Progressive Grocer - June 2017

Page 1

thank you for making us the fastest-growing yogurt brand 3+ years in a row

dollar sales growth

Based on national brands, total siggi’s growth vs. year ago, Nielsen Total US Food, 2014 - 4/22/17

A tribute to strong, grAceful growth thAt brAnches out to embrAce the future PAGE 26

June 2017 • Volume 96 Number 6 $10 •

The Perfect Balance of Thin, Crisp and Wonderfilled


VARIETY This Snacking Moment Surprises Shoppers with New Twists on Their Favorites • OREO Thins was ranked #2 among the Top 10 Dollar Growth Brands in 20161 • OREO Thins is introducing two new adult-focused flavors • After trying the product, 92% of consumers said they would definitely or probably purchase OREO Thins Coconut Cookies, and 79% said they would definitely or probably purchase OREO Thins Salted Caramel Cookies2

Sources: 1Nielsen xAOC; Ranked by $ Abs Chg for YTD 10-1-16; 2OREO Thins CLT Study, September 2016

© Mondelēz International group





Meet the Demand with California Ripe Olives

75% of U.S. grocery shoppers prefer to buy products grown in the United States* and because nearly all domestic ripe olives are grown on multi-generational family farms in California, they’re a great choice for your customers. *Based on results from a 2013 survey with 1,000 grocery shoppers across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.





06.17 Volume 96, Issue 6


COVER STORY Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery

Roots and Wings The industry’s female movers and shakers are part of a nurturing network supporting talented women.

June 2017 | |




570 Lake Cook Rd, Suite 310, Deerfield, IL 60015 224 632-8200 •


128 / Store of the Month Brooklyn’s Finest Fairway’s newest flagship store ups the ante on its offerings and ambiance in the famed New York City borough. 137 / Progressive Grocer’s Retail Deli Review Counter Intuitive As prepared foods drive the deli, retailers rely on well-trained staff to steer it toward shopper engagement and profitable results.

144 / Produce Fresh Frenzy Strategic merchandising and dazzling displays position grocers for a profitable summer in produce. 150 / Equipment & Design The Right Atmosphere Efficient HVAC systems make for a comfortable shopping experience.

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief James Dudlicek 224-632-8238 Managing Editor Bridget Goldschmidt 201-855-7603 Senior Editor Randy Hofbauer 224-632-8240 Senior Editor Katie Martin 224-632-8172 Senior Editor Anna Wolfe 207-773-1154 Contributing Editors Andy Frye, Molly Hembree, Bob Ingram, Jenny McTaggart, Lynn Petrak and Jennifer Strailey ADVERTISING SALES & BUSINESS Southeast Account Executive Larry Cornick 224.632.8248 Midwest Marketing Manager Angela Flatland (AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MI, MO, NE, ND, OK, SD, TN, WI) 224-229-0547 • Mobile: 608-320-4421 Western Regional Marketing Manager Rick Neigher (CA, OR, WA) 818-597-9029 Northeast Marketing Manager Mike Shaw 201-855-7631 • Mobile: 201-281-9100 Account Executive/ Classified Advertising Terry Kanganis 201-855-7615 • Fax: 201-855-7373 Classified Production Manager Mary Beth Medley 856-809-0050

20 / Mintel Global

Editor’s Note

New Products

A Celebration of Leadership/The Industry’s Got Talent

Ready-to-drink Beverages

14 / In-store Events Calendar

August 2017 18 / Nielsen’s Shelf

22 / All’s Wellness Health in the Deli 152 / What’s Next Editors’ Picks for Innovative Products


Fresh Produce


EVENTS SVP, Events & Conferences Maureen Macke 773-992-4413 CUSTOM MEDIA VP/Custom Media Division Pierce Hollingsworth 224-632-8229 General Manager, Custom Media Kathy Colwell 224-632-8244 MARKETING VP, Marketing & Communications Bruce Hendrickson 224-632-8214

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Director of Audience Development Gail Reboletti Audience Development Manager Shelly Patton 215-301-0593 List Rental The Information Refinery 800-529-9020 Brian Clotworthy Subscriber Services/Single-copy Purchases 978-671-0449 or email at

8 / Publisher’s Note/

12 / PG Pulse

SVP, Brand Director Katie Brennan 201-855-7609 • Mobile: 917-859-3619

| Progressive Grocer | June 2017

ART/PRODUCTION Director of Production Kathryn Homenick Advertising/Production Manager Jackie Batson 224-632-8183 • Fax: 888-316-7987 Art Director Bill Antkowiak CORPORATE OFFICERS Executive Chairman Alan Glass

President & CEO Chief Operating Officer Chief Brand Officer Chief Financial Officer Chief Business Development Officer & President, EnsembleIQ, Canada President of Enterprise Solutions/ Chief Customer Officer Chief Digital Officer Chief Human Resources Officer

Peter Hoyt Richard Rivera Jeff Greisch Len Farrell Korry Stagnito Ned Bardic Joel Hughes Greg Flores

Note By Katie Brennan

A Celebration of Leadership

Companies that are committed to nurturing talent will be the real leaders in the years to come.


