News Briefs


Rouses Brings Back Store Nutrition Tours

Rouses nutrition tour

Following a COVID-19 hiatus, Rouses Market is resuming its grocery store tours with a local medical center. The Louisiana grocer and Baton Rouge General (BRG) had offered the tours in past years to help consumers learn how to make healthy food choices.

During the free events at locations in Baton Rouge, Denham Springs and Zachary, La., the medical center’s dietitians will lead participants around the store – mostly traversing the fresh perimeter – to teach them how to read nutrition labels. Customers can also get advice on planning for meals, creating shopping lists and making nutritious recipes. 

“We put our in-person grocery store tours on hold during COVID, so we’re happy to be back engaging with the community as life gets more back to normal,” said Kristin West, a registered dietitian at BRG. “For some people this may come easily, but many are overwhelmed at all the options and ‘dos and don’ts’ of healthy eating, often making poor choices as a result.”

Other in-person wellness-related tours and classes are resuming at Rouses stores. The grocer is set to host an Eat Right Flavor Fest in late April, featuring nutrition information, samples and an appearance by the “Jambalaya Girl of New Orleans.” Virtual classes remain on the schedule as well, including recipe demos.

Thibodaux, La.-based Rouses Markets employs approximately 7,000 people and operates 65 full-service supermarkets in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The company was named among the "Super Regionals Worth Watching in 2021" by Progressive Grocer and is No. 84 on The PG 100, PG’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. 


Top Wegmans Exec Retires

Marty Gardner

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. announced the pending retirement of Marty Gardner, SVP of merchandising, distribution, manufacturing, food safety and pharmacy. He spent more than 40 years with the New York-based retailer, moving up from a night manager to a series of high-profile SVP roles.

Gardner joined the company in 1982, working at the Lyell Avenue store in Rochester. He went on to hold key positions in merchandising over the span of 19 years and was credited with simplifying processes, creating opportunities for employee development and helping launch the W-Retail program that brings new products to shelves faster, among other accomplishments.

For his part, Gardner explained that his merchandising philosophy has been based on a balance of factors. “It’s important to respect the discipline and the process,” he said. “But the best efforts, and the biggest results, come from following your heart and your instinct, especially in instances where you do not have all the data.”

Colleen Wegman, president and CEO of Wegmans, lauded Gardner's contributions to the grocer over the past decades. “Marty has made a significant impact through his passion for excellence across every area of our company. He cares deeply about helping all of us be our best and inspires a strong sense of responsibility, ensuring we’ve thought everything through and are doing the right thing,” she declared.

Gardner officially steps down in May.

Family-owned Wegmans operates over 100 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is No. 35 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top retailers of food and consumables in North America


County Market’s Weekly Ad Circular Goes Virtual

County Market Sets the Bar for Engaged Rewards Programs

Niemann Foods’ County Market has successfully implemented virtual ad circulars with the help of Iselin, N.J.-based Birdzi, the supermarket industry’s customer engagement ecosystem.

To reduce printing costs and increase shopper engagement, County Market wanted to quickly pivot from paper Penny Pincher coupons to a more profitable, personal digital format, so it turned to its long-standing partner Birdzi, the host of the retailer’s mobile app. A month after implementation, the regional grocer witnessed a 400% increase in digital coupon redemption rates and a 300% increase in digitally engaged shoppers, including those who had previously resisted a transition away from paper.

The new Penny Pinchers format uses Birdzi’s solutions to highlight relevant offers for each shopper in the County Market app. When clipped, these coupons are automatically added to their customer profile and easily activated at checkout. Unlike paper circulars, the success of the digital Penny Pinchers campaigns is monitored in real time via Birdzi’s dashboards, allowing County Market to be more strategic and adaptable.

In just one month, the results of the switch to digital included:

• A more than 300% increase in the number of digitally engaged customers compared with the previous highest number of digitally engaged customers.
• A 500% increase in monthly app downloads and web registrations.
• 80% of shoppers who clipped and activated an offer redeemed it with a purchase.
• A 45% overall redemption rate for the digital coupons, a 400% increase compared with previous digital coupon redemption rates.

