News Briefs


Harmons Expands Custom Greeting Card Offerings


As it marks its 90th anniversary, Harmons Neighborhood Grocer is leveraging e-commerce technologies to keep it close to home for shoppers. The Utah-based family-owned independent grocer is teaming up with Card Isle to offer personalized greeting cards.

Through this e-commerce platform, Harmons eShop customers can choose, personalize and have a premium physical greeting card added to their pickup or delivery order. Harmons has expanded a two-store pilot program with Card Isle to all of its 17 locations.

The partnership allows the indie grocer to offer a better option for custom greeting cards and provide a point of differentiation. “Effectively merchandising physical cards online has traditionally been a challenge at Harmons. The Card Isle solution has made it possible to provide a phenomenal experience for our eShop customers over the Mother’s Day holiday,” reported Jessie Hansen, Harmons’ eShop merchandiser.

Adam Donato, Card Isle’s CEO, said that the recent holidays of Mother's Day and Father’s Day underscored demand for such a service, as the platform continues to expand in the grocery sector. “We are excited to add Harmons as a customer. Harmons is the premier neighborhood grocer in Utah and we are excited about offering our unique personalized, print on demand greeting cards to their customers,” he remarked.


The Fresh Market Kicks Off July With 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Fresh Market Kicks Off July With 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Fresh Market Inc. (TFM) will commemorate its 40th anniversary beginning on July 1 with an array of special deals, a 4th of July meal and exclusive products for its customers – including a chance to win a golden ticket.

The retailer is selling a curated collection of exclusive items created in partnership with its vendors that can only be found at The Fresh Market for a limited time. Those include:

Special Anniversary Wine: Exit 96 Anniversary Edition
Special Anniversary Ruby Red Bouquet
• Poppy Hand-Crafted Pimento Cheese Honey Butter Popcorn
Homestead Raspberry Lemonade
TFM Celebration Crunch Snack Mix
Anniversary Elevated Bacon Cheddar Burger
Le Fermier Lavender Yogurt
Killer Brownie Cookies and Cream Special Edition

A complete list of anniversary products, including recipes and a history of the company, can be found in The Fresh Market Magazine’s July edition.

“Our goal at The Fresh Market is to make every season special for our guests, and our 40th anniversary is one we want to make especially memorable!” said CEO Jason Potter. “Our team has curated these one-of-a-kind commemorative products and offers that not only embody the origins of our brand, but more importantly, we know guests will really enjoy.”

Beginning July 5 and while supplies last, The Fresh Market will also introduce two Anniversary Chocolate Bars in Dark Chocolate Himalayan Sea Salt and Toffee Pretzel Sea Salt flavors. Shoppers can win a $40 TFM gift card if their package contains a golden ticket.

The grocer also recently introduced its first loyalty program, the Ultimate Loyalty Experience, which enables customers to save even more on items throughout the store with special loyalty pricing.                                  

Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market operates 160 stores in 22 states. The company is No. 78 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


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

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.


Gristedes & D’Agostino Supermarkets Gets New President/COO

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. 


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.