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News Briefs

04/08/2022

Pop Up Grocer Arriving in D.C.

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Pop Up Grocer Teaser

Experience-first grocery store Pop Up Grocer will come to Washington, D.C., this spring. 

From May 6 through June 5, the retailer will host in-person shopping at the city’s Union Market, on 1262 5th Street NE, with more than 120 emerging brands and 400 better-for-you products to discover and experience. Among the offerings, spanning food, beverages and personal care, will be nationally available and direct-to-consumer brands such as Bonbuz, Opopop and Nowadays, as well as local suppliers like District Snacks, Amazi and Phil’s Finest.

“We’re excited to return to the East Coast and to open in the Union Market District, specifically,” said Emily Schildt, founder of New York-based Pop Up Grocer, which, since it began in 2019, has also set up temporary operations in the Big Apple; Chicago; Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; and Miami. “Anchored by what is arguably the culinary destination in D.C., the neighborhood is alive with creativity. D.C.’s food scene has become a national treasure. Over the past decade, there’s been a wave of risk-taking chefs opening new concepts, alongside tenured fine dining and real-deal ethnic restaurants. It’s an honor to contribute to D.C.’s innovative spirit, if only for a brief period of time.” 

The temporary store will be open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Last December, the roving grocery business tracked trends on the horizon and in the rear-view mirror in its “2022 Food Trend Report.” 

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04/08/2022

Natural Grocers Shows Ladybugs Some Love

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Natural Grocers Shows Ladybugs Some Love

In a nod to the waning bug population, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. has rolled out its fifth annual Ladybug Love campaign. The retailer is partnering with nonprofit organization Beyond Pesticides to spread the word about protecting the insects that are vital to the stability of the food supply and the necessary transition to nontoxic pesticide use.

Natural Grocers is aiming to raise $25,000 with Beyond Pesticides throughout the month of April to benefit the Organic Parks Project. The organizations are asking shoppers to pledge not to use pesticides that harm ladybugs at home while also supporting 100% organic produce.

The grocer will donate $1 to Beyond Pesticides for each Ladybug Love pledge signed, and donate $2 for each Ladybug Zip Pouch purchase. Shoppers will also have the opportunity to donate $1, $5 or $10 to Beyond Pesticides during checkout at all 161 store locations.

A series of discounts, sweepstakes and educational opportunities will also accompany the campaign.

With over 160 stores in 20 states, Lakewood, Colo.-based Natural Grocers is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2021list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

04/07/2022

GrubMarket Acquires Regatta Tropicals

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Grubmarket Logo Teaser

GrubMarket has acquired Regatta Tropicals, a fresh produce provider that distributes, packs, imports and exports fruits to retail and foodservice customers across the United States and Canada. The full-service produce distribution and wholesale business currently operates in New Jersey and California, and is known as a top U.S. supplier of kiwifruit, persimmons and figs. It also provides shipping, repacking and restyling services.

As a part of GrubMarket's portfolio, Regatta Tropicals will now use the tech company's WholesaleWare, a software-as-a-service platform that provides food industry wholesalers and distributors with financial management, mobile and online ordering features, inventory management, lot traceability and tracking, grower accounting, and automated routing and logistics tools.

"We are excited to join the GrubMarket team and welcome the opportunities brought forth by GrubMarket's robust technology platform and strong e-commerce supply and demand network. We strive to be one of the highest-quality and most reliable fresh fruit distributors for our customers nationwide, and we also seek to further tap into premier grower networks on both the East Coast and West Coast," said Steve Matych, CEO of Vineland, N.J.-based Regatta Tropicals, which will continue to be managed by its current leadership team.

According to Mike Xu, CEO of San Francisco-based GrubMarket: "Steve and the exceptional team at Regatta Tropicals have scaled the company to tens of millions in annual revenues and have built a strong, defensible business through their repacking and marketing capabilities. In addition, they are mission driven with strong clean-label packing and sustainability practices, which matches GrubMarket's goals and missions. This acquisition enables GrubMarket to further strengthen our presence in key markets along both the East and West Coasts, while solidifying our position in the food supply chain industry as a technology-enabler for B2B food players."

