News Briefs


Minnesota Welcomes Its 5th Hugo’s Family Marketplace

Hugo's Fosston MN Teaser

Hugo’s Family Marketplace, along with a Hugo’s Family Pharmacy, the Bistro 300 eatery, Hugo’s Wine & Spirits, and a Hugo’s Xpress gas station and convenience store, is celebrating a grand opening in Fosston, Minn., May 27-June 16, marking the chain’s 5th store in the Gopher State. The independent grocer purchased the Fosston site last November. 

During those three weeks, customers can register at the Fosston store for a chance to win a Samsung Smart TV or a Pit Boss Smoker with an Ultimate Meat Bundle. All customers can register at any Hugo’s Family Marketplace for a chance to win more prizes. Hugo’s Wine & Spirits and Hugo’s Xpress are also giving away great prizes. Samples are available in every department, with all Hugo’s Family Marketplace locations joining in the celebration.

At an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Fosston location on June 9 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., in addition to the samples and prize giveaways, there will be 25-cent root beer floats and cake and ice cream, an outdoor beer garden at the Bistro with beer tasting, and even the Pillsbury Dough Boy on hand to pose for photos with customers  

“We are beyond excited to join the Fosston community,” said Hugo’s President/CEO Kristi Magnuson Nelson. “The store, our associates, the community and everyone we have met are outstanding. We welcome everyone to check us out and look forward to making new friends as we continue to serve the Fosston community for many years to come.”

Grand Forks, N.D.-based Hugo’s operates 12 locations in North Dakota and Minnesota. 


Natural Grocers Readies Relocated Store in Texas

Natural Grocers Simplifying High-Quality Product Sourcing RangeMe ECRM

Natural Grocers is opening a relocated store in Amarillo, Texas, on June 8. The latest store at 7441 Hillside Road replaces a previous location at 7400 SW 34th Avenue that will shutter on June 5.

The replacement store has a larger footprint and wider assortment. Natural Grocers expanded the produce section, for example, and is adding more refrigerated items and supplements. The latest site will also feature a Nutrition Education Center used for classes, recipe demos and nutrition education courses. In keeping with the company mission and culture, the new store was designed with sustainable building features and energy saving innovations, such as non-toxic building materials and 100% LED lighting.

[Read more: "Natural Grocers Adds Bath Salts, Foot Soaks to Private-Brand Collection"]

"The Natural Grocers good4u Crew has been proud to serve the community of Amarillo since the original location opened in the fall of 2008. This was our second store in Texas, trailing Richardson, by only a few months. We're excited to give our customers more space to shop, which also means new product offerings throughout all departments," said Raquel Isely, VP of marketing.

The first 150 customers on June 8 will receive mystery gift cards with varying amounts between $5-$500, while the first 500 shoppers on June 10 can pick up a Natural Grocers fanny pack made of alpaca wool. From June 8-30, a prize wheel will provide customers with store discounts in every department. Members of the retailer's loyalty program will receive exclusive pricing on other items, like select free-range eggs for $2.99 a dozen and organic avocadoes for $0.99 each.   

Family-operated Natural Grocers is headquartered in Lakewood, Colo. The company is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Natural Grocers one of its 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.


Kroger Lauded for Associate Mental Health Access

Kroger Cashier Teaser

The Kroger Co. has been awarded the 2023 Gold Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health by Mental Health America. The award is a first-of-its-kind workplace mental health certification that recognizes employers who create mentally healthy workplaces for their employees.

Kroger’s policies and practices in four areas were evaluated, including workplace culture, benefits, compliance and wellness programs. The grocer earned a score of 100% in the wellness programs category for its offerings, programs and perks that support associates' mental health and promote a positive workplace culture.

[Read more: "Kroger Expanding In-Store Retail Media Push"]

"The Kroger Family of Companies is committed to creating a respectful and caring environment where our associates can thrive," said Tim Massa, SVP and chief people officer. "We are honored to once again receive this recognition, and we will continue our efforts to support our associates' overall well-being, including their mental, physical and financial health."

