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News Briefs

  • 4/5/2023

    Rite Aid Expands Relationship With Afterpay

    Rite Aid Chooses Within as Digital Media Agency of Record

    Drug store chain Rite Aid and “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) solution provider Afterpay have expanded their relationship to offer a nationwide flexible payment option allowing consumers to make four interest-free payments at more than 2,000 Rite Aid locations for all household necessities, including health and beauty, baby care, and grocery items. The companies’ partnership was first revealed last May. 

    “Expanding our partnership with Afterpay allows more customers to obtain offerings that support their whole-health needs while providing financial flexibility,” said Justin Mennen, Rite Aid’s EVP, chief digital and technology officer. “We’re consistently leveraging technology to complement the busy lives of our customers and improve the health-and-wellness needs of our communities.” 

    In the United States, Amazon, CVS, Kroger, Target and Walgreens also accept payments via Afterpay. 

    Consumers can shop for popular brands and deals by downloading the Afterpay app on iOS and Android. Melbourne, Australia-based Afterpay, which has a U.S. office in San Francisco, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Block Inc.

    Philadelphia-based Rite Aid operates 2,300-plus retail pharmacy locations across 17 states. The company is No. 21 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Amazon, Kroger, Walgreens, Target and CVS are Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7, respectively, on PG’s list.

  • 4/4/2023

    B&R Stores Names VP - Store Operations

    B&R Stores Nick Kelso Teaser

    B&R Stores Inc., an independent grocer based in Lincoln, Neb., has promoted Nick Kelso to the position of VP - store operations. In his new role, Kelso will oversee the operations of the company’s 33 stores in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Kelso also serves on B&R’s executive committee.

    Bringing more than 23 years of experience at B&R to his latest position, Kelso joined the company as a clerk in Omaha and steadily rose through the ranks. During his time at the grocer, he has held various leadership roles, among them store director and district manager for both the Russ’s Market and Super Saver groups of stores. Kelso has been instrumental in the implementation of such initiatives as computer-assisted ordering, and he played a key role in the successful acquisition of C&R Markets in Missouri.

    [Read more: "Foxtrot Elevates Liz Williams to CEO"]

    “I am deeply honored and grateful for this opportunity to serve as VP - store operations for the company,” said Kelso. “I am committed to upholding B&R Stores’ values and leading our extraordinary team of employees to deliver exceptional experiences for our customers.”

    “I am proud to say Nick is fully qualified to take on additional leadership responsibilities for the company,” added B&R President Mark Griffin. “As the embodiment of a servant leader, Nick knows in his heart, it is the company's people who matter the most. Nick is a true motivator of people who inspires those he leads to perform at their best.”

    Founded in 1964 by Russ and Anita Raybould, family-owned B&R has grown to consist of several supermarket banners: Russ’s Market, Super Saver, Apple Market, Allen’s, Cash Saver, C&R Markets, and Joe’s Market. The company operates in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.

  • 4/5/2023

    Kroger Making Major Contributions This Earth Day

    Kroger teaser 2

    The Kroger Co. is synching up with Mother Nature as it celebrates Earth Day for the entire month of April. The grocer’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is making contributions to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Arbor Day Foundation, and also supporting efforts to increase tree canopies in communities impacted by extreme weather.

    Through April 30, customers can round up their purchases at checkout to benefit WWF, with the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation matching those donations up to $50,000. All donations made during the month of April will go directly to WWF, benefitting its conservation and sustainability efforts around the globe.

    [Read more: "How Kroger Is Using Technology to Enhance the Customer, Associate Experience"]

    "At Kroger, we support healthy, thriving communities during Earth Month and every day through our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste impact plan," said Keith Dailey, group VP of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer. "We are proud to join forces with WWF and the Arbor Day Foundation to celebrate Earth Month with our communities and advance our shared mission to protect our planet for generations to come."

    A $50,000 contribution to the Arbor Day Foundation will support the distribution of hundreds of trees in both Shreveport, La., and Bowling Green, Ky., which were each recently struck by natural disasters. Expanding the tree canopy in those areas will help combat impacts from events such as hurricanes and flooding.

    Serving 11 million customers daily through a digital shopping experience and 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.

