News Briefs


Indoor Grower Adds Chicken to the Mix

Bounti salads

Claiming to be the first indoor grower to offer salads with chicken, Local Bounti Corp. is rolling out two new grab-and-go kits. Select grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest will begin to carry Artisanal Chicken Caesar and Memphis Style BBQ Chicken salad kits in June, according to the Hamilton, Mont.-based indoor ag company.

Local Bounti uses a technology it calls “stack and flow” to provide sustainable, fresh produce on a year-round basis. The company’s lettuce varieties are used as a base for the new ready-to-eat salads with protein, which are made with other natural ingredients like antibiotic-free white meat chicken and fresh lemon.

[Read more: "EXCLUSIVE: An Inside Look at Square Roots’ Indoor-Farming Operation"]

"We doubled down on the incredible consumer demand for our existing Grab & Go Salad Kits by combining the same state-of-the-art growing techniques with chef-inspired flavors to offer two brand new and innovative products. We believe our Artisanal Chicken Caesar and Memphis Style BBQ Chicken salad kits will be a hit with consumers who are looking for fresh and convenient meal options that are also a good source of protein,” said Brian Cook, Local Bounti president.

Even as the grower is readying the new chicken salads, Local Bounti is planning more additions to the line in the coming months. The company continues to service more than 10,000 retail locations with greens grown in controlled-environment facilities that use 90% less land and 90% less water than conventional farming methods.


H-E-B Adds Fulfillment Center to Plano Store

h-e-b plano

As H-E-B continues to build stores in the increasingly competitive Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Texas grocer is scaling up on the fulfillment side, too. The company is set to open a new e-commerce fulfillment center in Plano, as part of a hub and spoke system that will serve the growing number of physical H-E-B stores in the Metroplex.

Spanning more than 55,000 square feet, the fulfillment center is part of the H-E-B store in Plano that opened in November 2022. When it opens later this summer, the site will use automated systems, including robots on a grid setup, to pick orders for curbside and delivery. In addition to serving current stores in Plano and Frisco, the center will eventually fill orders for other planned stores in the towns of McKinney, Allen and Frisco.

This is the first e-commerce fulfillment center for H-E-B in North Texas, which operates five other facilities in the state.

The largest privately held employer in Texas, San Antonio-based H-E-B has more than 420 stores and 145,000 employees in Texas and Mexico. The company is No. 15 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Morton Williams Deploying Smart Carts

Cust2Mate Smart Shopping Cart Teaser

Following a successful pilot, Morton Williams, a grocery retailer with 17 stores in the New York metropolitan area, has initially ordered from A2Z Smart Technologies Corp. 100 specially designed 75-liter Cust2Mate smart carts tailored for deployment in urban supermarkets. The pilot of the platform-as-a-service solution took place at Morton Williams’ West End Avenue store in the New York City borough of Manhattan.

“We are excited to expand our implementation of the Cust2Mate smart cart solution in our stores to elevate the shopping experience for our valued customers,” noted Avi Kaner, CEO of Bronx, N.Y.-based Morton Williams. “By incorporating innovative technology into our operations, we are better positioned to meet the evolving needs of our customers, saving them time and money. We believe that this partnership with A2Z Cust2Mate will further strengthen our competitive edge in the market.” 

[Read more: "How Self-Checkout Is Adapting to Meet Customer, Retailer Needs"]

The agreement encompasses an upfront payment, a guaranteed monthly payment and a revenue-share agreement on added-value solutions such as advertising. This collaboration aims to empower Morton Williams to optimize its operations, enhance customer experiences and generate additional revenue. 

“We are delighted to partner with Morton Williams, a respected leader in the food retail industry,” said Guy Mordoch, CEO of Tel Aviv-based A2Z’s subsidiary Cust2Mate. “This order reflects Morton Williams’ confidence in our Cust2Mate smart-cart solution and its ability to deliver tangible benefits to their customers and business. As we continue to expand our presence in the market, we remain committed to providing innovative technology solutions that drive growth and transformation for our clients.”


Foxtrot Unveils Latest D.C. Store

Foxtrot DC Teaser

Foxtrot is bring its contemporary c-store/café format to another part of the Washington, D.C. area. The latest location at 1275 New Jersey Avenue SE in the Navy Yard neighborhood will open on June 1.

Designed by the company’s in-house design team and architects Nahra Design Group, the 3,760-square-foot store will carry a variety of grab-and-go items – including more than 150 locally-sourced products – and also features Foxtrot’s signature all-day café serving up coffee, smoothies, seasonal drinks and foods such as fresh salads, bowls and take-home lunches and dinners. As with other Foxtrot locales around the country, shoppers can browse in-store or order digitally for pickup and on-demand delivery through the proprietary store app.

On the day of the grand opening, shoppers will receive free tote bags and a cup of cold brew with any purchase. If they pay with the app, they can score other free goodies.

This is the eighth Foxtrot in the D.C. metro area. The retailer runs 26 locations in the D.C., Chicago, Dallas, and Austin, Texas, markets. The Navy Yard store is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.


Raley’s Rolls Out Fresh Look, New Offerings at Nevada Location

Raley's Reno opening teaser

Following a five-month renovation, Raley’s has reopened its location on Keystone Avenue, in Reno, Nev. The comprehensive remodel includes new and modern decor, new equipment and expanded food offerings.

The upgraded kitchen now features several chef-made grab-and-go options, including sandwiches, fresh sides and proteins. Expanded offerings also include a made-to-order salad bar, Signature Hot Wok dishes and a sushi bar. 

[Read more: "Raley’s Names New CFO"]

“Raley’s Keystone location has been a pillar of this community for almost 50 years,” said Brad Poalillo, district team leader. “Our remodel investment only strengthens our commitment to the region by offering an improved shopping experience for our customers.”

Raley’s is a partner of the University of Nevada, Reno, and offers students, faculty and staff a 10% discount at its Keystone location. In celebration of the university’s 150th anniversary, Raley’s collected donations at all of its Nevada locations and was able to donate $1,500 to the school.

With more than 230 locations across four states and four Tribal Nations under eight well-known banners, West Sacramento, Calif.-based Raley’s is No. 49 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


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.