News Briefs


Natural Grocers Celebrates Non-GMO Month in Fall

Natural Grocers Non-GMO Month Teaser

To mark Non-GMO Month in October, Natural Grocers, is inviting customers to stock up on autumn favorites with super savings, doorbuster deals, free samples and more. 

Through Oct. 29, shoppers can save up to 60% off prices on select products in every department. Additionally, all month long, Natural Grocers will provide education on GMOs. Customers can expect weekly non-GMO recipes, statistics and information in support of non-GMO products, plus a social media giveaway. Natural Grocers will also offer three days of super savings, Oct. 13-15.

As part of these super savings, the first 150 shoppers on Oct. 13 at each store will receive a free snack-size bag of Natural Grocers Brand Organic Popcorn; customers can enter for a chance to win a $500 Natural Grocers gift card; and shoppers will receive discounts of up to 40% on popular products.

Further, members of {N}power, Natural Grocers’ free loyalty program, will receive exclusive discounts, rewards, benefits and other members-only features on Oct. 13-15and beyond. These include one free Natural Grocers Brand Organic Snack Pack, per customer, while supplies last; daily doorbuster deals on select customer- favorite products, which will be autoloaded to their {N}power account;10% off in-store alcohol purchases at participating locations; and the ability to feed a family of four a stir-fry meal for less than $14 through a Natural Grocers good4u Meal Deal.

During its recently reported third quarter, Natural Grocer’s net sales increased $7.7 million, or 3.0%, to $266.3 million, compared with the year-ago, due to a $6.4 million increase in comparable-store sales and a $2.1 million increase in new-store sales. The company attributed the increase primarily to retail price inflation, customers’ response to pandemic trends, marketing initiatives, promotional campaigns and increased{N}power engagements. 

With 164 stores in 21 states, Lakewood, Colo.-based Natural Grocers is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Sifter Hires VPs of Retail Sales, Data Management Sales

Sifter Johnson Billings New Hires Teaser

Sifter SP Inc. has hired two new sales VPs, David Johnson and Kevin Billings. The additions to the company’s leadership team will support Sifter’s continued growth in bringing advanced shop-by-diet technology to the market.

David Johnson (left in image), the newly appointed VP of retail sales, brings to his latest role more than 10 years of experience working with retail technology to scale and develop results-oriented optimization tools for grocers. At, where he was sales director leading sales initiatives in North America, Johnson helped the company become a market leader in grocery e-commerce and fulfillment solutions. 

Kevin Billings, the new VP of data management sales, brings to the position four-plus years of data and technology sales experience as the former national director - health and wellness retail sales with Label Insight/NielsenIQ. Billings also spent eight years with the American Heart Association, where he was the national director for the Heart-Check Certification program.

“We are very excited and pleased to have both David and Kevin join the Sifter team,” said Andrew Parkinson, co-founder and CEO of Chicago-based Sifter. “Their critical understanding of the importance of accurate and trusted data inside any in-store or online platform making dietary recommendations, as well as Sifter’s ability to dynamically serve trusted product results based on a person’s personal and often complex diet, will help strengthen the company’s footprint and strategy.” 

Sifter’s nutrition-as-a-service technology gives retailers and health-oriented companies the ability to offer consumers a fast, scientifically accurate way to find foods that match their unique dietary preferences and food-avoidance needs. The company recently secured a $5 million series seed round to ramp up growth of its platform and the rollout of Sifter Retailer Solutions.


National Co+op Grocers Adds 3 Members

South Philly Food Co-Op Sign Teaser

The board of National Co+op Grocers(NCG), the business services cooperative for retail food co-ops nationwide, has approved three new members. These additions expand NCG to 151 member co-ops operating more than 200 storefronts in 38 states, with combined annual sales of nearly $2.4 billion.

The three co-ops are as follows:

SHARE Cooperative - Harvest Market, based in Winston-Salem, N.C.,began in the spring of 2015 as a faith-based response to boost access to healthy food for low-income residents. The co-op’s principal goal is to provide service and assistance to its entire community while promoting inclusivity. Incorporated in 2018, SHARE Co-Op plans to open a grocery store, Harvest Market, in October 2022.

Potsdam Consumer Co-op, based in Potsdam, N.Y., began as a buying club in 1972. After opening its first retail store in 1973, the co-op offers local foods from more than 75 vendors and is currently working on a campaign to expand and continue to meet the needs of its 1,100-plus member-owners.

South Philly Food Co-op, based in Philadelphia, first began organizing in April 2010 and opened its store in December 2020. The food co-op offers fresh, local foods at fair prices and serves as a hub for the South Philly community. 

