“Our entire focus at Doc’s Food Stores is giving the customer what they want, and right now more of our shoppers want an easy-to-use experience so they can order quickly and get those items quickly,” noted Jim Brown, owner of Bixby, Okla.-based Doc’s “The platform from eGrowcery helps us do that better than we ever have, plus it makes the entire order fulfillment and payment process much more efficient.”
“Doc’s Food Stores is a great example of a retailer combining the latest technology and an outstanding corporate culture to compete and win online,” said Patrick Hughes, CEO of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based eGrowcery. “We’re committed to helping them deliver an online shopping experience that is best in class.”
Independent grocer Nourish + Bloom is gearing up to bring two more of its autonomous stores to Atlanta. The company was recently awarded an Economic Opportunity Fund Food Access Grant for up to $600,000 from Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, to bring the container-built locations to the area.
The new stores will be built in shipping containers, and will be located in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh Yards jobs hub south of downtown and at a site on Campbellton Road.
Nourish + Bloom is hailed as the first Black-owned autonomous grocery store, and opened its first locationin the Atlanta suburb of Fayetteville, Ga., in early 2022. The company is run by husband-and-wife duo Jamie Michael Hemmings and Jilea Hemmings and offers locally sourced craft items, such as produce, meats, baked goods, dairy and prepared meals, alongside everyday convenience items with no checkout.
Last year, the Hemmings told Progressive Grocer that they were looking to open 400-plus Nourish + Bloom Markets, which would all operate 24/7.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Jilea Hemmings was recently a guest on Progressive Grocer's TWIG Podcast. Listen here.]
As it seeks to expand applications in tropical produce, Apeel Sciences has hired Denise Junqueiro as VP of commercial, tropical. In this role, she will help drive growth in the category that includes popular items like avocadoes and mangoes.
Junqueiro will advance the use of Apeel’s plant-based protection that allows for longer lasting products and work to increase awareness of the company’s new data and quality tools. She brings to the company more than 15 years of experience with growers, packers, shippers, retailers, foodservice operators and policy makers. Her background includes marketing positions at the California Fig Advisory Board, California Tree Fruit Agreement and California Olive Committee and Mission Produce, Inc. At Mission Produce, she created innovative merchandising programs based on consumer needs and preferences for avocados and recently launched the company’s Reliably Ripe program for avocadoes.
“Joining Apeel offers me a new way to approach the produce business and apply my skillset and expertise, starting with building relationships and educating partners about Apeel’s innovative ripe and ready to eat solutions,” Junqueiro remarked. ” Throughout my career, I have always sought to create win-win situations and work together to create real value along the supply chain. This perfectly aligns with Apeel's mission and growth plans."
Based in Goleta, Calif., Apeel offers a protective extra “peel” that slows water loss and oxidation that causes produce to spoil.
Beverage Holding Company Prime Drink Group Shakes Up Leadership Team
The Prime Drink Group Corp., a Quebec-based diversified beverage holding company that acquires and manages natural spring water sources in a sustainable way, announced recent leadership changes. Raimondo Messina is now chairman of the board, while Alexandre Côté is president and CEO. Oliver Primeu, who formerly served as chairman, president and CEO, will focus on the vision and strategic development of the company.
A board director, Messina founded Dream Hospitality group and served as CEO of Beach Day Every Day. He is a certified public accountant and a longtime food entrepreneur and based in Quebec.
Côté, a Prime director since 2020, brings more than 20 years of experience in financial product distribution to his new position. He is the co-founder of Hybrid Financial Ltd and president of exempt market broker firm Fecteau, Côté & Manocchio Ltée,
In other news, Prime Drink Co. appointed Dominique Primeau as a new director. Primeau has a broad background in the food and retailing industry; his experience includes taking over and growing his family grocery store more than 30 years ago.
Prime Drink Group currently controls more than a third of Quebec’s fresh ground water reserves volume under permit.
Naturipe Farms Taps New Director of Business Development
Farmer-owned berry and avocado producer Naturipe Farms has a new leader on its value-added fresh team, bringing on Matthew Lyons as director of business development. He will manage that division as it expands across retail and foodservice channels.
Lyons brings more than 30 years of experience to the role. He joins the Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farm from Produce Alliance, where he served as director of sourcing. He also worked as a sourcing manager for six years for Starbucks Coffee Co. and spent nearly 20 years at River Ranch Fresh Foods in multiple operation divisions.
“Working with a household name in the berry industry is exciting in its own right, but I am truly excited to work with the value-added team as we expand Naturipe’s reach into healthier produce-forward snack and meal options,” said Lyons. “I’ve enjoyed a partnership with the Naturipe team over the years, and I am honored to now stand beside them in this role.”
Lyons reports to Steven Ware, VP and general manager of value-added fresh at Naturipe. “He comes with not only an extensive knowledge of the food industry, but also with a unique perspective on Naturipe from his time as a customer. The team believes he will play a key role in the expansion of the brand in new product development and sourcing,” Ware remarked.
Southern California independent Erewhon has launched a redesigned mobile app.
“We’ve built a native shopping experience directly into our mobile app, blending both our grocery and café segments of the business,” explained Kabir Jain, chief growth officer at Los Angeles-based Erewhon. “The new Erewhon mobile app has been fully reimagined and designed with the intention of naturally extending the feeling of shopping in an Erewhon store right onto the phone. We’ve layered an innovative browsing experience and clean aesthetic, with several new shopping features to create the most seamless shopping journey possible.”
•Curated Homepage: thoughtfully selected rotating products, categories and promotions •Intelligent Product Search: users have most accurate and fastest results •Product Recommendations: contextually relevant AI-generated suggestions •One-Click Reorder: users can easily reorder their favorite items with a single click •Dynamic Prep Time: dynamic adjustment of order prep time based on unique counts of prepared versus picked items in the cart, for fast service •Shopping List: users can save their favorite items for later •Rotating Prepared Foods and Modifiers: rotating daily specials that match the café’s offerings, and easily modified prepared foods and drinks, with hundreds of options •Real-Time Order Tracker: users can monitor their live order status (pickup in as short a time as 15 minutes, and delivery in 30 minutes) •Integrated Membership Program: available throughout the ordering process •Dynamic Merchandising: best products delivered during the browsing experience
The grocer’s new app has rolled out across the iOS and Android platforms, with the features also available on Erewhon’s website.
Erewhon operates nine stores in the Los Angeles area. A 10th is coming this fall to Pasadena, Calif.