The Alkaline Water Company has appointed a new CEO. Frank Lazaran, a 40-year veteran of the retail food industry, is stepping into the role held by the outgoing Richard Wright.
This is familiar ground for Lazaran, who has served as a member of the company’s board since 2020 and has an extensive background in scaling organizations, optimizing operations and driving innovation in the retail sector. His grocery industry leadership includes tenures as chairman, CEO and president of Indianapolis, Ind.-based Marsh Supermarkets and as CEO, president and director of Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. In recent years, he has worked as a retail and real estate consultant through his practice, Galazarano Consulting & Investments, and as a senior industry partner for the private equity firm New State Capital Partners.
“We are excited to have Frank join The Alkaline Water Company as the chief executive officer and extremely confident Frank and the team can lead us into the next phase of our growth with Alkaline88. Frank brings over 40 years of strategic execution, operational management, and innovation in the retail sector, as well as capital markets experience that will help continue to accelerate the Company’s top line growth along with bringing a heightened attention towards profitability for the company,” said Aaron Keay, the company’s chairman.
He continued, “On behalf of the board, I want to thank Ricky for his tireless contributions to the growth and success of Alkaline88 over the last decade. Alkaline88 remains one of the fastest growing independent water brands worldwide, and Ricky was a key contributor to the growth of the brand.”
In what might be music to retailers’ ears, an enhanced platform is providing more multimedia messages to shoppers during their in-store experience. Music, media and technology company Stingray Group, Inc. announced that it has integrated the InStore Audio Network into its portfolio and will now be known as Stingray Advertising. Stingray acquired InStore Audio Network earlier this year.
The newly-christened Stingray Advertising will be the largest in-store audio advertising network in North America. According to company information, the network reaches 140 million shoppers each week at more than 20,000 grocery retailers, superstores, discount stores and pharmacies.
Through this integration, Stingray is leveraging new technologies that allow retailers to monetize in-store audio while offering brands a marketing tool to reach shoppers with optimized media. The company's platform also includes licensed background music and digital signage and an AI-driven customer insights tool that enables brands to take informed actions.
Several retailers are already in the network, including Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons Cos., Brookshire Grocery, CVS, Jean Coutu, Metro, Rite Aid, Safeway, Southeastern Grocers, Tops Markets, Walmart Canada and Weis Market, Stingray reports.
“With the recent addition of Walmart Canada into our retail media network plus our use of COMMB and Geopath for proven audience measurement and Hivestack for a versatile programmatic buying solution, we have proven our effectiveness and reliability to our current advertiser base,” remarked Ryan Fuss, SVP of the Montreal-based Stingray Advertising. “Our retail footprint, along with both traditional media buying and programmatic options, positions Stingray Advertising as a top media solution for every brand sold in retail store – as well as non-endemic brands seeking to reach a captive audience of engaged consumers directly in the retail environment.”
A new Publix Super Market store is welcoming shoppers in Yulee, Fla. The latest location opened this week at The Crossings of Wildlight shopping center at 76010 William Burgess Boulevard, an area just north of Jacksonville.
Anchoring a mixed-use development in the master-planned community of Wildlight, the new store features a broad assortment of grocery products and includes a deli, bakery, meat and seafood counter, fresh produce department, floral section, gourmet meats and cheeses, premium wine and beer and pharmacy. Curbside pickup and home delivery powered by Instacart are available.
“We are very excited for the opening of our newest Publix location at the Crossings at Wildlight,” commented Hannah Herring, Publix’s media relations manager. “We look forward to continuing to provide premier service and quality products to new and existing customers in this growing market.”
Added Michael McNaughton, COO at the retail development company Sleiman Enterprises: “We are thrilled for Publix to open at the Crossings at Wildlight. Publix is set to be the foundation for this shopping center creating a vibrant center which will include both needed goods and services for the area along with dining and lifestyle opportunities this community desires.” According to Sleiman Enterprises, more than 10,000 residential units are planned within three miles of the property, underscoring the need for groceries in a growing community.
