News Briefs


More Store Openings for Amazon Fresh

Amazon fresh teaser

Another week, another round of brick-and-mortar store openings for Amazon. Two new Amazon Fresh grocery stores are now serving shoppers on both coasts, bringing the total number of U.S. locations to 39.

The first Amazon Fresh store in the state of New Jersey, located in Paramus at 30 E. Ridgewood Ave., opened this week. The 40,000-square-foot store is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Amazon also unveiled a location in Encino, Calif., at 16325 Ventura Blvd. Coming in at 44,000 square feet, this site is northwest of Los Angeles and not far from a Gelson’s store.

Customers can enjoy a frictionless experience at both sites with Amazon’s Just Walk Out shopping technology that allows them to skip checkout. As with other Amazon Fresh stores, the new locations offer a broad assortment of competitively-priced groceries and prepared foods, from made-to-order pizzas to brisket panini sandwiches.

Starting wages are $15 an hour for workers at the Paramus store and $16.40 for California employees. In addition to providing local jobs, Amazon is supporting its new communities by donating surplus food to nearby food banks.

Amazon is on a roll with store openings. Already this summer, the omnichannel retail business added new stores in North Riverside, Ill. near Chicago, Oceanside, N.Y. in Long Island, Arlington, Va., close to Washington, D.C. and Manassas, Va.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Larger-Format Kwik Trip Opens in Wisconsin

Kwik Trip

Shoppers at a Kwik Trip in Wisconsin can still get in and out fast, but can get more items while there. The La Crosse, Wis.-based convenience store business recently opened a new larger-format store in its hometown with a greater assortment of groceries, in addition to other amenities.

The store at 922 Ward Street spans 9,000 square feet, making it among the biggest Kwik Trip locations. In addition to a grocery area, this Kwik Trip offers an array of foodservice items prepared in the larger kitchen space and includes a car wash, 20 fuel pumps and a separate area for diesel fueling.

“It’s a new concept for us,” spokesperson Steve Wrobel told a local media outlet. “There will be more volume of selection and a different browsing environment.”

The c-store welcomed shoppers during an official ribbon-cutting ceremony this week. To mark the occasion, Kwik Trip donated $1,000 to local police and fire departments.


Gem City Market Refrigeration Project Wins Award

Environment+Energy Leader Award 2022 Teaser

A project in which Emerson, Hussman and Chemours donated sustainable refrigeration technologies to Gem City Market Community Food Co-op, an independent grocer opening in a food desert in Dayton, Ohio, has received recognition as part of the 10th annual Environment+Energy Leader Awards program. The awards, revealed July 19 during the Fort Collins, Colo.-based publication’s annual Solutions Summit, honor recipients for exemplary work in the fields of energy and environmental management. The award category was Top Project of the Year.

Open since May 2021, Gem City Market is a Dayton Foundation cooperative market initiative created to help address food insecurity in downtown Dayton. A large portion of the market’s 8,000-square-foot retail space requires medium- and low-temperature refrigeration, so the system was a focal point for supporting Gem City Market’s environmental responsibility, long-term energy savings, low operating costs and ease of maintenance.

For the project, Emerson, Hussmann and Chemours integrated their individual areas of expertise. Emerson donated its Copeland scroll booster refrigeration architecture, the first technology to be commercially developed from Emerson’s Helix Innovation Center. Copeland scroll booster technology allows Gem City Market to combine a low-pressure, lower global-warming potential (GWP) refrigerant with a distributed architecture, which is an alternative to large, centralized systems. Additionally, Bridgeton, Mo.-based Hussman contributed an assembled refrigeration system and Wilmington, Del.-based Chemours provided lower-GWP A1 refrigerant Opteon XP10 (R-513A).

“Working to address food insecurity reinforces Emerson’s company purpose: We drive innovation that makes the world healthier, safer, smarter and more sustainable,” said Rajan Rajendran, global VP environmental sustainability of St. Louis-based Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions business. “We are proud to be recognized with others in our industry for this project, which highlights an inventive architecture that is making advanced refrigeration solutions accessible for operators of small-format retail stores who want to make the transition to more sustainable refrigeration options.” 

