In celebration of the fresh corn season, The Save Mart Cos. is rolling out Five Star Super Sweet corn at its Save Mart and Lucky stores. The corn, grown exclusively for the retailer by Simoni and Massoni Farms in Brentwood, Calif., will be available throughout the month of July.
According to Save Mart, the Five Star Super Sweet corn is sweet and crisp, lending itself to easy preparation through grilling, boiling or microwaving, and as a great addition to salads, salsas and casseroles.
“We are thrilled to provide this delicious corn from Simoni and Massoni Farms that has a loyal following for its freshness and sweetness and is grown exclusively for our Save Mart and Lucky customers to enjoy right now,” said Donovan Ford, SVP, store operations at The Save Mart Cos.
Based in Modesto, Calif., The Save Mart Cos. operates more than 200 retail stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx. In addition to its retail operation, the company also operates SMART Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries, which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop, Calif., and the Sunnyside Farms dairy-processing plant in Turlock, Calif. Save Mart is No. 55 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Sherman Park Grocery Now Serving Milwaukee Neighborhood
The Sherman Park community in Milwaukee is getting its first full-service grocery store. Sherman Park Grocery at 4315 W Fond du Lac Avenue is now serving customers in that neighborhood on the west side of the city, providing more than 1,450 fresh products, pantry staples and prepared foods from a soul food deli.
“We do not need another food pantry. It’s like a Band-Aid for cancer. What we need is a thriving and sustaining grocery store offering the freshest groceries while teaching families how to make healthy, delicious meals while showcasing the skills of local culinary entrepreneurs,” the grocers explained on their website.
Sherman Park Grocery is the brainchild and passion project for founders Maurice "Moe" Wince and Yashica Spears, who worked with several partners over the past few years to make bring the project to life, including Milwaukee’s Fresh Food Access Fund, hydroponic produce supplier Fork Farms and community groups such as the Parklawn Assembly of God, P.R.I.S.M. Economic Corp., UpStart Kitchen, Clean Laundry, Sunshine Dance Studio, and CommunityIMPACT Center.
City alderman Khalif Rainey said in a statement that the store will help shore up food security in the community. "Having a business like Sherman Park Grocery that can offer the freshest produce and foods while teaching families how to make healthy meals and lifestyle choices will be a game-changer in an area that has long been a food desert," Rainey remarked.
The 2,100-square-foot store welcomed its first customers at a July 15 grand opening. Online ordering for in-store pickup and delivery is available. In another effort to foster community engagement, Sherman Park Grocery is offering a 20% discount to customers who volunteer for five hours a month.
Grocery Sales Up in June, But Inflation Making a Dent: Report
Hot on the heels of this week’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from the Labor Department, another government agency reported on inflation-related market trends. The U.S. Census Bureau announced that U.S. retail and foodservice sales rose 1% in June to reach $680.6 billion and, within the overall market, grocery sales edged up 0.6% over May for an 8.3% year-over-year increase.
According to Census Bureau information, estimated monthly sales for grocery stores topped $70.3 billion last month, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences but not for price changes. For the first six months of 2022, adjusted sales reached more than $409 billion, up 8.6% compared to the first six months of 2021.
Inflation throws a wrench into the sheer sales data. “While grocery spend was elevated, shoppers are bringing in fewer items to their home,” pointed out Chip West, a retail and consumer behavior expert at marketing solutions company Vericast.
Shoppers are adjusting in other ways, said West after reviewing the fresh statistics. “Due to escalating inflation, gas and housing prices, for value-seeking consumers ‘trading down’ is a noticeable theme this summer across most categories. Grocery store prices now are up over 10% versus last year and have pushed more shoppers to superstores and even dollar stores. Grocers that promote and try to attract consumers looking for value and deals will be in a better spot as the year goes on,” he remarked.
As with other locations in which the retailer has made this change, shoppers can buy paper grocery bags for five cents per bag, a fee that will be eventually donated to local food banks. Ultimately, Wegmans is working to shift shoppers to bring their own reusable bags. The company reported that in stores in which plastic bags are no longer available, 20% to 25% of shoppers’ groceries are bagged in paper while the remaining 75% to 80% are placed in reusable bags or not bagged at all.
The family-owned business has set a goal to eliminate single-use plastic bags across its operations by the end of 2022. In its announcement, Wegmans noted it will “work to ensure consistency in its approach across all markets, unless legislation dictates otherwise.”
In addition to bolstering eco-friendlier grocery bagging, Wegmans has pledged to reduce its in-store plastic packaging and single-use plastics by 10 million pounds 2024.
Natural Grocers is celebrating the grand opening of its newest location in Sioux Falls, S.D., on July 27. The store at 2601 S. Louise Avenue is the first Natural Grocers site in that state.
The organic and natural retailer is offering deals and activities as it welcomes shoppers to that store and to South Dakota. In addition to gift card giveaways to the first 150 customers, Natural Grocers is awarding prizes through a sweepstakes and in-store prize wheel. From July 27 through Aug. 26, customers can get discounts on a variety of products; those who sign up for the retailer’s loyalty program can score more savings in items like free-range eggs and organic avocados.
"Natural Grocers is thrilled to expand our family-run stores to the folks in South Dakota. When searching for new markets, we always look for areas in which we can serve the existing community with our Always Affordable pricing on the best organic and natural products available. With its beautiful natural landscape, abundant outdoor activities and a vibrant cultural and food scene, Sioux Falls is a great fit for the first Natural Grocers store in South Dakota," said Raquel Isely, VP of marketing. "We're excited to meet the community and offer an engaging, friendly shopping experience with our world-class customer service."
As part of its corporate responsibility efforts, Natural Grocers is partnering with Feeding South America to shore up food security in the community and is offering nutritional coaching sessions, classes and events to enhance wellness. The company’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in the store’s design, which includes sustainable building materials, 100% LED lighting and other energy-saving features.
Family-operated organic and natural grocery retailer Natural Grocers has rolled out a national hiring initiative for almost 500 positions. Hiring “hot-spot” locations include Dallas; Portland, Ore.; Denver; and the Kansas City area. With the opening of its first store in South Dakota on July 27, Natural Grocers will have 163 stores in 21 states, employing more than 4,000 employees. Further, to sweeten the deal for prospective job seekers, the company has raised wages at all locations for select positions.
“We offer unique benefits and fun perks that attract, engage, develop and retain our wonderful workforce,” said Erin DeLacy, Natural Grocers’ talent acquisition strategist. “We’ve also recently increased our store manager and assistant store manager pay and most department assistants/managers. If you love helping people and have a passion for nutrition and healthy living, you could be the perfect addition to our team.”
As part of the company’s Five Founding Principles, Natural Grocers offers employees pay above federal and state minimum-wage levels, regularly scheduled (annual) pay increases, no pay caps for store associates who wish to stay in their current positions, employee discounts of up to 30%, $1-per-hour store credit, competitive benefits, monthly free Nutrition Education training, access to free immune and stress-relieving supplements amid the pandemic, access to short-term financial assistance, and Birthday Pay.
Additionally, Natural Grocers prioritizes promoting leaders from within the organization and supports career development through regular training and leadership development opportunities.
“Offering our Crew competitive pay, benefits and growth opportunities creates an atmosphere of well-being, optimism and knowledge — all the things that help people thrive,” added DeLacey.