News Briefs


Walmart Joins FIS’ Premium Payback Network

FIS Logo Teaser

Walmart is joining Premium Payback, the real-time rewards redemption network of financial services technology company FIS. The addition of the retailer to the network will give millions of consumers the chance to redeem their credit card rewards points for real-time discounts at more than 4,700 Walmart stores across the country. Walmart customers using eligible cards will be prompted at checkout with the option to turn their card rewards currency into discounts, which will be deducted from their purchase amount.

“Walmart’s mission is to help customers save money so that they can live better, and FIS Premium Payback allows customers to enjoy the benefits of their rewards in real-time at checkout,” explained Mike Cook, SVP and assistant treasurer at Walmart. “Today’s busy consumer is looking for a frictionless shopping experience, and our partnership with FIS makes paying with points as simple as a single prompt at the point of sale.”

“More than ever, credit card rewards are a driving motivator for how and where consumers make purchases,” noted John Durrant, president of banking and payment solutions at Jacksonville, Fla.-based FIS.  “We are excited to partner with Walmart and card issuers to bring Premium Payback to consumers who can benefit from this new way to pay for their purchases. Major players like Walmart come to FIS because we have the innovative technology solutions to enable these experiences that deliver significant value and savings to consumers across the U.S.” 

Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America


Los Altos Foods Helps Grocers Offer Free Mammograms

Cardenas Markets Enters L.A. Metro Area

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mexican cheesemaker Los Altos Foods is partnering with grocers throughout California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada to provide free mammograms.

A mobile clinic is traveling to Cardenas Markets, Superior Grocers, Vallarta Supermarkets, Food 4 Less, Super King Markets and other supermarkets as part of the program, which counts Alinea Medical Imaging, Assured Imaging and Nevada Health Centers among its partners.

“The biggest advantage of this is that many women do not have transportation or the time to go to clinics,” said David Arrieta, an assistant technician, in a video from City of Industry, Calif.-based Los Altos Foods.

“We consider ourselves a big family, and it is important that we all take care of ourselves,” noted Los Altos Foods CEO Corin Andrade. “We all have people we love, our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and it is important that we all get mammography.”

With more than 100 stores, Compton, Calif.-based Food 4 Less is a banner of Cincinnati-based Kroger , No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

Sylmar, Calif.-based, Vallarta Supermarkets is a full-service independent grocery chain with 53 locations throughout California. The company is No. 87 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. With more than 40 stores, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based Superior Grocers is No. 94 on PG’s list.

In June, Ontario, Calif.-based Cardenas Markets was acquired by Apollo Funds and is set to merge with Chicago-based portfolio company Tony’s Fresh Market.


Women Grocers of America Holding 1st Executive Female Leaders Network Meeting

Women Grocers of America Teaser

The Women Grocers of America (WGA) will hold its first convening of the new Executive Female Leaders Network (EXFL), a professional peer group designed for female executives in the independent grocery sector, in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23-24, ahead of the NGA Executive Conference & Public Policy Summit on Oct. 24-26. 

Created by WGA and supported by the NGA Foundation, the EXFL Network provides the opportunity for women in the retail, wholesale, supplier, manufacturer and vendor communities to meet in person, share ideas and experiences, and discuss complex issues in the independent grocery industry. 

The network’s inaugural meeting will offer an interactive leadership development workshop, high-level analysis of key trends affecting the industry, and an exclusive members-only education and networking event. The speaker lineup includes a female executive panel with Katie Hotze, founder and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Grocery Shopii; Amy Nemetschek, president and CEO of Madison, Wis.-based Certco Inc.; and Stephanie Becker, SVP, general counsel and chief legal officer at Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers.  

Additionally, Natalie Johnson, co-founder of Lakewood Ranch, Fla.-based ViDL Solutions, will guide participants through a Dare to Lead training, an empirically based courage-building program designed for future leaders and developed by researcher and author Brené Brown. 

Sponsors of the event are The Kellogg Co., The Coca-Cola Co., Fiserv, Rosie – An Instacart Company, Nestle-Purina PetCare, Badger Technologies and BRData.  

Washington, D.C.-based NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. 


Topco Hires VP to Direct Meat, Seafood Program

Topco Lyons

Topco Associates is bringing on retail veteran Jacqueline Lyons to serve as its new VP of meat and seafood programs. In the role, Lyons will oversee the company’s fresh meat, packaged meat and seafood departments.

Lyons worked at Walmart for 27 years prior to joining Topco, most recently as a divisional merchandise manager of seafood and seasonal meat. Lyons also has experience in dry grocery, snacks, beverages, produce and floral categories.

“We’re excited for Jacqui to join the team, adding an experienced perspective to a critical strategic part of our business,” said Topco President and CEO Randy Skoda. “She arrives with a proven track record and I am confident she will be able to partner with our members to drive value by bringing innovative opportunities and solutions that drive value and help Topco’s members meet the growing needs of their shoppers.”

“Jacqui’s subject-matter knowledge, extensive experience and leadership will be integral as Topco builds solutions in collaboration with our members that exceed shoppers' expectations in Meat and Seafood,” said Topco SVP of Fresh Mike Ferguson. “Providing unparalleled freshness, value, and product transparency in the supply chain has never been more important. Jacqui will expertly guide our team in this pursuit.”

Topco Associates is a $16.1 billion, privately held, member-owned company that provides aggregation, innovation and knowledge management solutions for its food industry member-owners and customers, including grocery retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice and pharmacy companies. Topco leverages the collective volume, knowledge and commitment of these companies to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace by reducing costs and offering winning business-building capabilities.


FirstFruits Farms Adds Core Employees

FirstFruits Hires

In time for prime apple season, FirstFruit Farms has picked more team members to expand its apple and cherry business. The Yakima, Wash.-based grower announced several recent promotions and appointments.

Employees elevated to new positions include the following:

• Lon Hudson, promoted to sales director
• Aleisha Loveluck, promoted to data science architect
• Emily Autrey, promoted to marketing manager

New hires include the following:

• Justin Bos, senior sales account manage
• Andy Zhu, post-harvest manager
• Melissa Hunter, data analyst

Loveluck, for her part, said that the changes will bolster the company at a pivotal time. “FirstFruits Farms finds it crucial to continuously invest in and prepare its teams,” she asserted. “Through the combined experience and skills our sales, data analytics, and marketing teams bring together, we can comprehend the mass amount of data in the market and glean insights to present in an easy-to-read format for our retail partners. We pride ourselves on our ability to marry insights with solutions to grow the apple category. “

FirstFruits Farms grows more than 10 varieties of apples and cherries across 6,000 acres in the eastern region of Washington. Its fruit is grown, stored and packed at the same site.


Tops Unveils Donation Campaign to Benefit Children's Hospital

Tops Teaser

Tops Friendly Markets is launching its 2022 Free Gas and Grocery Campaign, set to run from Oct. 23 to Nov. 5, 2023, at all participating locations. Customers can purchase a $1 ticket to support the Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y.

Shoppers who donate money to the campaign will be entered to win a year's worth of gas and groceries valued at $10,000. The campaign raised nearly $70,000 last year for Oishei Children’s Hospital, and has raised more than $1.4 million for the hospital since it was started in 2006. 

“At Tops it is our belief that by enhancing the quality of life for children through education and excellent health care, we build a strong future together,” said John Persons, president of Tops. “Our support of the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo over the years has a long and rich history and we are proud to support such a wonderful institution that provides the much needed care for those in need in our community.”

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC operates 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, Pennsylvania and 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.