  • 4/5/2023

    Weee! Bolsters Board With Addition of Finance Exec

    Weee board member

    Ethnic online grocer Weee! has seated finance pro Mark Lawrence on its board of directors. Lawrence currently serves as CFO for Nu Skin Enterprises and previously worked as head of finance for Amazon’s Lab126, where he helped launch several Amazon devices. Over the course of his career, he has also held leadership positions at 3Com, Brocade, Polycom and Vivint Smart Home. Lawrence earned an MBA from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University.

    [Read more: "How E-Grocers Are Setting the Pace of Change in Grocery"]

    Weee! CEO Larry Liu said the move will strengthen the e-grocer’s operation as it offers experiences and products spanning a range of cultures. "Weee! is on a growth trajectory, as the demand for ethnic food increases, driven by ethnic communities as well as Americans' growing interest in Asian and Latino cuisines. I am thrilled to welcome Mark to the Weee! board as his combination of critical financial skills and broader expertise will help accelerate Weee!'s growth and commitment to operational excellence,” Liu remarked.

    Added Lawrence: "I am pleased to join Weee! at an important time in the history of the company. I look forward to helping propel the Weee! brand in its next phase of growth and market penetration." 

  • 4/5/2023

    Facilio Debuts Connected Refrigeration Solution

    Facilio Teaser

    Proptech company Facilio, which offers a suite of smart-buildings software, has now rolled out a cloud-based supervisory control platform that enables remote monitoring and optimization of refrigeration systems. According to the New York-based company, its Connected Refrigeration Solution delivers up to 20% in energy cost savings for multi-site food retailers, including grocery, convenience store and supermarket operators.

    “Our Connected Refrigeration solution helps retailers take control of their refrigeration systems, providing real-time visibility into the performance of their assets across all sites, enabling them to make informed decisions and reduce costs,” said Facilio co-founder and CPO Raj Subramanian. 

    [Read more: "How to Renovate Stores on a Budget"]

    The retail, foodservice and grocery sectors spend more than $41 billion on energy annually, representing 14 billion square feet of floor space in the U.S. alone. Food cooling and refrigeration account for more than 50% of a store’s energy costs. 

    Among the early adopters of the Connected Refrigeration Solution is one of the “big four” supermarket chains in the U.K., for which Facilio has delivered 16% in energy cost savings and eliminated the cost of undetected refrigerant leaks within weeks of deploying the software.

    Facilio has also teamed up with IoT solutions provider Tutenlabs to drive value for more than 10,000 retail sites across the U.S.

    “Our customers deserve the best,” said Roi Amszynowski, CEO of Santiago, Chile-based Tutenlabs. “By joining forces with Facilio, we are confident that we will keep generating more value and savings for all of our stakeholders.”

  • 4/4/2023

    KeHE Reveals 15 2023 TRENDfinder Winners

    Anaheim Convention Center Teaser

    Natural and organic, specialty, and fresh product distributor KeHE has named the 15 winners of its 2023 TRENDfinder event, which took place live  last month during Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center (pictured), in California.

    “A key focus at KeHE is to support small and emerging brands in getting their start and helping them flourish in the marketplace,” said Rachelle Radcliffe, senior director of supplier experience at Naperville, Ill.-based KeHE Distributors LLC. “One way we do that is through KeHE TRENDfinder events, providing brands with the opportunities to be in front of the right people at the right time and kickstarting connections with our extensive KeHE marketplace network.” 

    [Read more: "KeHE Distributors, Rodale Institute Form Exclusive Partnership"]

    The event gave 50 suppliers the chance to join one-on-one pitch meetings with KeHE’s category management team, with the winners selected to be added to the distributor’s robust assortment. Brands were chosen based on their ingredients, innovation, taste, scalability, packaging, purpose and passion.

    The 15 “Golden Ticket” winners are Resist Nutrition, The Plug Drink, CorEats Mixes, Egmont Manuka Honey, Eve Wellness, Green Boy, Clean Juice, Naturli’, Almondy, VGAN Chocolate, Melati Drinks, Bear Bar, Wild Orchard, FITPPL and EVERBLUE.

    By joining KeHE’s product portfolio, these brands will gain exposure to 30,000-plus retail locations and support the distributor’s retail partners in bringing innovation to their customers. Along with helping the selected brands navigate the distribution process, KeHE will provide supplier promotional programs free of charge to the 15 “Golden Ticket” recipients.

    The next KeHE TRENDfinder event will take place virtually May 1-12. Brands not set up at KeHE can apply to participate in the upcoming event.

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