News Briefs


Restaurant Vet Joins The Fresh Market

nathan baldwin

The Fresh Market, Inc. has named Nathan Baldwin as its VP of merchandising and foodservice. The move comes at a time when the grocer is expanding its foodservice business and offerings, including a series of budget-friendly Little Big Meals that can feed a family of four. 

Baldwin brings an extensive foodservice background to his new role in the grocery sector, thanks to a 20-year tenure at Chili’s Bar & Grill. There, he worked his way up from a restaurant manager position to several corporate roles; prior to joining The Fresh Market, he served as the restaurant chain’s VP of restaurant services. He earned a degree in restaurant and hotel management from The University of New Mexico.

[Read now: "How S-Commerce Is Driving Growth at The Fresh Market"]

At The Fresh Market, he reports to Chief Merchandising Officer Dan Portnoy. Baldwin’s responsibilities include leading all aspects of the grocer’s kitchens, spanning the functions of design, workflow, operations, product selection, merchandising and profit and loss accountability.

“Nathan brings a wealth of experience in the restaurant industry to The Fresh Market, which will be key in helping us grow our store concept moving forward,” said Portnoy. “We look forward his contributions in the years to come.”

Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market, operating 159 stores in 22 states, is No. 78 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Foxtrot Widens Footprint in D.C. Area

Foxtrot interior

The contemporary convenience chain Foxtrot is continuing to grow its presence in Washington, D.C. The retailer is opening its latest location on Jan. 31 at 888 17th Street NW in the Farragut Square neighborhood, shortly after unveiling a store in Arlington, Va.

Befitting its surroundings, the Farragut Square location is designed to meet the needs of nearby office workers and residents. The site includes a space for lunch meetings and coffee and snack breaks and features an array of chef-made salads, bowls and meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner served in the in-store café and available in the grab-and-go case. The grocery assortment includes 150 local products from more than 50 local makers, according to the company. 

As with other Foxtrot stores, ready-made selections and convenient products are complemented by a strong e-commerce business via the retailer’s native app. Delivery is available in as little as 30 minutes and pickup is ready in as little as five minutes.

Foxtrot has also become known in its markets for in-store events and experiences, including happy hours and pizza and wine nights. The Farragut Square store will get the party started with a grand opening celebration on Jan. 31 from 4 to 7 p.m., featuring live music, food, drinks and Foxtrot swag. Store visitors who download and use the Foxtrot App during opening week will receive a gift while supplies last. 

Foxtrot operates six other locations in the area. In total, there are 24 Foxtrot stores in the U.S., including Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C., with more in the works for 2023. 


Schnucks Hires HR Vet to Fill Chief People Officer Role

Schnucks’ Donation Helps Mobile Grocery Store to Serve St. Louis Food Deserts

Human resources veteran Jada D. Reese has been tapped by Schnuck Markets, Inc. to serve as its new chief people officer, effective Jan. 30. In the role, Reese will be responsible for overseeing HR department functions including associate recruitment; retention; labor relations; training and development; diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; and culture and values integration.  

Prior to Schnucks, Reese held human resources leadership roles at BJC Healthcare, Express Scripts and Anheuser-Busch, and most recently served as SVP of human resources at Enterprise Bank & Trust. At Schnucks, she will also be a member of the company’s 10-member strategy team of executives that leads the overall direction and execution of the company.

[Read more: "Schnucks Expands Flexforce Employment Option Across Operating Region"]

“As we live our mission to nourish people’s lives, we know it begins with our most important resource – our nearly 12,000 teammates,” said Schnucks Chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck. “Jada’s broad industry leadership experience in human resources, along with her values-based approach to empowering teams, will help us to position our teammates for success in everything we do to serve our customers.”

Operating 114 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, Schnucks employs 12,000 associates and is No. 64 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


BrainBox AI Expands Energy-Efficient Climate Solution to Multi-Site Retailers

CO2 Teaser

BrainBox AI, a provider of autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) for commercial real estate, is expanding its product offering to meet multi-site retail industry’s demand for carbon emission reduction and energy efficiency. As brick-and-mortar stores are being called on to lead the way in the green real estate revolution, BrainBox AI addresses the needs of retailers by offering a solution that can meet or exceed a company’s sustainability targets.