“We’re excited to have these three co-ops join NCG, as they proudly represent key moments in the retail food co-op movement in the United States,” said C.E. Pugh, CEO of Saint Paul, Minn.-based NCG. “Potsdam Consumer Co-op has endeavored for half a century, born out of desire to access natural and organic foods, while SHARE Co-op and South Philly Food Co-op are more recent, created by community-minded residents to support their cherished neighborhoods. We welcome these co-ops to NCG and look forward to continued collaboration.”


Gimme Gets New Head of Strategy

Dan O'Brien Gimme

Gimme announced that it has brought on an industry veteran as its new chief strategy officer. Dan O’Brien, with several years’ experience in the vending, warehouse distribution and unattended retail sectors, is joining the company to drive strategic alignment between products and the company’s partners.

O’Brien comes to Gimme from Burch Food Services, where he served as director of sales for the past 16 years and led his team through the transition of vending markets. He is a member of the Canteen Franchise Markets and Technology Advisory Council and earned a bachelor of business administration degree in finance from the University of Texas at Austin.

"Dan is a proven leader in our industry," said Cory Hewett, Gimme's co-founder. "His in-depth knowledge and experience will strengthen Gimme's strategic goals that, in turn, will guide future development. He also brings a great deal of industry respect and operating expertise to the table, that complements our passion and energy for developing innovative products and technology."

Added co-founder Evan Jarecki: "We have established Gimme's culture based upon empathy, determination and problem-solving. Dan is a perfect addition to enhance the understanding of our customers and users based upon his first-hand experience. Dan will play a pivotal role in Gimme's next evolution of growth and expansion in the coming years."

Based in Atlanta, Gimme offers hardware and software for grocery and foodservice operators to automate merchandising. In addition to AI, computer vision and machine learning technologies that power automation, the company offers the Gimme Key, a wireless DEX adapter for direct store delivery.


Leadership Changes at Dawn Foods

 Dawn Foods

Dawn Foods is mixing up its leadership functions. The Jackson, Mich.-based bakery manufacturer and ingredient distributor announced the hiring of Jennifer Cloherty as its new CFO and expanded responsibilities for Bob Howland, chief digital officer.

Cloherty is stepping into the position held by Karl Brown, who will take on an advisory role with the company. Most recently, Cloherty served as CFO for Kellogg North America, where she was also the executive sponsor of the Kellogg African American Resource Group and the Kellogg Veterans Group. Her 27-year career also includes financial leadership jobs at Aptiv, Owens Corning and GE, where she spent 19 years.

“Jennifer is an exceptional financial leader with great long-term vision, and I am proud to have her join the Dawn Leadership Team,” said CEO Carrie Jones-Barber. “I am confident she will continue to build and develop the wonderful talent we have within our financial organization and partner with our leaders to drive the strategic, operational, and financial performance of our global business.” 

Brown’s two-decade career at Dawn Foods included several financial and commercial leadership roles. He led the financial function and the global IT team for the last several years and will work closely with Cloherty during the transition.

Meanwhile, Howland has been tapped to lead the development and implementation of Dawn’s long-term digital and information technology strategy in a broader capacity. 

“Bob has done a tremendous job transforming our business through best-in-class digital solutions that benefit both our team members and our customers,” added Jones-Barber. “Our digital and IT teams already work closely together on technology infrastructure and cyber security projects, which are critical to help protect our systems and data. Bringing together these two organizations under Bob’s leadership further strengthens our team and aligns with our strategic ambitions for the business.” 


Sprouts Farmers Market Opens New Store in Hurricane-Hit Zone

Sprouts interior

As consumers in Cape Coral, Fla., clean up from the impact of Hurricane Ian, they have a new grocery store to meet their needs. On Oct. 4, Sprouts Farmers Market quietly but effectively opened its location in that community, providing much-needed groceries to area residents.

“Shoutout to the guacstar Sprouts team at our new Cape Coral store! They worked hard to open doors early at our brand new Sprouts to serve our Cape Coral neighbors with the healthy groceries they need most to restock their fridge and pantries post Hurricane Ian,” the company declared in a Facebook post.

The store at Pine Island Road and Pondella Road was originally slated to open on Oct. 6. The grocer moved up the date to accommodate shoppers who needed essentials in the wake of the storm, especially as they were trying to feed themselves and their families while waiting for their power and other utilities to be restored.

The health-oriented grocer has reached out to its new community in other ways, donating funds for Red Cross relief efforts and foods for local distribution.  

“We have a distribution center in Orlando that was able to get quite a bit of product down to us. We had to work around floodwaters and traffic issues,” Lucas Larson, VP of operations, told Ft. Myers television new station WINK.

He continued: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted. We’re trying to help the customers get what they need. That’s why we made the effort to open early. We wanted to get out and serve the community as quick as we could.”

Sprouts now operates 35 stores in Florida, including other locations hit hard by Hurricane Ian in Estero and Naples and Ft. Myers. The Cape Coral store has temporary hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 

Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market employs approximately 31,000 associates and is No. 53 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.