Advertisement

News Briefs

06/21/2022

Kroger, Unique Logistics Int’l Agree to 12-Month Contract

Image
Kroger Sign Teaser

The Kroger Co. and Unique Logistics International Inc., a global logistics and freight-forwarding company, have agreed to a 12-month-long ocean freight contract as Kroger becomes a new customer of the company.

The services provided by Unique Logistics are managed by its network of trained employees and integrated information systems enabling customers like Kroger to share data regarding their international vendors and purchase orders and information under their operating instructions, provide visibility to the flow of goods from factory to distribution center or store, and update their inventory records.

“This is an exciting new partnership for Unique Logistics,” said Sunandan Ray, CEO of the Jamaica, N.Y.-based company. “Serving the retail industry is our company’s strength, and our team looks forward to working with Kroger to solve problems and provide innovative solutions to strengthen Kroger’s supply chain performance.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Unique Logistics will serve as an ocean transport and logistics provider for Kroger from the Asia-Pacific region to North America through April 2023. The contract agreement came after Kroger revealed the expansion of its presence and delivery network in south Florida and central Ohio with the addition of state-of-the-art Ocado-powered fulfillment centers in those regions. 

Kroger also had a strong first-quarter earnings report, in which the grocer noted that it was rolling out its Boost membership program offering customers fuel points on every dollar spent, extra savings on Kroger’s private brands, and free two-hour or next-day delivery. The grocer additionally launched a farmers market in Atlanta with partner Market Wagon, offering delivery-only items such as fresh produce and artisan-style offerings from nearby farmers, bakers and food entrepreneurs.

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.

Advertisement
06/21/2022

Gristedes & D’Agostino Supermarkets Gets New President/COO

Image
Joe Parisi Teaser

Joe Parisi has been appointed president and COO of Gristedes & D’Agostino Supermarkets, Manhattan’s largest supermarket chain, with 30 stores. Parisi officially assumed the role on June 14.

Bringing to his latest position four decades of experience in the food and grocery industry, Parisi joined Gristedes & D’Agostino in 2021 after more than three decades with Kings Food Markets Inc./Balducci’s KB US Holdings Cos. Until last year, Parisi was COO and board member at Parsippany, N.J.-based Kings, overseeing 33 high-end supermarkets in four states.  

“His passion for the food industry is remarkable and will take the supermarket industry into the 21st century,” said John Catsmiatidis, chairman/CEO of New York-based Red Apple Group, parent company of Gristedes & D’Agostino, of Parisi. “He has a great vision for the 132-year-old Gristedes and 90-year-old D’Agostino, and we are confident that his leadership will bring our stores to new heights.” 

Parisi lives with his wife, Gina, and three children in Rockaway, N.J. 

06/17/2022

CVS Health Names Chief Strategy Officer

Image
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.

Advertisement
06/17/2022

Natural Grocers Provides Free Drinking Water to Flood-Ravaged Communities

Image
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.

06/17/2022

Weavers Way Receives Full Grant Funding Via 2021 HFFI Program

Image
Weavers Way Co-op Ambler Store Teaser

Weavers Way Co-op has received $200,000 of financial assistance through the 2021 America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative’s (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program.

The Philadelphia-based cooperative grocer was among 134 grantees. Awardees were selected through a competitive process and will receive full grant funding through Reinvestment Fund, which administers the HFFI program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The 2021 HFFI program offered financial assistance in the form of one-time grants to food retailers and food enterprises aimed to strengthen, expand and innovate within the food retail supply chain. The public-private partnership aims to provide capacity-building and financing resources to stimulate food business development at scale and build a more equitable food system that supports the health and economic vibrancy of all Americans. 

“It takes a fair amount of logistics and financing to open a cooperative grocery store, with concern for, and involvement from, the communities we serve being a major cornerstone of our cooperative principles,” said Jon Roesser, general manager at Weavers Way.

The funding will be used to support the planning and building of Weavers Way Co-Op’s forthcoming location at 328 West Chelten Avenue at the corner of Chelten and Morris in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, which is slated to open in 2023. The Germantown store will be the co-op’s fourth grocery store in the City of Brotherly Love. 

One of the largest Philadelphia-based food cooperatives, Weavers Way operates two Philadelphia vegetable farms in addition to its stores. The co-op offers reasonably priced, high-quality products, geared to each community in which it operates, that are local, sustainable, organic, fair trade and healthful. It subscribes to International Co-op Principles and operates as a triple bottom-line business.

06/16/2022

Group of Trader Joe’s Workers Seeks to Unionize

Image
TJ worker teaser

In a first for that retailer, Trader’s Joe's is facing an organized labor push. Workers at a Trader Joe’s store in Hadley, Mass., recently filed a union petition, according to media reports.

CBS News shared that more than 30% of that store’s 88 non-management employees have signed cards required by the National Labor Relations Board for a union vote. Workers who have spoken to the media claim that the company has made changes to their benefits, including a downsizing of annual retirement contributions and a greater minimum number of hours for health insurance. They also cited concerns about health and safety measures currently in place.

This would be the first unionized store at Trader Joe’s, which has a worker roll of about 10,000 people across the U.S.

When asked to comment on the move to unionize at one of its stores, a spokesperson for the grocer told The New York Times that Trader Joe’s welcomes a fair vote and is ready to hold a vote if more than 30% of the team elects to make that move. "We are not interested in delaying the process in any way,” the spokesperson said.

In the wake of the pandemic that deemed them essential workers, staffers at other retail outposts have recently banded together to start unions, including some at Starbucks, Apple Stores and Amazon warehouses.

With more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America