News Briefs


Consumer Brands Association Names New COO

Stacy P CBA Teaser

The Consumer Brands Association (CBA) has promoted Stacy Papadopoulos – who served as interim CEO during the organization's search for a new leader – to COO and general counsel. She moved up from her most recent role as general counsel and SVP of operations and initiatives.

Papadopoulos joined CBA (formerly the Grocers Manufacturers Association) in 2019 and steadily expanded her scope of responsibilities on the executive team. In addition to leading the legal and operations functions and managing finance, facilities, IT and human resources, she also gained oversight of the regulatory affairs and technical affairs functions last year. In her new capacity, she will continue to oversee operations and expand CBA’s ability to address legal issues facing the CPG industry.  

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Her background includes a tenure as general counsel and SVP at the American Gaming Association.  Papadopoulos was a partner at the Potomac Law Group in Washington, D.C. as well.

“Stacy is a great partner, a respected leader across the organization and everyone who works with her recognizes the important role she plays on our leadership team. This is a well-deserved recognition for the value that she provides to our organization, members and to me, personally. I am thrilled to see Stacy continue to grow in this empowered position,” said David Chavern, president of the Arlington, Va.-based CBA.


Contemporary, Sustainable Dental Care Products Win Pop Up Grocer Contest


One might say she brushed aside the competition. The winner of this year’s Pop Up Grocer Fund, which supports startup brand founders, is a dental school graduate who has created a line of sustainable, eye-catching oral care products.

Onaedo Achebe received the honor from Pop Up Grocer for her line of Minti Oral Care items that include corn fiber floss, toothpaste tablets sold in tins and compostable bamboo brushes. “When reviewing the many incredible applications for The Pop Up Grocer Fund, Minti stood out as a brand that represents everything we value the most,” the company shared in the announcement.

[Read more: "Pop Up Grocer Settles Down in NYC"]

Pop Up Grocer launched the program as a way to support founders who are “under-resourced and under-represented.” The company donates a portion of total sales to the fund.

As the 2023 winner, Achebe will receive services from Pop Up Grocer’s team and monies to help bolster her enterprise. Her Minti offerings – which launched in 2022 – will be placed in a future Pop Up Grocer activation.

In the announcement, Achebe said that she is grateful for the opportunity to expand her brand as a way to reinvigorate a mature category with consumer-friendly and eco-friendly dental health items. “One of the biggest challenges I face as a small business owner is finding the resources to invest in new technologies, expand my product line and reach  wider audience. This grant will enable me to do all of those things and more,” she declared.

While Pop Up Grocer is known for its traveling locations in different cities, the company recently opened its first permanent store in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.


Festival Foods Increases Employee Discount to 15%

Festival Foods Teaser

Family- and employee-owned Festival Foods is boosting its associate discount to 15%. This discount is available to all associates, both full- and part-time, along with members of their immediate households.

“We want to help our teammates stretch their dollars when it comes to buying the groceries they need to feed themselves and their families,” said Mark Skogen, Festival Foods president and CEO. “A higher discount frees up some crucial dollars so they can use them on other areas of their budgets.”

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The retailer, which previously offered associates a 10% discount, said that the savings are good on both full-price and sale items. Associate purchases also add up to gas savings: For every $10 spent at Festival Foods, associates (and customers) can earn a penny off fuel purchases at Kwik Trip locations through participation in the Festival Foods Gas Rewards Program.

“We are thrilled to increase our discount and give our team members – who are the foundation of our success – another reason to love working for a winning Wisconsin retailer,” Skogen said. “Right now, many companies are looking to cut costs, and that often means reducing or eliminating the associate discount – we wanted to go in a different direction.”

Festival Foods operates 40 stores across Wisconsin. The grocer will open its newest store in Chippewa Falls, Wis., later this year.

De Pere, Wis.-based Festival Foods is No. 93 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Bowery Farming Hires Chief Sales Officer

Bowery Matt Williams Teaser

Vertical-farming company Bowery Farming is continuing to grow its senior leadership team with the addition of Matt Williams in the role of chief sales officer. Joining New York-based Bowery at a time of accelerated growth – in just the first few months, the company has added 400 new retail locations – Williams will lead its continued rapid retail footprint expansion. 

Williams brings extensive industry experience across produce, specialty foods, perishable, frozen and more to his latest role. He comes to Bowery from Paramount, Calif.-based Tattooed Chef, a plant-based frozen food company, where he held the role of chief growth officer. Previously, he was president at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, SVP at Dean Foods and VP of national accounts at Odwalla, as well as serving as a board member for Organic Valley Fresh. Williams earned a B.A. at the Pennsylvania State University and a master’s in food industry management from the USC Marshall School of Business. 

[Read more: "Bowery Farming Hires SVP of Sales"]

“Bowery is a fast-growing advocate for climate-smart foods, and a company that I’ve long admired,” noted Williams. “I’m excited to join the team at such a pivotal moment. As Bowery expands its geographic farm locations, retail footprint and grows its product portfolio, demonstrating leadership within [controlled-environment agriculture], I’m committed to supporting the company’s mission to reimagine the future of food.”

Bowery’s pesticide-free produce is now available at more than 1,500 stores and e-commerce partners. The company also just launched a new advertising campaign, running through April 30, that demonstrates how its produce is grown “smarter.” The campaign features outdoor placements in high-traffic locations in New York City and Washington, D.C.


Weis Markets Names Director of Private Brands

Alison Gregas Weis Markets Teaser

Weis Markets has promoted Alison Gregas to the position of director of private brands. In this role, Gregas is responsible for new product development and the day-to-day management of the grocer’s 6,500-item private-brand program, including its Weis Quality, Weis By Nature and Weis Organics products. She reports to Bob Gleeson, SVP of merchandising and marketing.

[Read more: "Weis Markets' Positive Momentum in Q4 Contributes to Strong FY22"]

A resident of Bloomsburg, Pa., with her husband, Gregas began working with Weis Markets as a business manager for Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon Worldwide, the company’s in-house private-brand brokerage company. She came to work at Weis Markets in 2020 as a private brands sourcing specialist and was subsequently promoted to private brands manager, the role she held before her promotion. 

Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis Markets operates 197 stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia. The company is No. 61 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Weis as a top regional grocer for 2023.


Connecticut Lawmakers Deep-Six Bill on Wine Sales at Grocery


A few months after voters in Colorado narrowly approved wine sales at grocery and convenience stores, a bill that would have done the same in Connecticut went nowhere. This week, legislation allowing wine merchandising in Connecticut grocery stores was quashed in the committee phase, as state lawmakers opted not to put the matter to a vote.

As in Colorado, there was stiff opposition from liquor store proprietors in the state who claimed that the competition would impact their sales and labor. Before the proposal went to committee, grocers in Connecticut had worked hard to get their message across that choice is important in a marketplace.

Wayne Pesce, president of the Connecticut Food Association, said that the news was disheartening, as retail and consumer groups put in a lot of work to get the bill moved forward. “We know an overwhelming majority of the public supports the sale of wine in supermarkets. While the votes are not there in this particular legislative committee at this time, we believe that in the future when the issue comes to a vote in the full legislature, this consumer friendly bill will pass,” he declared in a March 21 statement.

To Pesce’s point, consumers have expressed interest in being able to pick up wine on their grocery store trips. According to a nonpartisan analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, 82% of the general public support changing the law to allow wine sales at food retailers.

Currently, wine can be sold in 42 states, including four states in New England.