News Briefs


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. 


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.