family-owned Fareway, which operates more than 120 stores in seven Midwestern states and employs more than 12,000 associates, is No. 77 on The PG 100.

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