News Briefs


Naturipe Farms Focuses on Premium With New Position

John Johnston

Naturipe Farms, a century-old, farmer-owned producer of berries and avocados, has created and filled a new position of director of premium products. John Johnston is taking on that role, bringing more than 15 years of food and agribusiness experience to Naturipe.

Among other suppliers, Johnston has worked for Driscoll’s, Chiquita, Fresh Express and H.J. Heinz. He is also an active volunteer member and leader at the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

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In the new premium product position, Johnston will work to leverage Naturipe’s grower/owner investments in proprietary genetics. He will oversee current premium products like Mighty Blues, Mighty Reds and Greenhouse Strawberries and guide the development of new offerings.

“I am extremely excited to bring John on board as he is going to be an outstanding addition to the best berry team in the world,” said Jim Roberts, president of sales. “His focus on premium products will help further differentiate Naturipe Farms from our competitors and provide a return on the investments our owners have made on new genetics focused on flavor and quality.” Johnston will report directly to Roberts. 

In addition to premium products, Naturipe Farms markets a variety of fresh, frozen and value-added items produced by a diverse grower base. Founded in 1917, the company is based in Salinas, Calif.


Erewhon Opens 9th Store in SoCal


Independent organic grocer Erewhon is readying its latest store in California. The new location at 9300 Culver Boulevard in downtown Culver City known for its film studios and growing tech hub will open on March 22.

Erewhon, which holds Certified B Corp and Certified Organic Retailer accreditations, has long staked a claim in the region for its organic offerings and commitment to supporting local growers and sustainable agricultural practices. This is the indie retailer’s ninth store in area and the second largest in terms of its footprint.

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In addition to a wide assortment of fresh products, including produce, meat, dairy and eggs, the Culver City Erewhon carries several grab-and-go and foodservice-at-retail options. The location includes a juice and coffee bar, sushi selection and fresh soup bar, along with Erewhon’s signature Organic Tonic Bar and The Organic Café.

“We are excited and glad to be part of Culver City,” said CEO Tony Antoci. “We are proud to serve this community and to extend our ethos as a company to a city that is innovative, environmentally conscious and growing.”

Erewhon Market was founded more than 50 years ago and is making plans beyond this Culver City outpost. The family-owned grocer shared that it is working on its 10th location in Pasadena, with a planned opening later this year. In addition to operating stores in the Southern California region, the retailer offers national shipping.


Dollar Tree Pauses Egg Sales

Dollar Tree

As food price inflation persists across the U.S., Dollar Tree Inc. has discontinued egg sales at its Dollar Tree banner stores, according to a Reuters report. Though Dollar Tree-owned Family Dollar stores will continue selling eggs, Dollar Tree’s move is expected to last until the fall. 

Eggs, which have been in the spotlight for price surges, saw prices as high as $7.37 per dozen in California in January. Prices did dip 6.7% in February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data. The general meat, poultry, fish and eggs category declined 0.1% over the month, which was the first decrease in that index since December 2021.

During its fourth-quarter and full fiscal year 2022 earnings report earlier this month, Dollar Tree announced that it will continue expanding on its investment in food. The company plans to add 16,000 cooler doors in 2023 to accommodate more frozen and refrigerated items, with a goal of having 30 doors per store.

Dollar Tree, which had better-than-expected financial results for fourth quarter and FY22, is also expected to introduce more store-branded products in the back half of this year.

Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree operated 16,293 stores under the Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree Canada banners across 48 states and five Canadian provinces as of Oct. 29. The company is No. 29 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.  


National Retail Solutions Opts for Place Exchange’s PerView Solution

POS Machine With NRSPay Teaser

National Retail Solutions (NRS), operator of a nationwide point-of-sale (POS) network for independent retailers, is now using the Place Exchange PerView offering to deliver reach, frequency and impression measurement for its more than 22,000 digital out-of-home (OOH) displays.

