Extreme-value retailer Grocery Outlet Bargain Market has raised more than $2.5 million — the equivalent of approximately 1.25 million meals — during its 12th annual Independence from Hunger Food Drive campaign. From June 29 through July 31, more than 400 Grocery Outlet stores raised funds and collected monetary donations from customers, employees and independent operators to give back to local food agencies to help address critical food insecurities in their communities.
Grocery Outlet made a commitment more than a decade ago with the Independence from Hunger campaign to find solutions that ensure all families have access to high-quality meals. Since its launch in 2011, the campaign has collected more than $16 million in total donations nationwide.
Throughout the initiative, Grocery Outlet customers and employees were encouraged to contribute in the following ways:
• Purchasing pre-made food bags filled with an assortment of nonperishable items. • Give $5, Get $5 at the register – donating $5 or more in a single transaction and receiving a $5 coupon. • Contribution of a monetary donation through in-store and online platforms.
To fight food insecurity, natural and organic grocery store chain Earth Fare is lowering prices on hundreds of grocery essentials.
“At Earth Fare, we believe that shoppers shouldn’t have to sacrifice their health as a result of their grocery bill,” noted Laurie Aker, director of marketing at the Asheville, N.C.-based grocer, which operates more than 20 locations in eight states. “This is not a temporary sale, but rather a commitment to ensuring that our valued shoppers have access to clean, healthy foods.”
The products offered under the reduced-price program are from Chesterfield, N.H.-based Field Day, and of the more than 200 items in the program, 196 are certified organic, and 123 are non-GMO items. In common with all products sold at Earth Fare, the items adhere to the store’s Boot List, a list of ingredients the store won’t sell, citing the unhealthy risks they pose when consumed.
“At Earth Fare, our mission has always been to make healthy food more accessible to the communities we serve,” explained Earth Fare CEO Henry Kugler. “Most retailers are going the other way and raising prices. You can’t blame them: Margins are already thin, and wholesale and transportation costs have risen exponentially in the last year and don’t look to be slowing down. It is a challenge, but the best thing we can do to stay true to our mission is to provide an affordable, entry-level organic price point on pantry staples.”
The Clean Food Security campaign first rolled out at Earth Fare’s newest location, in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 27, and will reach all Earth Fare stores by mid-August.
SunriseShopRite Inc., a family-owned company that operates New Jersey's ShopRite of Parsippany and the ShopRite of West Caldwell, has appointed Mike Jacob VP of operations. In his new role Jacob, a Pennsylvania resident with more than three decades in the grocery industry, will oversee operations for both supermarkets, as well as the company’s free-standing liquor stores.
“I am thrilled that Mike is joining Sunrise ShopRite as a key member of our leadership team,” said Dara Sblendorio, president of West Caldwell-based SunriseShopRite Inc. “His commitment to community and associates is in keeping with our traditions. We look forward to working with Mike to provide the best possible shopping experiences at our stores.”
Previously, Jacob worked as a special projects manager at Wakefern Food Corp., the supermarket retailer-owned cooperative and distribution and merchandising arm for ShopRite stores, working closely with Wakefern members and their store teams on retail operations. He was also a ShopRite store director overseeing hundreds of associates and operations at a top-performing location.
Sblendorio’s great-grandfather opened Sunrise Market in 1940 in Caldwell. Her family joined the Wakefern cooperative in 1951. Ned Gladstein, Sblendorio’s father, became president of Sunrise ShopRite in 1982 and is now advisor and CFO. Sblendorio has been president since 2017, and her husband, Frank, is manager of the ShopRite of Parsippany.
“It really is a family operation, and we welcome Mike to our family,” added Sblendorio. “Mike’s knowledge and experience will be important as we continue to build our strong team culture, elevate our shopping experiences and grow our business.”
Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern comprises more than 40 members that independently own and operate 360-plus supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people. The company is No. 25 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 listing of North America’s top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Wegmans Food Markets has begun hiring and training full-time employees for its Astor Place supermarket in Manhattan, which marks its second location in New York City. The store will open at 770 Broadway in the latter half of 2023, and employ more than 500 people, including 200 full-time associates.
Full-time positions include entry-level management, customer service, overnight grocery, culinary roles and more. The grocer will begin hiring for part-time associates early next year.
Features of the Astor Place store will include a Wegmans Food Hall with fresh sushi, pizza, made-to-order salads and sandwiches, and more. Hot and cold self-serve stations and traditional departments like produce, meat and seafood, along with grocery, dairy, and frozen food aisles, will also be available to shoppers.
“When Wegmans opened in Brooklyn several years ago, their commitment to local hiring and their engagement with the surrounding community was inspiring. With hiring now starting for the Manhattan store, we have no doubt that their new neighbors will similarly find Wegmans to be a great community partner,” said Darold Burgess, president of the Ingersoll Houses Residents Association, and Isabella Lee, former president of the Walt Whitman Tenants Association.
DoorDash has teamed with mission-driven advisor firm Next Street to issue a call for applications for the California cohort of the DoorDash Accelerator for Local Goods. The accelerator is an educational program created to advance CPG businesses owned by entrepreneurs who are women, transgender, immigrants or people of color.
Through the program, DoorDash aims to provide local entrepreneurs with critical resources, education and funding to bring their products to market for distribution through DashMart, a DoorDash-owned and -operated grocery and convenience store. Beginning in October, the accelerator consists of a live, self-guided six-week educational program created in partnership with New York- and Chicago-based Next Street, with each participant receiving a $5,000 grant to support their business needs, plus access to marketing and sales support from DoorDash, and the opportunity to sell their products via DashMart.
“Through the DoorDash Accelerator for Local Goods, we are committed to empowering local business owners with the educational resources and financial capital to become wholesale-ready and bring their products into communities and homes across the country,” noted Tasia Hawkins, social impact program lead at San Francisco-based DoorDash.
Applications will be accepted from Aug. 8 through Aug. 26. Eligible entrepreneurs must live in and be actively operating their CPG business in California, have been in business for at least two years, have 30 or fewer employees, and have generated under $1 million in revenue in fiscal year 2021. They don’t need to have an existing partnership with DoorDash to apply, and existing partnerships with DoorDash aren’t considered in the application process.
Addressing changes and opportunities across the omnichannel environment, Toshiba is opening a new tech hub in north Texas. Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions announced that it is expanding its footprint in the hotbed area of Frisco, Texas, to fuel innovations and “reimagine the store of the future.”
According to company information, Toshiba’s innovation and incubation hub is strategically located for rapid connections to its other development centers in Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Guadalajara, Mexico; Singapore; Taipei, Tokyo; and cities across Europe. The site will be powered by new investments in cloud development, computer vision and retail IoT. Toshiba also plans to collaborate with more tech partners on innovations and expand its internal team to work on mergers and acquisitions.
Earlier this year, the company introduced the latest version of its Elera commerce platform designed to accelerate retailers’ digital transformation and support the connected store experience. The company also developed a hybrid kiosk for faster, easier grocery shopping experiences.
"While many tech companies are cutting back, we are investing significantly and expanding to meet new demand created by our commerce platform recognized for accelerating digital transformation to deliver an exceptional retail experience,” said President and CEO Rance Poehler.
Added Mike Yeung, EVP and chief technology officer: "Part of our strategy includes engaging emerging startups in the region to expand our ecosystem. Our investments in IoT, data analytics and computer vision enable retailers to provide a consistent, compelling experience for consumers, whether they shop in-store, at curbside, on their mobile device, or at home."