News Briefs

  • 1/31/2023

    Fields Foods Adds to Its St. Louis Presence

    St Louis

    Independent grocer Fields Foods, which specializes in natural and organic products, is opening its fifth store in the St. Louis market. The latest location in the city’s Skinker DeBaliviere neighborhood will welcome shoppers on Feb. 9.

    [Read more: "Rouses Markets to Open 1st Store in Biloxi"]

    The grand opening in a mixed-use development at 299 DeBaliviere Avenue will feature deals, samples and activities. In addition to picking up grocery staples and an array of fresh, locally sourced foods, shoppers can browse a floral and gift department and order chef-prepared meals to enjoy in the in-store café or take home.

    Missouri-based Fields Foods is on a roll. The grocer’s fourth location in the Dogtown neighborhood opened in April 2022 and another site is slated to be unveiled this year in the suburb of Pagedale.

  • 1/31/2023

    Candymaker, Inventor Bob Born Passes Away

    Bob Born

    Just as Easter candy is hitting store shelves, those at Just Born Quality Confections are mourning the loss of the man who engineered the popular Peeps products. Ira “Bob” Born, 98, passed away on Jan. 29.

    A U.S. Navy veteran, Born joined his father, Sam, in the company business in Bethlehem, Pa., after serving in World War II. He designed the machine that automated the production of Peeps, which had previously been made by hand, and invented the Hot Tamales candy by finding a creative way to rework Mike and Ike candies.

    [Read more: "Former Dierbergs EVP Dies at 88"]

    “Bob will be remembered as a tireless and passionate advocate for the candy industry and a wonderful supporter of our community. Bob was our second-generation family member whose dedication was instrumental in Just Born reaching our 100-year milestone. We extend our deepest sympathy to his son, Ross, and the entire family,” said David Shaffer, board chair and co-CEO of Just Born.

    In 2019, Born was on hand at the candy factory when City of Bethlehem proclaimed the first day of the Easter season as “Bob Born Day.” This year, Just Born marks its 100th year in business. The company got its start – and its name – in 1923 when Sam Born launched his candy line and put out a sign declaring “Just Born” to tout its freshness.

  • 1/30/2023

    SpartanNash Appoints New VP of Fuel Center and C-Stores

    SpartanNash Ryan Speakes

    SpartanNash is fueling up for its future with the hiring of Ryan Speakes as VP, fuel center and convenience stores. The gas station and c-store leader is being tapped to help the food solutions company expand that aspect of its business.

    “The c-store market is growing globally, and SpartanNash sees tremendous opportunity to bring new innovations to this segment of our retail business,” explained Tom Swanson, EVP of corporate retail for SpartanNash. 

    [Read more: "SpartanNash Acquires Great Lakes Foods"]

    Speakes comes to the Michigan-headquartered SpartanNash from 7-Eleven, where he most recently served as a market leader. His fuel and c-store background also includes a lengthy tenure at Speedway, where he was promoted from district manager to regional leader of operations. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Tiffin University in Ohio.

    At SpartanNash, Speakes will helm the company’s 37 fuel centers. Most of those stations include a c-store and are located on the same site as a company-owned grocery store.

    Ramped-up efforts in its fuel centers and c-stores comes at a time when SpartanNash is restructuring other parts of its operations. In late 2022, the company announced it will consolidate its 10 banners to four brands over the next two years and combine its food distribution and military businesses under one group.

    SpartanNash’s core businesses include distributing grocery products to independent and chain retailers, its corporate-owned retail stores, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges, as well as fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing. No. 41 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company serves customer locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Djibouti, Korea and Japan. SpartanNash also operates 147 supermarkets and employs 17,500-plus associates. 

  • 1/27/2023

    Registration Open for 2023 Sweets & Snacks Expo

    Sweets & Snacks Expo 2023 Teaser

    Registration is now open for the 2023 Sweets & Snacks Expo, set for May 22-25 at the McCormick Place Convention Center, in Chicago. The annual trade show bills itself as “the best place for attendees to discover brand-new innovations, gain actionable insights, and benefit from unparalleled access to category and retail industry professionals.” 

    [Read more: "Helping Shoppers Rethink Snack Choices"]

    “The Sweets & Snacks Expo is where the best minds in the candy and snack industries gather to share ideas, make deals and be inspired,” said John Downs, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Confectioners Association (NCA), which hosts the show. “These important categories have proven to be incredibly resilient through challenging times, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring people together in person to propel the candy and snack industries into the future.”

    The expo offers opportunities for more than 16,000 attendees across the candy and snack industries, with the 2023 edition featuring a wide array of educational programming such as data insights and trend tracking. Also returning this year is the Supplier Showcase, a marketplace dedicated to helping suppliers to the confectionery and snack industries spotlight the ingredients, machinery, packaging and other services that help manufacturers address evolving consumer needs and desires, in addition to Startup Street, a curated showcase of the newest candy and snack business owners. 

  • 1/27/2023

    Restaurant Vet Joins The Fresh Market

    nathan baldwin

    The Fresh Market, Inc. has named Nathan Baldwin as its VP of merchandising and foodservice. The move comes at a time when the grocer is expanding its foodservice business and offerings, including a series of budget-friendly Little Big Meals that can feed a family of four. 

    Baldwin brings an extensive foodservice background to his new role in the grocery sector, thanks to a 20-year tenure at Chili’s Bar & Grill. There, he worked his way up from a restaurant manager position to several corporate roles; prior to joining The Fresh Market, he served as the restaurant chain’s VP of restaurant services. He earned a degree in restaurant and hotel management from The University of New Mexico.

    [Read now: "How S-Commerce Is Driving Growth at The Fresh Market"]

    At The Fresh Market, he reports to Chief Merchandising Officer Dan Portnoy. Baldwin’s responsibilities include leading all aspects of the grocer’s kitchens, spanning the functions of design, workflow, operations, product selection, merchandising and profit and loss accountability.

    “Nathan brings a wealth of experience in the restaurant industry to The Fresh Market, which will be key in helping us grow our store concept moving forward,” said Portnoy. “We look forward his contributions in the years to come.”

    Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market, operating 159 stores in 22 states, is No. 78 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

  • 1/26/2023

    Foxtrot Widens Footprint in D.C. Area

    Foxtrot interior

    The contemporary convenience chain Foxtrot is continuing to grow its presence in Washington, D.C. The retailer is opening its latest location on Jan. 31 at 888 17th Street NW in the Farragut Square neighborhood, shortly after unveiling a store in Arlington, Va.

    Befitting its surroundings, the Farragut Square location is designed to meet the needs of nearby office workers and residents. The site includes a space for lunch meetings and coffee and snack breaks and features an array of chef-made salads, bowls and meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner served in the in-store café and available in the grab-and-go case. The grocery assortment includes 150 local products from more than 50 local makers, according to the company. 

    As with other Foxtrot stores, ready-made selections and convenient products are complemented by a strong e-commerce business via the retailer’s native app. Delivery is available in as little as 30 minutes and pickup is ready in as little as five minutes.

    Foxtrot has also become known in its markets for in-store events and experiences, including happy hours and pizza and wine nights. The Farragut Square store will get the party started with a grand opening celebration on Jan. 31 from 4 to 7 p.m., featuring live music, food, drinks and Foxtrot swag. Store visitors who download and use the Foxtrot App during opening week will receive a gift while supplies last. 

    Foxtrot operates six other locations in the area. In total, there are 24 Foxtrot stores in the U.S., including Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C., with more in the works for 2023. 

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