In September 2021, County Market also partnered with tcc to increase same-store sales and drive long-term loyalty by combining its personalized rewards program with digital games to drive shopper engagement.

Quincy, Ill.-based Niemann Foods operates 39 County Market supermarkets in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri.


Wakefern, ShopRite Associates Garner 2022 YWCA TWIN Awards

Wakefern ShopRite 2022 TWIN Awards Teaser

Retailer cooperative Wakefern Food Corp., the logistics, merchandising and distribution arm for ShopRite stores, has revealed that several associates in its corporate and retail organizations have received the 2022 YWCA Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) Award.

Winners this year from Wakefern and ShopRite were (left to right in photo) Wakefern’s Jami Espinosa, category manager, produce, Cooper City, Fla., and Maxine Nigro, pharmacy systems and support supervisor, Gillette, N.J., and ShopRite’s Jessica Valentino,controller for Cherry Hill, N.J.-based Ravitz Family Markets, and Amanda Fischer, marketing, business development and outreach manager for Springfield, N.J.-based Village Super Market.

The YWCA TWIN Award recognizes the achievements and significant contributions made by women within their industries in managerial, executive, supervisory and/or professional roles, and is hosted by the YWCA Union County, a Kenilworth, N.J.-based nonprofit organization. The awards also honor businesses whose policies and practices encourage high achievement by women and that promote equal advancement opportunities for women of diverse backgrounds. The virtual awards ceremony will be livestreamed on May 6.

The largest retailer-owned grocery cooperative in the United States. Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern comprises nearly 50 members that independently own and operate 363 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people. The company is No. 23 on The PG100, Progressive Grocer’s2021 listing of North America’s top food and consumables retailers in North America. ShopRite, a registered trademark of Wakefern, has nearly 280 ShopRite supermarkets located throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland, serving millions of customers each week.


Stater Bros. Teams With Major League Soccer to Give Out Prizes on Live TV

Stater Bros. LAFC Teaser

Stater Bros. Markets is partnering with the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) and rising LAFC star Christian Torres during the 2022 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

Under the partnership, signage with Stater Bros. Markets stores will appear throughout LAFC’s home, the Banc of California Stadium, and Christian Torres will star in a commercial during local broadcasts. LAFC merchandise and Stater Bros. gift cards will be given out to customers through two four-week in-store promotions, and three prizes will be awarded during live broadcasts.

“In Christian, we’ve found someone that works hard every day, is humble and embodies the kind of team spirit that we embrace here at Stater Bros.,” said Dennis McIntyre, EVP and chief marketing officer at Stater Bros. “LAFC has challenged the status quo in MLS by competing at the highest level and has proven to be a valuable contributor to our Southern California community.”

LAFC and Torres will be featured in in-store products and other collateral supporting the promotions.

San Bernardino, Calif.-based Stater Bros. operates more than 170 supermarkets in seven Southern California counties and employs about 18,000 associates. The company is No. 54 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Meijer Expects Large Turnout for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Meijer Pharmacy_teaser

Meijer pharmacies will participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 30, and expects to collect 3 tons of medication across its footprint. Customers are encouraged to bring back and properly dispose of unused and potentially harmful prescription drugs.

"It's easy to forget about clearing out medicine cabinets, especially with the challenges we've all faced over the past few years. The Meijer Drug Take-Back Program helps our customers remove the risk of an unforeseen medication accident and helps keep medications out of our waterways and environment, by providing a secure place to dispose of them," said Jackie Morse, VP of Meijer Pharmacy. "It adds a convenience to one-stop shopping and is the best way to dispose of unused, unwanted and expired medications."

The retailer does collect unused or expired medications at kiosks near its pharmacies year round, and over the course of 2021, took in more than 30 tons. The program accepts opioids, controlled substances and over-the-counter medications, but cannot accept needles, inhalers, mercury thermometers, medications that contain iodine or illicit drugs.

Pharmacists properly document, transport and dispose of medications on a regular basis, and the program complies with the safety guidelines established by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and HIPAA privacy laws.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 258 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 18 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.