The teenage gunman who last May opened fire at a Buffalo, N.Y., Tops Markets store in a predominantly African American neighborhood, killing 10 and wounding three, has pleaded guilty on Nov. 29 to first-degree murder and other state charges related to the racially motivated attack, including domestic terrorism. The hearing took place Nov. 28 at Erie County Court.
Payton Gendron, who was 18 at the time of the mass shooting, earlier pleaded not guilty after a grand jury returned an indictment in June, Reuters reported. Gendron now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole just on the domestic terrorism charge. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 15, according to published reports.
Reuters noted that Gendron was the first defendant in New York state ever to be indicted for a domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree. Police said that he left a racist manifesto online before the attack and livestreamed the massacre on social media.
A separate indictment returned in U.S. District Court in July charged Gendron with 27 federal hate crimes and firearms offenses, for which he could receive the death penalty if he’s convicted.
Since the shooting, Tops has reopened the store where the attack took place and teamed with the nonprofit National Compassion Fundto establish theBuffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund, with the aim of providing direct financial assistance to the survivors of those killed and people directly affected by the tragedy.The grocer contributed $500,000 to get the fund started.
Land O’Frost's Procurement Head Retiring After 50 Years
After serving Munster, Ind.-based Land O'Frost for nearly 50 years, Carl Abbott is retiring. The company’s longtime leader in procurement is exiting at the end of the year.
Abbott spent much of his career in the procurement function, most recently as VP of procurement and specialty meats. Among other accomplishments during his tenure, he created and deployed supply chain efficiencies that helped the family-owned company perform and grow and was known for his meat market forecasting.
“The past five decades with Land O’Frost have been so rewarding and a joyous experience for me, both personally and professionally,” said Abbott. “I’ve spent 49 years working with some of the hardest working people in the industry, and along the way developed lifelong friendships.”
The company’s CEO praised Abbott for his decades of contributions. “Carl is part of a core group of leaders that helped Land O’Frost grow and evolve to our position today as one of the top brands in the industry. I am truly grateful for all of Carl’s contributions to our business and culture throughout his distinguished career,” remarked David Van Eekeren. “I wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Abbott is succeeded by Land O'Frost's VP of procurement, Ryan Stone.
Kroger’s Board of Directors Honored for DEI Efforts
The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) has named the board of directors for The Kroger Co. among its top 20 finalists for the 2022 NACD Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Awards. Kroger’s board is being recognized for improving its governance and implementing forward-thinking diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices.
According to Kroger, its board of directors holds management accountable for delivering and executing the company's DEI goals and encourages investments to achieve change. The independent board’s body is 64% diverse by gender or race/ethnicity.
"We believe this work is never complete," said Ronald Sargent, Kroger’s lead board director and former Staples, Inc. chair and CEO. "Under the board's leadership, we have achieved important progress and we will continue to support investments and policies that improve diversity, equity and inclusion for Kroger associates and our communities. The Board is honored to be recognized by NACD."
"Kroger has worked to achieve great strides in creating an equitable boardroom," said NACD president and CEO Peter Gleason. "NACD is proud to honor the Kroger Board of Directors for advancing DE&I in their boardroom and throughout their organization."
Meijer is doing a bit of thanks and giving following the recent national holiday. The Michigan-based retailer announced that it is donating $1 million to local food pantries following a successful Thanksgiving shopping period.
Earlier this fall, Meijer committed to providing up to four million meals – one meal for every customer purchase during the week of Nov. 20-26 that included a qualifying Meijer store brand item. After shoppers met that goal of four million purchases, Meijer followed through with its pledge.
According to the company, the $1 million in funds will be divided equally between more than 250 food pantries around the Midwest that are taking part in Meijer’s Simply Give hunger relief program. "To have met our goal of 4 million meals by Thanksgiving Day is especially exciting because it speaks to our customers' commitment to feeding families in need this holiday season," remarked President and CEO Rick Keyes. "This Thanksgiving we're especially grateful for our customers' support of programs like this. The success of this program – and of Simply Give overall – is a direct reflection of the passion our customers share with us for hunger relief in our communities."
Since it was launched in 2008, the Simply Give program has generated $76 million for regional hunger relief organizations, Meijer reported.
Meijer is continuing its efforts to enhance food security throughout the holiday season. Shoppers can buy a $10 donation card in store or online, with contributions converted to Meijer food-only gift cards to be given to local food pantry partners. The grocery is double matching those Simply Give donation cards bought on Dec. 17.
The halo of a reputation that Trader Joe’s has for shopper affinity was confirmed in a new survey. The retailer took the first spot in a recent Brand Intimacy Study from marketing and research firm MBLM, which used an AI-driven analysis of 1.4 billion words used by consumers in discussions of hundreds of brands.
According to MBLM, Trader Joe’s is a leader in creating emotional connections with its customers. In the analysis, the retailer was associated with keywords such as “delicious” and “tasty” and earned top marks across the archetypes of identity, ritual and indulgence.
“Trader Joe’s is winning customer hearts and minds not only as the highest performing retailer in MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2022 Study, but also among the top 10 out of hundreds of brands across industries,” said Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM. “Its focus on unique offerings, affordable prices, friendly staff and creating its own unique ethos, is effectively connecting with customers, who see it as a preferred alternative to generic, anonymous grocery store brands.”
Costco ranked second on MBLM’s study, topping the expansive retail category that also included home improvement, beauty and clothing stores. Other food retailers faring well among shoppers include Amazon (No. 4), Whole Foods (No. 5), Aldi (No. 7), Walmart (No. 9), Target (No. 15) and 7-Eleven (No. 17).
On a broader level, MBLM’s analysis indicated that consumer loyalties to certain stores are strong. Since the onset of the pandemic, brand performance has increased by 19% and consumers have bolstered the brands with whom they are forming emotional connections by 9%.
The National Supermarket Association (NSA) has recognized Bravo Florida as Company of the Year during the NSA’s 11th annual Florida Gala, held Nov. 19 at the Trump National Doral. Bravo is a banner of Krasdale Foods, a 114-year-old family-owned business providing grocery distribution, merchandising and marketing to independent grocery store owners.
Since expanding to Florida in 2003, Krasdale has worked closely with independent retailers to serve the fast-growing and diverse Hispanic population in the Sunshine State. With a strong presence in such major markets as New York City and Florida, Bravo provides shoppers with targeted product offerings.
“We are proud of the recognition Bravo Supermarkets has received as Company of the Year by the National Supermarket Association Florida Chapter,” noted Krasdale President and COO Gus Lebiak. “Krasdale has set out to grow its Bravo banner in the Sunshine State over the years by bringing on fantastic partners like wholesaler UNFI that supply grocery, dairy and frozen products, along with separate meat and produce suppliers. It is gratifying to see that the hard work and dedication to serving Floridian communities has resulted in such an honor.”
Founded in 1989 by Hispanic entrepreneurs, the Flushing, N.Y.-based NSA represents the interests of independent supermarket owners in urban areas across the East Coast, Mid-Atlantic region and Florida, providing marketing strategies to corporations seeking to capture the booming Hispanic market.
Based in White Plains, N.Y., Krasdale has expanded throughout the Northeast and Florida with store banners that include, in addition to Bravo, CTown, Aim, Market Fresh, Shop Smart Food Markets and Stop 1 Food Mart. Currently, Krasdale banners support more than 500 stores, including 50-plus Bravo Supermarkets in Florida.