Cincinnati-based Kroger has almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Kroger one of the Retailers of the Century.


NotCo Brings on New Global VP of Marketing

Louise M

Food tech company NotCo announced the hiring of Louise McKerrow as global VP of marketing. In this role, she will work with Chief Marketing Officer Fernando Machado to lead integrated global marketing functions and oversee all branding communications for NotCo, which uses AI to create a food development platform to match the taste, texture and smell of animal-based proteins with plant-based ingredients.

McKerrow previously worked at Argentine e-commerce company Mercado Libre, where she bolstered brand communications for Mercado Libre and Mercado Pago in Latin America. For 10 years, she held various global marketing roles at Diageo for brands like Tanqueray, Captain Morgan and Baileys.

[Read more: "NotCo Appoints New U.S. General Manager"]

Machado said that she will be a good fit as NotCo brings its business to the next level. "At NotCo our mission is to revolutionize the food industry and we need the best of the best to fuel our growth and deliver our mission,” he said. “Louise has a demonstrated history of brand building and outperforming growth goals in the competitive worlds of consumer goods and e-commerce. With her global marketing experience and her track record building world-class teams I am really excited she is joining NotCo.”

NotCo recently added NotBurger and NotChicken products to a portfolio that launched with NotMilk in 2020. The company also teamed up Kraft Heinz on a new venture, The Kraft Heinz Not Company, to develop NotMayo and NotCheese products in the U.S.


Tops Expands Instacart Services in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont

Tops Teaser

Tops Markets LLC has expanded its Instacart services to encompass more stores in Pennsylvania and Vermont, in addition to its robust New York offerings. This added convenience will allow shoppers to have their weekly groceries delivered right to their door.

[Read more: "Reusable Bag Promo at Tops Raises $519K+"]

Already in 139 Tops locations throughout its footprint, the home delivery feature will now be available to shoppers at the following eight new Tops locations:

• 16 W. Main Street, Hancock, N.Y.
• 273 Main Street, North Creek, N.Y.
• 82 VT Route 15W, Hardwick, Vt.
• 7544 Court Street, Elizabeth Town, N.Y.
• 11 Main Street, Wellsboro, Pa.
• 111 Bolivar Road, Wellsville, N.Y.
• 64 E. Washington Street, Ellicottville, N.Y.
• 51 W. Main Street, Randolph Plaza, Randolph, N.Y.

“We’re excited to bring even more convenience to the shoppers across our various markets,” said Jillian Sirica, manager, digital marketing for Tops. “This expansion marks our 14th expansion since Tops launched Instacart services in 2017, allowing us to serve 95% of our population.”

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC has approximately 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc., is No. 45 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Freshmart Taps eGrowcery to Boost Digital Sales

Freshmart Teaser

Freshmart, a natural food retailer with seven stores in Puerto Rico, has adopted online sales and fulfillment solutions from white-label software-as-a-service-based e-commerce platform eGrowcery. The customized Freshmart system focuses on prepared and fresh food, along with fulfillment options that include store pickup and integrated delivery to start.

“We needed an e-commerce solution that offers a wide variety of items and speaks to our customers clearly,” said Jorge Machado, president of San Juan-based Freshmart. “eGrowcery provides us everything we require to operate a vibrant experience that meets the demands of our existing shoppers and will attract new ones.”

[Read More:Hitchcock’s Keeps Customers Coming Back With Better Digital Experience”]

Freshmart chose eGrowcery because of the solution’s flexibility, integration with the grocer’s point of sale, and custom payments integration approach to support the Puerto Rican market.

“E-commerce continues to expand in Puerto Rico, where we are seeing demand for more robust tools from retailers,” noted Patrick Hughes, CEO of Bloomfield Hills-based eGrowcery, which “is well positioned to support retailers like Freshmart in providing all of the best-in-class capabilities for a unique shopping experience. The addition of a presence in Puerto Rico is a milestone for eGrowcery. We are committed to expanding our operations within the country and bringing forward emerging and innovative technology.”