Home discount retailer Big Lots Inc. has expanded its offering of campus living essentials for students starting or returning to college this fall. As such, the company has modified its store space to include a “back-to-campus center” where students and their families can find deals on everything needed for a dorm room or apartment, including furniture, décor, bedding, food and snacks, laundry and cleaning products, beauty and personal care items, and school supplies.
“Whether you’re moving into a new dorm, apartment or home, Big Lots is the place to go to cross everything off your shopping list, plus a few surprising extras, at bargain prices,” said Big Lots President and CEO Bruce Thorn. “This year, we’ve expanded our already unmatched selection of campus living essentials and treasures, plus grouped them in a convenient ‘store-within-a-store’ where you can find and compare items and styles to outfit your unique living space.”
Big Lots’ back-to-campus center features vignettes displaying combinations of furniture, décor, appliances and other essentials. The items are grouped in collections, including Big Lots exclusives from Real Living and Broyhill that fit a range of personalities, with gender-neutral options available. Customers can also shop Big Lots’ back-to-campus online.
With more than 400 Big Lots retail stores located near U.S. college and university campuses, students can take advantage of various same-day and two-day delivery options, including through new partnerships with Shipt and Instacart.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots Inc. operates 1,438 stores in 47 states, as well as an e-commerce platform with expanded capabilities via BOPIS, curbside pickup, Instacart and same-day delivery across thousands of items. The company is No. 52 on The PG 100,Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Birmingham, Ala.-based Shipt is a wholly owned subsidiary Minneapolis-based Target Corp., which is No. 6 on The PG 100.
Tops Friendly Markets has promoted two team members to serve as the company’s new construction managers. The New York-based grocer elevated Craig Degroat (pictured on bottom) from his most recent position of maintenance specialist and also moved up Jaime Paterson (pictured on top), who has worked for the grocer as a maintenance technician, maintenance specialist and project manager.
Both Degroat and Paterson began their careers at The Penn Traffic Co. Degroat is a 10-year Tops employee and Paterson is a 12-year team member.
In other personnel news, Tops recently tapped Shannon Nicholson for a store manager role at its Wellsboro, Penn., location, a promotion from her assistant store manager job. Also in July, the grocer announced that Angelena Goot is officially a new store manager at the Frewsburg, N.Y., Tops Friendly Market following her stint as interim store manager.
Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC operates 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc., is No. 44 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Three Guys From Brooklyn, Instacart Team to Beat Food Insecurity
Independent grocer Three Guys from Brooklyn, located in the New York City borough’s Bay Ridge community, is now the star of a new digital ad campaign spotlighting its efforts to fight food insecurity through an EBT SNAP partnership with Instacart. The newly launched campaign, filmed at Three Guys From Brooklyn’s flagship location on 65th and Fort Hamilton, highlights this key partnership and the grocer’s mission to make fresh produce affordable for low-income community members.
“It’s core to our mission to offer the best fresh produce to anyone who comes by the Three Guys From Brooklyn market,” noted Philip Penta, owner of Three Guys From Brooklyn. “Our partnership with Instacart has allowed us to stay true to this mission and better provide high-quality groceries to our local community by offering EBT SNAP options to Brooklyn residents.”
Three Guys From Brooklyn and Instacart first joined forces in July 2020 to offer delivery and pickup. This past February, the grocer and Instacart partnered on EBT SNAP after the USDA Food and Nutrition Service approved online partnerships. The program enables EBT SNAP participants to use their benefits to access fresh food and pantry staples online from Three Guys From Brooklyn via Instacart.
“At Instacart, we strongly believe that everyone should have access to nutritious food, and our partnership with Three Guys From Brooklyn is an embodiment of that mission,” observed Sarah Mastrorocco, VP of access to food and nutrition at San Francisco-based Instacart. “We are proud of our ongoing partnership with Three Guys From Brooklyn and are excited to showcase the incredible work the grocer has been doing to support the Brooklyn community.”
