News Briefs


CVS Health Names Chief Strategy Officer

CVS Health names Violetta Ostafin Chief Strategy Officer

CVS Health has hired Violetta Ostafin as EVP and chief strategy officer, effective July 11. She will lead strategy development across the core businesses and identify new market opportunities and product innovations that accelerate growth and further the company’s vision.

“Violetta’s deep health care experience has been focused on bold innovation and finding new sources of growth, two priorities for CVS Health,” said CVS Health President and CEO Karen S. Lynch. “Her accomplishments are driven by a passion for improving how consumers experience health care, which aligns with our goals and values.”

Ostafin will become a member of the company's executive leadership team and report to Lynch. Prior to joining CVS Health, she was global COO, health solutions, at Aon plc and CEO of Aon’s Latin America Health Solutions business. Ostafin was also a managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group, advising leading companies in the United States and globally on large-scale change, strategic growth and expansion. She has deep experience across the health care continuum, including a particular focus on business model evolution, introducing consumer-driven solutions and operational effectiveness.

“CVS Health has the assets and strategy to meaningfully change how care is delivered,” said Ostafin. “It’s such an exciting time to join a company that has redefined itself through a consumer-centric lens.”

With its CVS Pharmacy subsidiary operating almost 10,000 locations nationwide, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health is No. 7 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Natural Grocers Provides Free Drinking Water to Flood-Ravaged Communities

car flood

As floodwaters have caused millions of dollars in damage in Montana, a grocery operation is stepping up to help. Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. announced that it is providing residents free filtered water from its store in Billings.

The historic floods in the area near the Yellowstone National Park have hit many communities hard, resulting in a lack of fresh drinking water and boil orders. In response, Natural Grocers is offering free water from its reverse osmosis water filtration machines, which disinfects water with UV light.

Customers can bring their own containers to the store to fill up on free water. Due to capacity limitations of the water filtration system, each person is limited to two free gallons.

"We are here to support our community as we navigate this disaster together. Please spread the word to friends and neighbors. We are thankful for your business and hope this can help you and your family during these hard times," said Mat Topham, regional manager for Natural Grocers.

This week's flooding followed a late-season snow melt and a series of heavy rains that pounded the area and led to overflows of several rivers. In addition to extensive home and road damage, the floodwaters caused an evacuation of more than 10,000 Yellowstone visitors.

Lakewood, Colo.-based Natural Grocers is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


SpartanNash Among Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies for 10th Straight Year

SpartanNash Best & Brightest 2022 Teaser

Food solutions company SpartanNash is once more among the 2022 Best and Brightest companies to Work For in the Nation, according to the National Association for Business Resources. This is the 10th consecutive year SpartanNash has been honored for its associate engagement and human resources practices. There were no other grocery companies on this year’s list.

“We are incredibly proud to have been recognized on a national level as a top employer for the past decade,” noted SpartanNash President and CEO Tony Sarsam. “Even through a pandemic, supply chain challenges and inflation shifts, we continue to prioritize People First initiatives and strive to cultivate an environment in which our associates can thrive, not only for themselves, but for their families and our larger communities.”

The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For competition is based on such categories as communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition and retention.

Based in Warren, Mich., the National Association for Business Resources specializes in benchmarking employment standards and has held Best and Brightest competitions for more than two decades.

The 2022 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For list has 139 national winners chosen from 1,100 nominations. SpartanNash has also been recognized as one of West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For since 2013, as well as one of Michigan’s Best and Brightest in Wellness since 2016. 

The company plans to host a National Day of Hiring for various retail and distribution center positions later this summer.

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 also operates 145 supermarkets and employs 17,500 associates. 


Walmart Regularly Raising Wages for Pharmacy Techs

Walmart Pharmacy Tech Teaser

For the second time in the past year, Walmart is making significant investments in higher wages and career progression for its pharmacy technicians, with the aim of creating additional avenues of growth and opportunity for them.

According to a blog post by Kevin Host, SVP, Walmart Health & Wellness, pharmacy, and Sean Jackson, SVP, Sam’s Club GMM, health and wellness/consumables, the retailer is doing the following: 

• Giving raises to current associates: As of this week, the company raised wages for its more than 36,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacy technicians, who will now earn an average hourly wage of more than $20 an hour. Pharmacy techs’ last pay increase was in August 2021.

• Offering more frequent raises: Pharmacy technicians will get more frequent, automatic pay raises as Walmart rolls out a progressive wage model designed to differentiate it from the competition. Pharmacy techs will receive raises every six months in their first two years with the company.

“We believe we are among the first large retailers to incorporate this kind of model – an approach that’s commonly seen in health care systems,” Host and Jackson wrote in the blog post. “This will help associates increase their pay more quickly as they build their careers and continue working at Walmart.”

Additionally, through its Live Better U and related programs, the company covers the costs of becoming certified to be a pharmacy technician, from career diplomas, on-the-job training and test prep, to paying the certification exam fee. Walmart certified technicians can make $3 more per hour than their non-certified peers. 

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Sams Club, a division of Walmart, ranks eighth on the list.


Southeastern Grocers Further Commits to Military Donations

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Southeastern Grocers is doubling down on donations to the military ahead of Independence Day with a Military Monday matching commitment. Each Monday from June 20 to July 4, the SEG Gives Foundation will match weekend in-store donations made to the Folds of Honor community donation program, up to $100,000, or $300,000 total. 

The mission of Folds of Honoris to provide educational scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen and disabled U.S. service members. The organization helps fund private education tuition and tutoring for children in grades K-12, as well as higher education tuition assistance for spouses and dependents.

“At Southeastern Grocers, we are dedicated to supporting the communities we serve, especially those who serve us,” said Raymond Rhee, chief people officer at Southeastern Grocers. "By doubling down on all in-store Folds of Honor donations with a matching commitment, we are paying it forward to the legacies of the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice with their service to our country.”

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers is one of the largest conventional supermarket companies in the United States, with grocery stores, liquor stores and in-store pharmacies serving communities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Its banners include Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores. The company is No. 39 on The PG 100,Progressive Grocer's2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Misfits Market Debuts Loyalty Program

Misfits Markets Box Teaser

Online grocer Misfits Market has launched a customer loyalty program, Misfits Perks, which enables customers to earn points, discounts and gifts on every purchase. Customers enrolled in Misfits Market’s weekly grocery plan are eligible to earn two points for every dollar that they spend on groceries, while those who shop a la carte will earn one point for every dollar spent on groceries. There’s no limit to the number of perks that customers can earn.

As the retailer noted in a blog post describing the new program: “When you become a Misfits Market customer, you’re automatically enrolled in Misfits Perks for free. Already shopping with us? You’re automatically in, too — and you’re eligible to earn points on all future orders.” 

When customers log into their Misfits Market account, they will see which perks they’re eligible for on an upcoming order, based on their points balance. Customers can select from among discounts on an order, a Mini Gift (an everyday item such as a snack or produce item), a Mega Gift (a premium item), or even several gifts at  once. 

When perks are redeemed, they automatically apply to the next order. Customers can redeem points while also using other discounts from promo codes and referrals, enabling shoppers to save even more on grocery orders.

Now available in all of the lower 48 states, Delanco, N.J.-based Misfits Market already sells groceries at up to 40% off traditional grocery store prices. In April, the retailer introduced its first private label line, Odds & Ends, consisting of such pantry staples as coffee, nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate-covered mini pretzels.