Festival Foods is heading into summer offering shoppers more options. The Wisconsin-based retailer is preparing to open a new store and is launching a rewards program at a time when inflation-wary consumers are looking for deals.
The new gas rewards program is a partnership between Festival Foods and c-store chain Kwik Trip. Customers earn a penny off fuel purchases at Kwik Trip locations for every $10 spent at Festival Foods. Shoppers can pick up a rewards card at a Festival Foods location and register it online; the cards then can be swiped at a Kwik Trip pump to redeem any savings.
“We’re excited to provide added value to our guests in this new partnership with Kwik Trip, a fellow Wisconsin-based business that, like Festival Foods, is committed to providing the very best value and service to its guests,” said Mark Skogen, CEO at DePere, Wis.-based Festival Foods.
David Jackson, Kwik Trip's digital marketing and loyalty manager, agreed the home state partnership makes sense for the businesses and for their customers. “We’re always looking for ways to bring value to our guests, so when presented the opportunity to partner with another Wisconsin business to do that, it was a no-brainer for us,” Jackson commented.
As Festival Foods provides relief to shoppers at a time of high fuel costs, the company is also widening its footprint to reach a greater audience. The grocer is hiring up to 200 employees for its Hartford, Wis., location, set to open on Aug. 12.
The Hartford store will be the 40th Festival Foods in Wisconsin. The 69,000-square-foot space will feature a drive-thru area for online grocery pickup, in addition to an onsite Caribou coffee and a hot food bar and food court.
Hy-Vee Inc.’s team of dietitians is spotlighting nutrition and healthy recipes for both children and families through a series of events to be held this summer.
A free Hy-Vee KidsFit Summer Bash is slated for select stores on June 4, where children can pick up a Hy-Vee KidsFit Summer Fun Box that includes activities, healthy snacks and other items. Community partners will host various activities during the events and there will also be a dietitian-led taste test station.
The grocer will also host a virtual kids cooking camp intended for children aged between 5 and 12. Camps will be held July 11, 18 and 25 and will go over how to cook with ingredients to boost the flavor and nutrition of many dishes.
A monthly virtual kitchen class will also be held for little chefs and junior chefs. The goal of the class is to help kids become more comfortable and confident in the kitchen and improve their culinary skills via simple, follow-along recipes.
Children aged 4 and up are also invited to participate in virtual store tours that focus on balanced nutrition and include fun movement breaks and interactive food trivia. Finally, several freezer meal workshops will be held in an effort to help families prepare ahead for meals and also save money at the supermarket.
A new Amazon Fresh grocery store opened in Huntington Beach, Calif., on June 2. Located at 6911 Warner Ave., the approximately 35,000-square-foot store marks the 15th Amazon Fresh location in southern California.
The Amazon Fresh has a wide assortment of national brands and high-quality produce, meat and seafood, as well as a range of prepared foods made fresh in store every day — from fresh-baked bread and made-to-order pizzas to rotisserie chickens and hot sandwiches. Also offered are local brands like Pizza Port Brewing, CoolHaus Ice Cream and Rockenwagner Bakery; regional favorites like Duke’s Mayo, Ellenos Yogurt and Boston Chowda; and Amazon-exclusive brands like Aplenty, Cursive and Fresh, including newly announced Fresh Plant-Based products.
The Huntington Beach store also features Just Walk Out shopping, which adds convenience to customers’ shopping experience by giving them the option to skip the checkout line.
To celebrate the Huntington Beach store’s grand opening, it is hosting festivities all weekend long including giveaways, free samples and special discounts on items. Customers can also take advantage of a coupon found in their weekly circular for $10 off an order of $20 or more for shopping trips made at the store until June 18. Customers may use the paper coupon at the Just Walk Out exit or at the traditional checkout.
Amazon Fresh accepts cash, SNAP/EBT, credit or debit card, or customers can use the In-Store QR code in the Amazon app. Customers shopping with Just Walk Out technology can use the In-Store QR code in the Amazon app, Amazon One, or an Amazon-linked credit or debit card to shop.