Place Exchange’s PerView measurement solution, developed in accordance with the Out of Home Advertising Association of America OOH Impression Measurement Guidelines, offers media owners like NRS the ability to measure display-level reach, frequency and hourly impressions for both digital and static displays across all OOH venues and formats, whether they’re sold programmatically or direct. Additionally, PerView provides media owners with dynamic, up-to-date measurement that updates frequently with real-world changes in consumer traffic. 

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“PerView gives us an evolving view of measurement at the individual screen level,” said Eli Korn, COO of Newark, N.J.-based NRS, a subsidiary of IDT Corp. “We now have dynamic measures of reach, frequency and impressions – both in aggregate and for different consumer segments – allowing us to better plan, sell and manage our inventory against the needs of our buyers.”

“We built PerView to address the challenges that buyers and sellers were experiencing in obtaining reliable, up-to-date measures of reach, frequency, and impressions across different OOH venues and formats,” noted  Ari Buchalter, CEO of New York-based Place Exchange. “We’re excited to see how adoption of this product by NRS and others has helped to scale spending in OOH, both through programmatic and direct channels.” 


Harmons and Mollie Stone’s Latest to Roll Out Retail Rewards Box

Mollie Stone's Bunny James Retail Rewards Box Teaser

Harmons and Mollie Stone’s Markets have become the most recent food retailers to offer the Retail Rewards Box from Salt Lake City-based startup Bunny James. Designed to deliver a personal and engaging shopping experience for retailers’ most valuable customers, the box enables retailers to transcend the limitations of traditional in-person demos and expensive mailer coupon programs, as it provides a risk-free way for customers to try new food and beverage products while providing feedback and data to retailers and brands.

“We believe in the power of gifting psychology, and the Retail Rewards Box is the ultimate demonstration of this,” noted Bunny James CEO Lonny James. “Our program creates amazing customer loyalty, increases cart size for top shoppers, and provides retailers and brands with invaluable customer data.”

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“Every quarter, our highest-tier, most loyal customers will automatically receive a box at checkout containing a curated assortment of 10 to 15 sample-size items,” said Rich Gillmore, VP of center store for Encino, Calif.-based Gelson’s Markets, an operator of 27 stores in Southern California that has offered the box since 2021. “The response from our customers has been extremely positive. We are excited to do this for our loyal customers and introduce them to something new while providing our vendors the opportunities to get their products to a very targeted audience of our best customers.”

Bunny James, which provides a turnkey service, customizing its program for each retailer, currently plans to expand east, aiming to add four to six key retailers in the next 12 months.

Mill Valley, Calif.-based Mollie Stone’s Marketsoperates nine stores in Northern California, while West Valley City, Utah-based Harmons has 20 grocery locations and a flower shop.


PCC 1st Community-Owned Co-Op to Team With DoorDash

PCC DD logo

Community has long been a two-way street at PCC Community Markets – and even more so now. The Seattle-area cooperative is the first community-owned grocer to be available on the DoorDash Marketplace for neighborhood delivery.

The new partnership between PCC and DoorDash will provide on-demand delivery from 15 of the retailer’s locations. Shoppers can access delivery through DoorDash’s DashPass membership program, which unlocks access to a variety of food providers. Deliveries from PCC are free for eligible orders of $35 or more.

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Through the DoorDash app or website, customers can order a variety of products from PCC, including certified organic produce, organic meat and seafood, bulk items and everyday essentials.

As they kicks off the service, PCC and DoorDash are offering 30% off orders when shoppers use promo code PCC30 on their first order of $50 or more.

DoorDash has continued to expand collaborations with grocers as they seek to meet consumer needs in the omnichannel. In February, the delivery company announced that it is teaming up with ALDI to offer on-demand delivery to nearly all ALDI locations across 38 states. The company estimates that more than 98% of DoorDash consumers in the U.S. have access to a non-restaurant store on its platform.

Celebrating its 70th year in 2023, the Seattle-based community-owned food market PCC operates 16 stores in the Puget Sound area, including the cities of Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle. The Seattle stores are in the neighborhoods of Ballard, Central District, Columbia City, Downtown, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle. The co-op also plans to open a new store in Madison Valley.