Last year, Gem City Market, which was featured in Progressive Grocer’s July 2021 print issue and online for its innovative retail concept, also received a $100,000 donation of foodservice equipment, training and support from Eaton, Ohio-based Henny Penny Corp. 


New Whole Foods Market to Open in SoCal

whole foods market sign

JULY 29 UPDATE: Whole Foods changed the Culver City store opening to Aug. 31.

Whole Foods Market will open a new 51,413-square-foot store, located at 3377 La Cienega Boulevard in Culver City, Calif., on Aug. 10. The store features artistic designs and colors to pay tribute to the creativity of Culver City, which is soaked in moviemaking history. Whole Foods store design highlights city staples, including artwork of the Baldwin Hills Overlook and a bird’s eye-view painting of Culver City.

The new location’s product assortment features more than 1,000 local items from Southern California, handpicked by Elena Garcia, local forager for Whole Foods’ Southern Pacific Region. Local options include goat gouda from Central Coast Creamery, small-batch artisanal meats from Gusto, black mussels from Carlsbad Aquafarm, sablefish from Giovanni’s Fish Market, chicken from Mary’s Free Range Chickens and turkey from Diestel Ranch.

A taproom, The Cul Bar, offers 24 beers on tap, with a large selection of local options. The taproom will offer indoor and outdoor seating as well as happy hour and daily specials. Additionally, a prepared food section will feature hot and cold food bars, a pizza station, a chef’s case with seasonal entrées and sides, a charcuterie selection, a sandwich station, and a Market Cocina concept that offers burritos, bowls and tacos.

Customers who visit the store on opening day can enjoy complimentary samples from local suppliers. Also, the first 300 guests will receive a custom tote bag with local supplier samples.

Besides Culver City, other new Whole Foods locations slated to open soon include Woodcliff Lake, N.J., on July 27 and Grand Rapids, Mich., on Aug. 17.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle-based Amazon, which is No. 2 on The PG 100,  Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Hy-Vee Brings Test-to-Treat COVID-19 Services to Its Pharmacies

Hy-Vee Holding 4th ‘Best of Local Brands’ Summit in November The W Nail Bair

Under new FDA authorization, all Hy-Vee, Inc., pharmacy locations are now offering the COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid to treat mild to moderate cases of the virus. Eligible patients include those over the age of 12 who are at high risk of a severe case of COVID-19. 

Patients must test positive for COVID-19 to be prescribed the medication, then will be screened by a Hy-Vee pharmacist to determine eligibility for the treatment. Hy-Vee offers rapid PCR testing at select locations and all of its pharmacies sell at-home COVID-19 tests. Additionally, each individual covered under private insurance or Medicare Part B can receive up to eight free at-home COVID-19 tests each month under a Biden administration ruling.

Employee-owned Hy-Vee has a team of more than 93,000 employees. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company is No. 30 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Ocado Retail CEO Stepping Down

Melanie Smith, Ocado

Ocado Retail Chief Executive Melanie Smith (pictured) has announced her departure from the U.K.-based company, effective Aug. 31. Lawrence Hene, who previously served as deputy CEO at Ocado Retail and has served on the company’s board as a non-executive director since 2019, will take over the role on an interim basis.

Smith was instrumental in the formation of the joint venture between Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer, which was established in August 2019. A permanent replacement will be named in due time, according to Ocado Retail.

"The last two years have been extremely challenging with a pandemic to contend with affecting the grocery market in ways that we could never have predicted,” said Tim Steiner, chairman of Ocado Retail. “Mel has steered this business through with incredible energy and I would like to thank her for all she has done. There is no question that Mel leaves the business well prepared for faster growth in the years to come. We wish her well in her future endeavors.

"We are pleased to confirm that Lawrence Hene will take the role of interim CEO, and I know he will bring his extensive knowledge of Ocado Retail and provide the leadership required in these turbulent market conditions,” Steiner continued. “We will now commence the search for a permanent new CEO to take Ocado Retail through the next steps of our growth as a critical part of the strategy for both Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer."

Online supermarket was established in 2000 and is one of Britain’s leading online retailers, and since 2019 is part of a 50:50 joint venture between Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer Group plc.