News Briefs


Pod Foods Names New President

Michael Schall

Grocery platform Pod Foods has tapped grocery and CPG veteran Mike Schall to help lead the organization as its new president. Schall, who has more than 40 years of industry experience, will help lead the Austin, Texas-based Pod Foods through its next phase of growth.

Most recently, Schall served as managing director of the food and beverage practice at financial services and consulting firm FocalPoint Partners. His grocery experience includes a role as senior principal  of global growth and business development at Whole Foods Market, where he guided the company on a range of business initiatives, including investments, strategic partnerships, new ventures, store brand product development, sustainability initiatives and operational improvements. 

[Read more: "Pod Foods Capital Launches"]

"Joining forces with Mike marks an inflection point in our journey," said Larissa Russell, co-founder and CEO of Pod Foods. "Industry leaders are acknowledging the magnitude of change and competitive advantage of our tech-driven solutions that provide much needed speed and transparency to the supply chain."

Pod Foods, designed to help brands and retailers connect directly and transact with full-service logistics, is backed by investors including Moment Ventures, M12 (Microsoft's Venture Fund), XRC Labs and Interstate Fusion Fund. The company recently added Sprouts Farmers Market to its platform.


FMI Promotes Dana Graber to Associate General Counsel

Dana Graber Teaser

FMI – The Food Industry Association has elevated Dana Graber to associate general counsel and senior director, legal and regulatory affairs. In her updated role at FMI, she focuses on labeling and on developing strategies for “minimally burdensome and easily implementable” rules for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Arlington, Va.-based group reported.

“Anyone who has had the opportunity to work alongside Dana knows that she is an indispensable member of the FMI team. She is a talented attorney who does a tremendous job helping our members navigate complex and demanding legal and regulatory responsibilities,” said Stephanie Harris, the organization’s chief regulatory officer and general counsel.

[Read more: "Husband of FMI's CEO Passes Away"]

Graber has worked for FMI for nearly seven years, joining as senior counsel on the government relations team. She previously worked as an associate attorney with the Keller and Heckman firm, advising clients on food and food packaging regulations, and spent four years on the consumer packaging industry before earning her law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in packaging science from Clemson University in South Carolina.


eGrowcery, Card Isle Offer Customized Greeting Cards

Card Isle eGrowcery Teaser

White-label e-commerce platform eGrowcery has integrated Card Isle’s personalized greeting card solution into the eGrowcery digital shopping service to increase overall shopper engagement.

“eGrowcery is in the business of helping our retail customers differentiate themselves from larger chains,” noted said Patrick Hughes, CEO of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based eGrowcery. “By partnering with Card Isle and similar services that grow the retailer’s market footprint, we’re making it easier for that operator’s customers to do even more shopping at their stores. 

[Read more: "eGrowcery, AdAdapted Team to Grow Retailers’ Digital Footprint"]

The partnership adds a curated range of greeting cards to retailers’ e-commerce sites. Printed on demand at stores, the cards offer convenience and customization. The printed cards can be picked up at the stores or delivered.

“Both Card Isle and eGrowcery are designed to truly engage consumers by enabling them to shop the way they want to shop,” said David Henry, COO and co-founder of Blacksburg, Va.-based Card Isle, which has brought to market such internet-connected greeting card technologies as kiosks, printers and e-commerce products. “Integrating our cards into the eGrowcery platform will help both companies and their mutual retail customers flourish.” 

The physical greeting card market in the U.S. is estimated to reach $13.4 billion in the next five years, according to New York-based 


B&R Stores Names VP - Store Operations

B&R Stores Nick Kelso Teaser

B&R Stores Inc., an independent grocer based in Lincoln, Neb., has promoted Nick Kelso to the position of VP - store operations. In his new role, Kelso will oversee the operations of the company’s 33 stores in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Kelso also serves on B&R’s executive committee.

Bringing more than 23 years of experience at B&R to his latest position, Kelso joined the company as a clerk in Omaha and steadily rose through the ranks. During his time at the grocer, he has held various leadership roles, among them store director and district manager for both the Russ’s Market and Super Saver groups of stores. Kelso has been instrumental in the implementation of such initiatives as computer-assisted ordering, and he played a key role in the successful acquisition of C&R Markets in Missouri.

[Read more: "Foxtrot Elevates Liz Williams to CEO"]

“I am deeply honored and grateful for this opportunity to serve as VP - store operations for the company,” said Kelso. “I am committed to upholding B&R Stores’ values and leading our extraordinary team of employees to deliver exceptional experiences for our customers.”

“I am proud to say Nick is fully qualified to take on additional leadership responsibilities for the company,” added B&R President Mark Griffin. “As the embodiment of a servant leader, Nick knows in his heart, it is the company's people who matter the most. Nick is a true motivator of people who inspires those he leads to perform at their best.”

Founded in 1964 by Russ and Anita Raybould, family-owned B&R has grown to consist of several supermarket banners: Russ’s Market, Super Saver, Apple Market, Allen’s, Cash Saver, C&R Markets, and Joe’s Market. The company operates in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.


Kroger Making Major Contributions This Earth Day

Kroger teaser 2

The Kroger Co. is synching up with Mother Nature as it celebrates Earth Day for the entire month of April. The grocer’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is making contributions to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Arbor Day Foundation, and also supporting efforts to increase tree canopies in communities impacted by extreme weather.

Through April 30, customers can round up their purchases at checkout to benefit WWF, with the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation matching those donations up to $50,000. All donations made during the month of April will go directly to WWF, benefitting its conservation and sustainability efforts around the globe.

[Read more: "How Kroger Is Using Technology to Enhance the Customer, Associate Experience"]

"At Kroger, we support healthy, thriving communities during Earth Month and every day through our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste impact plan," said Keith Dailey, group VP of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer. "We are proud to join forces with WWF and the Arbor Day Foundation to celebrate Earth Month with our communities and advance our shared mission to protect our planet for generations to come."

A $50,000 contribution to the Arbor Day Foundation will support the distribution of hundreds of trees in both Shreveport, La., and Bowling Green, Ky., which were each recently struck by natural disasters. Expanding the tree canopy in those areas will help combat impacts from events such as hurricanes and flooding.

Serving 11 million customers daily through a digital shopping experience and retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Rite Aid Expands Relationship With Afterpay

Rite Aid Chooses Within as Digital Media Agency of Record

Drug store chain Rite Aid and “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) solution provider Afterpay have expanded their relationship to offer a nationwide flexible payment option allowing consumers to make four interest-free payments at more than 2,000 Rite Aid locations for all household necessities, including health and beauty, baby care, and grocery items. The companies’ partnership was first revealed last May. 

“Expanding our partnership with Afterpay allows more customers to obtain offerings that support their whole-health needs while providing financial flexibility,” said Justin Mennen, Rite Aid’s EVP, chief digital and technology officer. “We’re consistently leveraging technology to complement the busy lives of our customers and improve the health-and-wellness needs of our communities.” 

In the United States, Amazon, CVS, Kroger, Target and Walgreens also accept payments via Afterpay. 

Consumers can shop for popular brands and deals by downloading the Afterpay app on iOS and Android. Melbourne, Australia-based Afterpay, which has a U.S. office in San Francisco, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Block Inc.

Philadelphia-based Rite Aid operates 2,300-plus retail pharmacy locations across 17 states. The company is No. 21 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Amazon, Kroger, Walgreens, Target and CVS are Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7, respectively, on PG’s list.