“Retail supply chains are responsible for 25% of global GHG emissions, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Our product offering enables retailers to quickly and efficiently reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint so that they can become part of the climate change solution,” said Sam Ramadori, CEO of Montreal, Canada-based BrainBox AI. “When it comes to fighting climate change, speed, scale and impact matter. Here, our mission is to empower brick-and-mortar retailers and warehouses to reduce their carbon emissions and play a critical role in adopting energy efficient climate solutions to address the GHGs they are emitting.”

[Read more: “The ROI of Supermarket Sustainability”]

Built on the foundation of BrainBox AI’s core solution, this new offering for multi-site retailers can be connected to an existing building management system or via wireless cloud-connected, AI-enabled thermostat upgrades.

A number of grocers, discount retailers and big box stores have already signed up for BrainBox AI’s technology. To date, BrainBox AI says it has decreased its multi-site retail clients’ HVAC electricity spend by an average 26% and gas spend by an average 34%, enabling an overall average 28% reduction in the HVAC emissions of their buildings. 

According to the company, retailers will also experience up to a 15% reduction in maintenance costs, up to a 50% extension of equipment service life, and a 60% improvement in comfort level for customers and associates.


ShopRite Elevates Digital Health-and-Wellness Solutions

ShopRite app

ShopRite is expanding its health and wellness program, adding a personalization feature to its online platform. A series of new dietary lifestyle filters on its website and app will enable users to browse products and scroll recipes based on their unique needs.

Part of ShopRite’s Well Everyday portfolio, the new shopping filters are designed to help consumers optimize their nutrition and food choices. Current filters include dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, organic, kosher, diabetes-friendly, keto-friendly, low-sodium and low-sugar, among others.

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“We are proud to unveil new features on our website to help better serve our customers and make it easier for them to achieve their health and wellness goals,” said Natalie Menza Crowe, director of marketing and wellness for ShopRite. “Whether customers are looking to make a lifestyle change or find convenient ways to shop for their needs, our registered dietitians are a valuable resource to help them live well. We look forward to continuing to serve our communities and provide convenient, on-trend solutions and inspiration.”

Online customers can access the retailer’s health and wellness solutions in one button. Other features on the ShopRite site and app include downloadable recipe books, meal ideas, resource guides and local events, often geared around themes.

The digital offerings complement the grocer’s other health and wellness programs. For example, ShopRite offers in-store dietitian coaching and classes.

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 in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. 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.


Grocery TV Bolsters Retail Media Suite

Sanitizing station display

As part of its full-store expansion plans, retail media network Grocery TV has acquired Mediaworks Advertising Solutions, a digital out-of-home network that works with grocers around the country. The Minneapolis, Minn.-based Mediaworks is unique in that it offers a sanitizing wipe-dispensing base with a 32-inch display on top, a cleanliness feature that is important to shoppers in a decade defined by the global pandemic.

Mediaworks’ solutions are in place at banners including Schnucks, Cub and Lunds & Byerlys. Going forward, the system will become part of Grocery TV’s Entrance product line. The company reports that it will be installing the stations in all of its network stores by the end of this year.

[Read more: "Grocery TV Appoints Digital Media Veteran as 1st CRO"]

According to Marlow Nickell, co-founder and CEO of Austin, Texas-based Grocery TV, the sanitizer stations help stores and brands reach shoppers with dynamic video ads and enable grocers to update their stores and potentially boost incremental revenue. “The Mediaworks acquisition is part of our full-store product expansion, which gives retailers and brands an all-in-one platform to reach shoppers throughout the store and at all stages of the buying journey,” he remarked.

As part of the deal, Mediaworks’ president Brian Swanson will join Grocery TV in a new role to oversee the transition the business and focus on expanding its retailer network.