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04/07/2022

99 Ranch Market Coming to New York's Long Island

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99 Ranch Market Sign Teaser

Asian grocery store chain 99 Ranch Market will open its first New York location, at the Samanea New York mall in Westbury on Long Island, according to a published report. Scheduled to open April 9, the 45,000-square-foot store is just the second anchor tenant to come to the mall in more than two decades, The Real Deal, a real estate news outlet, reported.

The Real Deal noted that 99 Ranch signed a 15-year lease for the store back in April 2020, but wasn’t able to start construction at the former Circuit City space until January 2021.

“The property at 1500 Country Road recently underwent a $30 million renovation, creating two new main exterior entrances,” the publication reported. “The mall owners hope the latest opening is a sign the mall may be turning its fortunes around.”

Last June, 99 Ranch entered the Phoenix market with a 44,000-square-foot store in Chandler, Ariz. 

Meanwhile, Canadian Asian grocer T&T Supermarkets has revealed plans to open a new Toronto store at CF Fairview Mall by the end of 2022. 

Established in 1984, Buena Park, Calif.-based 99 Ranch operates more than 50 stores in Arizona, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington. The company is No. 86 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. T&T Supermarkets was founded in Vancouver in 1993 and acquired by Loblaw Cos. Ltd. in 2009. Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw Cos., which operates more than 2,400 stores in Canada, is No. 12 on The PG 100.

04/07/2022

Coborn’s Gives Employees Immediate Access to Pay

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Coborn's

Through a partnership with financial services company DailyPay, Midwestern independent grocer Coborn’s, Inc. is allowing its associates to access their pay as soon as they earn it. The on-demand pay benefit is now available to one in eight grocery employees in the U.S., according to DailyPay.

A DailyPay study also found that businesses offering the service can hire up to 52% faster and retain employees 73% longer.

"As recruitment and retention of employees becomes more challenging in today's competitive workplace, the addition of the DailyPay benefit for our employees is an important enhancement to our benefits package,” said Dave Meyer, president and COO for Coborn's.

"We have been very impressed with the adoption rate at which our employees are taking advantage of this new program, which clearly indicates the value of DailyPay as a benefit and that our employees are enjoying and taking advantage of the option to be paid more quickly after working their shift," Meyer said.

St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn's, Inc. is a 100-year-old employee-owned grocery retailer with nearly 9,300 employees and 59 grocery stores across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin – and now, Michigan – under the Coborn’s Case Wine Foods, Marketplace Foods and Hornbacher’s banners. Coborn’s also owns liquor, fuel and pharmacy locations. To support its 130 various retail business units, Coborn’s Inc. operates its own central bakery, dry cleaning facility and grocery distribution center. The company is No. 86 The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

04/07/2022

Kroger Deploys PackIt Fresh Mobile Refrigeration Solution

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Kroger PackIt Fresh Teaser

The Kroger Co. has expanded its partnership with PackIt by collaborating on an operational pilot supporting the grocer’s growing e-commerce network.

When contacted by Progressive Grocer for more details on the pilot, a PackIt spokeswoman replied: “The current program is rolling out across multiple regions, including the midwestern and western U.S., through the spring. We expect to expand to even more locations in the back half of 2022.

“We’re thrilled Kroger has chosen the PackIt Fresh mobile refrigeration solution,” said Melissa Kieling, founder and president of Agoura Hills, Calif.-based PackIt. “Our EcoFreeze totes ensure a mobile, chilled food-safe environment that pickup orders can be directly packed into for fresh, curbside pickup for customers!” 

The PackIt Fresh mobile refrigeration system aims to create efficiencies through each step of online grocery order fulfillment. Collapsible, freezable, reusable PackIt Fresh EcoFreeze totes enable retailers to meet growing storage, pickup and delivery demands. PackIt’s patented EcoFreeze Technology consists of freezable gel built into the walls of every PackIt Fresh tote. This technology keeps perishables cold and food-safe for 15 hours.

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. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.