The digital ad campaign includes an interview with Penta and two local Instacart shoppers. Last year, Three Guys From Brooklyn collaborated with the National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center on testimonial and informational videos about the store’s positive experience running a nutrition incentive program.
Stater Bros. Markets has connected to the NCR Commerce Platform (NCP) to help reduce infrastructure complexity and improve consumer experiences across all sales channels. The grocer implemented NCR Emerald, a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) solution that leverages the NCP to unify all technology needed to run the store. Stater Bros. now has access to such new capabilities and services as POS solutions and NCR Emerald’s end-to-end connectivity.
“To improve our shoppers’ experience and create new, compelling services, NCR delivered a simplified platform architecture and built-in redundancy for maximum uptime,” said Gil Salazar, SVP of information technology at Stater Bros. “NCR Emerald checked every box, and as our customers’ needs change, the technology will be able to evolve, which is critically important to our business.”
NCR Emerald enabled Stater Bros. to roll out capabilities to its POS lanes with ease, speed and flexibility, and empowered the company to easily deploy more options for its consumers. The grocer was able to successfully deploy all-new software and lane hardware to all 171 of its stores in just 15 weeks.
“NCR Emerald will simplify Stater Bros. store operations and open up connections to the NCP, enabling better data insights and an improved consumer shopping experience,” said David Wilkinson, president and general manager of Atlanta-based NCR Retail. “The NCP unifies technology needed to run the store and provides the backbone for new services that further spur innovation.”
As the rapid delivery sector settles out in the wake of pandemic-era acceleration and then deceleration, a new collaboration seeks to leverage data to meet shoppers’ ever-shifting needs and preferences. On-demand grocery company Gorillas and information services firm NielsenIQ are teaming up to pool data and delivery for a better omnichannel experience.
Through this partnership, NielsenIQ will provide data and analytics to the Germany-based Gorillas for its operations in Germany, the U.S., U.K. and Netherlands. The information includes consumer-sourced panel data and custom retail analytics.
“We are thrilled that Gorillas has chosen NielsenIQ to supply them with the most comprehensive consumer data available,” said David Johnson, president, global retail at NielsenIQ. “This is very exciting to work in cooperation with Gorillas, a company that we have closely followed as a market leader in the grocery ordering and delivery industry. Innovation in grocery e-commerce and last-mile delivery is moving at lightning speed and our data cooperation will allow for better decisions at Gorillas and with manufacturers, something the industry is excited about.”
Gorillas is turning to data-based decision-making at a time of change. Earlier this summer, the company announced that it is re-tooling its strategies and tactics, laying off some team members, scaling back expansion plans in the U.S. and closing warehouses in Europe. Gorillas current operates delivery service in the New York City metro area.
Pharmacy Workers Vote to OK Strikes at Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons & Pavilions
Seven United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union locals, which together represent more than 600 pharmacists and pharmacy workers at Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions stores across Southern California, have revealed that members voted overwhelmingly to authorize union leadership to call for strikes on the basis of unfair labor practices.
“Southern California’s essential pharmacists have made their voices heard with this vote,” the seven locals said in a statement. “They have made the difficult decision to stand together on the picket line should it become necessary in protest of the unlawful and unfair treatment they’ve received from Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions. This vote gives union leaders the authorization to call for a strike and lays the groundwork to allow more than 600 pharmacists across California to stand up to protect their rights and ensure they have the ability to effectively serve their patients and communities.”
Negotiations resumed July 22 with UFCW and Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions. No dates have been set yet for a strike.
The locals filed unfair labor practice charges against Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging violations of federal labor law and intimidation of workers engaged in union activity, among other charges.
UFCW locals8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442make up the largest union grocery contract in the nation, including 600-plus pharmacists and pharmacy workers who serve communities at Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions pharmacies spanning from Central California to the Mexican border.