Fresh Thyme Market announced some executive changes this week, as 43-year industry veteran Gerald Melville steps down as president. Longtime retail leader Liz Zolcak will succeed the retiring Melville.
Zolcak joined the specialty retailer in 2020 as VP of operations, overseeing the chain’s 71 stores throughout the Midwest. Her grocery leadership experience includes roles as VP of retail operations for The Kroger Co., division president of Ruler Foods and marketing director for Aldi.
"I am thrilled and humbled to take on this exciting new challenge and to be trusted to lead such an incredible team," Zolcak said. "Gerald and I have been able to accomplish significant wins with the team during our time working together, and I'm looking forward to even more successes ahead."
Echoed Melville: "My tenure at Fresh Thyme Market has been challenging and exciting. As I move on to my next phase, I'm very confident Fresh Thyme Market is poised for continued success as I hand the baton to Liz."
Melville is wrapping up a notable career in food retailing. Before taking the helm at Fresh Thyme in 2019, he worked as a regional VP at Michigan-headquartered Meijer for nearly a decade. He also held leadership positions with Albertsons Cos. and Supervalu, where he was responsible for functions including store operations, customer service, labor and food safety, among others.
Fresh Thyme continues to expand its presence across its footprint. In late 2021, the grocer opened a new concept store at City Foundry in St. Louis, featuring local, natural, organic food, a full-service café and a self-checkout model.
Giant Food is taking a more direct route in its farm-to-table offerings, reintroducing local produce boxes in time for summer harvests. The boxes are filled with variety of locally sourced, in-season produce and are available through the Giant Delivers service.
Shoppers don’t need to subscribe to order the boxes, which retail for $20 and will be available through the end of growing season in September. Several local farms are providing this year’s crop of fresh produce, including Baugher's Orchards and Houser Produce Farm of Maryland, Papen Farms and Fifer Orchards of Delaware, and Kirby Farms of Virginia.
This is the second year that Giant Food has offered the boxes, which align with the retailer’s goals to enhance food traceability and transparency and make locally sourced, healthy foods accessible to customers.
"Giant's first summer of offering the local produce boxes was a huge success and our customers loved knowing that their produce was sourced locally by the best farms around our area," said Adenike Olaleye, senior manager of e-commerce merchandising. "We're working with more farmers this year to offer an even wider range of produce options that will keep our customers pleased week after week."
Customers can also save $5 on Giant Delivers Local Meal Bundles, curated recipes that allow shoppers to buy all ingredients in one click. In addition, from July 8 to Sept. 8, Giant shoppers can earn 400 Flexible Rewards points when they spend at least $20 on participating local products, which can be used towards groceries or fuel.
The latest Tony's Fresh Market in Joliet, Ill., is now open following a grand opening on June 29. The retailer rehabbed a long-vacant former Kmart location at 1801 W. Jefferson Street into a 70,000-square-foot grocery store.
This is the 19th Tony’s Fresh Market in Chicagoland and the first in Joliet, a large city about 30 miles southeast of Chicago. As with other Tony’s locations, the newest one features a hot bar, salad bar, sushi station, deli, bakery, expansive meat department, fish counter, sizable produce section and a wide range of center-store items.
Open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the Joliet store is celebrating its grand opening over the next week or so with giveaways and demonstrations.
Tony’s was founded in 1970 by Italian immigrants Tony Ingraffia and Domenico Gambino. Frank Ingraffia, a member of the founding family, will stay on with the newly merged Tony’s-Cardenas operation as the CEO of the Tony’s chain.
SpartanNash Kicks Off Annual Campaign Supporting Military Service Members
Ahead of the patriotic Fourth of July holiday, SpartanNash is rolling out its annual fundraising campaign that assists military service members, veterans and their families. From now through July 10, shoppers who visit any SpartanNash-owned retail store or fuel center can donate $1, $5, $10 at checkout or round up to the nearest dollar for the cause. Customers can also give online through SpartanNash’s Fast Lane e-commerce platform.
Monies raised from the register campaign will be divided equally between the nonprofit groups Team Red, White and Blue, Operation Homefront and Honor and Remember. These organizations work to support the military community through programs and services like physical and social activities, financial assistance, family services and more.
The food solutions company has close ties to the armed services community through its SpartanNash Military division and distribution of grocery products to U.S. military commissaries and exchanges around the world.
"We see firsthand the sacrifices our servicemen and women — and their families — make to protect our freedoms every day, and this is an impactful and meaningful way we can continue to support our American heroes regardless of where they live or the care they need within the community," said David Sisk, SVP and chief customer officer, who oversees SpartanNash Military.
The SpartanNash community has provided $1.75 million in donations to patriotic causes since 2015. The company also describes itself as a military- and veteran-friendly employer, frequently hiring veterans and military-connected associates.
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based 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 company also operates 145 supermarkets.
“We are very excited to have Mike and Peter join the board. Their appointments were unanimous both with our board and ESOP trustee,” said Dan Shanahan, chairman of Buehler’s. “Mike and Peter have been instrumental in the success Buehler’s has had since the company went through a management buyout and formed an ESOP in 2017. We look forward to their involvement on the board”.
With Buehler’s since 2016, Davidson has held the positions of EVP of store operations and EVP of sales and marketing, and is currently president and CEO. Previous to joining Buehler’s, he worked for Price Chopper Supermarkets, of Schenectady, N.Y., in several roles, including SVP of store operations. Davidson also worked with the Finast and Tops chains in a number of executive roles.
“I am honored to become a member of the Buehler’s Fresh Foods board and look forward to working with the board members to further the success of our organization,” said Davidson, who resides in Buehler’s hometown of Wooster, Ohio, with his wife, Joanna.
Before joining Buehler’s in 2017 as CFO, O’Donnell was with SpartanNash as the VP of finance and merger integration. Pre-merger, he was the chief accounting officer/controller for Nash Finch. O’Donnell also held executive accounting and finance roles with Shopko Stores and Borders. He resides in Wooster with his wife, Carolyn.
Buehler’s Fresh Foods was founded in 1929 by E.L. Buehler and his wife, Helen. In 2017, Buehler’s went through a management buyout while forming an employee stock ownership plan. The company currently operates 14 supermarkets, eight liquor agencies, outside catering, coﬀee shops and a food truck named Ferris.
Walgreens Decides to Retain Ownership of Boots Business
Concluding its strategic review that began in January, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) has decided to keep its U.K. health and beauty retailer Boots as well as the No7 Beauty Co. under its existing ownership.
WBA has been encouraged by productive discussions held with a range of parties, receiving significant interest from prospective buyers. Since launching the process, however, global financial markets have suffered unexpected and dramatic change. As a result of market instability severely affecting financing availability, the company felt that no third parties have been able to make an offer that adequately reflects the potential value of the two businesses. Consequently, WBA has decided that it's in the best interests of shareholders to keep focusing on the further growth and profitability of Boots and No7 Beauty.
The decision to retain the businesses has also been supported by the ongoing strong performance and growth of Boots and No7 Beauty, which have exceeded expectations despite challenging conditions.
CEO Rosalind Brewer said: “We have now completed a thorough review of Boots and No7 Beauty Co., with the outcome reflecting rapidly evolving and challenging financial market conditions beyond our control. It is an exciting time for these businesses, which are uniquely positioned to continue to capture future opportunities presented by the growing health care and beauty markets. The board and I remain confident that Boots and No7 Beauty Co. hold strong fundamental value, and longer term, we will stay open to all opportunities to maximize shareholder value for these businesses and across our company.”