Roger Dierberg, a former executive at Dierbergs Markets, died Wednesday, Jan. 18 in St. Louis, Mo., at the age of 88. The third-generation grocer and former EVP of Dierbergs joined the company in 1969 after working at McDonnell Aircraft. A cousin and business partner to Chairman Bob Dierberg, he helped the company grow from two to 20 stores during his tenure.
“We always checked in with each other on important business decisions,” noted Bob Dierberg. “That’s why we had such a successful business relationship. It was a mutual relationship of respect for each other’s opinions.”
Roger Dierberg graduated with an engineering degree from Purdue University and earned his MBA from Washington University. Later in life, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the Washington University Olin School of Business.
Beyond Dierbergs, he held leadership roles of increasing responsibility and influence at the state and national levels in the grocery industry, eventually becoming one of the founding executive committee members of the Washington, D.C.-based National Grocers Association, and its chairman in 1985. In 1995, he was honored as the Missouri Grocers Association Grocer of the Year.
He also established a long-standing partnership between Dierbergs and Operation Food Search in St. Louis, and led philanthropic efforts for FICAH (Food Industry Crusade Against Hunger) until his retirement in 2004.
The service is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 23, at King of Kings Lutheran Church, in Chesterfield, Mo. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to The Lutheran High School Association, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services, or to a charity of your choice.
Chesterfield, Mo.-based Dierbergs employs more than 4,000 associates at 24 St. Louis metropolitan-area stores, and one location at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks.
Amazon Ending AmazonSmile Charitable Giving Program
After nearly 10 years, Amazon is closing out its AmazonSmile program, which lets customers support their favorite charities with each purchase they make through the e-retailer. The program will officially end on Feb. 20.
According to an email sent to AmazonSmile customers, the charitable giving program “has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped. With so many eligible organizations — more than 1 million globally — our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.”
Charities that have been a part of the program will be given a one-time donation equivalent to three months of what they earned in 2022 via AmazonSmile, and they can still accrue donations until Feb. 20. Charities can continue to seek support from Amazon customers by creating wish lists.
Amazon still plans to support a wide range of charitable programs, including Housing Equity Fund, Amazon Future Engineer, Community Delivery Program, Amazon Disaster Relief and other community giving.
Independent food retailer Kowalski’s Market is expanding in the Twin Cities with the planned opening of its 12th location in 2024. The grocer will take over a 34,000-square-foot space, previously vacated by Herberger’s department store, in the Southdale Center mall in Edina, Minn., according to local reports.
CEO Kris Kowalski Christiansen told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal that the store will likely open in the spring of 2024 after it was initially stalled by the pandemic.
"Southdale and the communities it serves have a vibrancy and energy that are well-suited for Kowalski's and our customers," said Mike Oase, Kowalski's COO. "We're really looking forward to operating in this lively retail environment."
It was also confirmed that plans for another store in the Minneapolis suburb of Roseville are no longer moving forward.
More than half of American households believe that grocery pricesare straining their budgets, according to a nationwide survey by marketingresearch company Decision Analyst Inc. The firm recently conducted a study titled “Consumer Foresight: Beyond The Pandemic, Into Economic Uncertainty.” Among the study’s areas of focus was the effect of inflated grocery prices on consumers.
Asked how they were dealing with the higher prices, 57% of respondents said that they were buying less food, 52% said that they were buying less expensive store brands, and 48% said that they were buying less expensive national brands. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said that they were shopping at less expensive grocery stores.
When asked about specific shopping strategies, 44% said that they used a store’s coupons, and 38% said they shopped at multiple stores to compare the best deals. Thirty-two percent of respondents said that they used manufacturers’ coupons, and 36% said that they used a loyalty program to get discounted prices.
“In 2022, inflation hit American consumers in a way most had neverexperienced,” said Felicia Rogers, EVP at Arlington, Texas-based DecisionAnalyst. “Rising costs had a notable impact on nine in 10 households. Notonly were people forced to take a hard look at their discretionary spending,but about half of households in the U.S. had to make hard decisions aboutessentials like groceries, transportation and health care. There’s noquestion 2022 was a tough year. All eyes will, no doubt, be on the economyand how it impacts consumer spending this year.”
“Consumer Foresight: Beyond The Pandemic, Into Economic Uncertainty” was a nationwide survey conducted six times in 2022, from January to November. Every other month, it surveyed about 1,000 consumers balanced by gender, age and geography.
Albertsons Cos. will hold its inaugural Innovation Launchpad competition during Natural Products Expo West in California on March 8. The retailer is looking for innovative small and independent brands in the food, beverage and pet categories, with a focus on areas including low sugar or low carb, all-natural, plant-based products, functional beverages, global flavors, healthy prepared meals and premium pet items.
Applications for the competition are being accepted now through Jan. 31 via RangeMe, with 60 chosen businesses being given the opportunity to compete live at Expo West. The top three winners will receive prizes valued at $170,000 including cash, services and industry recognition, and will also be considered for distribution in Albertsons banner stores.
“We envision the Albertsons Innovation Launchpad competition to be a fun and engaging way to connect with up-and-coming entrepreneurs and brands,” said Jen Saenz, EVP and chief merchandising officer at Albertsons. “We’re always looking to provide our customers fresh, innovative products and new meal ideas. Through this process, we are hoping to discover unique items that can be considered for distribution in any one of our banner stores.”
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates more than 2,200 retail stores with 1,700-plus pharmacies, 402 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. It operates stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia under 24 well-known banners, among them Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market. Albertsons is No. 9 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Weis Markets has promoted Tonya Woytowich to the position of director of general merchandise (GM) and health and beauty care (HBC), reporting to Mike Gross, VP of center store sales and merchandising. In this position, Woytowich will oversee the Weis’ HBC, GM, seasonal GM, and grocery nonedible (pet and greeting cards) categories.
Before her promotion, Woytowich was general merchandising category manager, in which role she oversaw the development and launch of various projects, including the GM seasonal program, expanded private-brand nonfood assortments and the enhancement of Weis’ pet accessories program. Prior to joining the company in 2016, she worked at Worcester, Mass.-based Imperial Distributors.
Weis also recently promoted Andrea Bauman to the position of director of marketing and Maria Rizzo to the role of VP of advertising and marketing.