t is indeed a privilege to be a part of such a strong and respected brand as Progressive Grocer, but to join the team at the same time that it reveals its latest class of Top Women in Grocery is an even greater honor. Now in its second decade, PG’s Top Women in Grocery (TWIG) awards program honors outstanding female leaders among retailers and suppliers, from the store level to the c-suite. It’s a declaration of our brand’s support of talent development across the food industry. This year, PG received more than 600 submissions, giving our selection committee, composed of the extended editorial team, an immense challenge. Everyone whose name was submitted for consideration is an asset to her organization, so to narrow the list down to those truly going over and above was indeed an arduous task. The 348 women chosen as this year’s TWIG class are truly the best of the best, and the industry is fortunate to be guided by such exemplary individuals. In addition to being honored in this issue of PG (starting on page 26), our winners will

receive their awards at our annual gala event, to be held Nov. 9, 2017, at The Westin O’Hare, in Rosemont, Ill. A full agenda of leadership development and networking programs during the day will culminate in the evening’s grand banquet, at which I’ll be honored to join PG’s team of top women in presenting the awards, including Managing Editor Bridget Goldschmidt and Senior Editor Katie Martin, as well as Joan Driggs, managing director for strategy and member development at PG’s sister brand, the Path to Purchase Institute. We feel it’s initiatives like TWIG that emphasize the “progressive” part of our name, and companies that are committed to nurturing talent will be the real leaders in the years to come. PG

Katie Brennan SVP/Brand Director

Note By Jim Dudlicek

The Industry’s Got Talent

Retailers are on the right track toward securing their place in the future.


ollaboration. Communication. Inspiration. Mentor. Servant leader. Team builder. Passion. These are among the descriptors that came up repeatedly in the nominations for this year’s slate of Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery (TWIG). For 11 years, PG has recognized the outstanding efforts of the grocery industry’s top female leaders. And every year, we continue to be increasingly impressed by the incredible quality of talent being nurtured by the nation’s food retailers. To be sure, talent retention and development are consistently top concerns of retailers. As disruptive

Jim Dudlicek Editor-in-Chief Twitter @jimdudlicek


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

competitors create new challenges to doing business, retailers need to recruit, train, enrich and reward team members who bring passion and new perspectives to the business. Based on what we’re seeing, retailers are on the right track toward securing their place in the future. From ecommerce to community outreach to customer service, it’s people who make it all possible, whether purchases originate in-store or from a mobile device. A consistent supply of talent helps to equalize the inevitable ebb and flow of business, whether in retailing or the trade press. I would be derelict in my duties if I didn’t call out the efforts of PG’s own longtime top woman, Meg Major, who, after 18 years with the brand, most recently as its chief content editor, has left PG to pursue new opportunities. Her leadership of TWIG, and as a trade journalist, has set a high bar for all of us. Meanwhile, PG welcomes Katie Brennan, a talented publishing executive, as its new brand director. Together, with our editorial team, we look forward to delivering you formulas for good business, and hope to live up to the examples set by this year’s TWIG honorees. PG

For naturally delicious lips just swipe.

100% Natural Lip Butter made from 100% naturally sourced oils and butters for softer, healthier-looking lips.

Š 2017 PďŹ zer Inc.

Prepared Foods: Reconnecting Families at the Dinner Table Between the pressure of busy schedules and different palates to please, have families given up on the idea of dinnertime together? According to parents participating in a Tyson Foods study1, the notion of gathering around the family table has lost its importance. But their kids gave entirely different and unexpected responses, confessing they prefer family time together at the table, which they’re not always getting.

Tyson Foods: What would you get from more family dinners at the table? Brooke (15 years old): “A lot more quality family time and connecting more with them, get to know them more.” Brooke’s Mom: “I was sort of shocked. She never said anything about it.”

Eric LeBlanc, director of marketing for retail foodservice at Tyson Foods, Inc. — “Gathering around the dinner table is a significant family activity. This could be their only opportunity to reconnect at the end of the day and enjoy reliving memories while making new ones. The food is a key part of that experience as it must be satisfying to help complete the emotional connection that binds families together while sharing a meal.”

Retail foodservice departments need to offer more than pieces and parts of meals to attract families to the dinner table and keep them coming back.2,3 The results of Tyson Foods’ Prepared Foods Challenge2 demonstrate the possibilities of dishing up a satisfying meal. Families made dinner every night for a week using their grocer’s prepared foods. Without a plan, they failed to assemble anything they enjoyed. After turning to a personal chef who showed them how to build themes and menus, they shopped and complemented prepared foods with ingredients from other areas of the store. Then, using their new skills, the families prepared successful meals on their own, reporting the experience allowed more time together, which made them happy and proud.

Changing the Conversation with Your Shoppers. Educate: Use your staff and in-store signage to give people meal ideas beyond a drink and a side. Inspire: Reach out to your shoppers with digital and out-of-store messaging when they’re deciding what’s for dinner.

“Now that we know what we’re doing, and how to make it, it tastes really good.”

“I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen by myself. Now I spend less time and it’s more enjoyable because we do it together.”

Execute: Ensure products are at peak quality at peak meal times and that your staff is ready to help make dinner memorable.

“It is a fabulous way to eat and serve friends and family.” Sources: 1 Tyson Foods, Emotional Trigger Research Study, April 2016 2 Tyson Foods, Prepared Foods Challenge, 2016 3 Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure Studies, 2015, 2016

™/© 2017 Tyson Foods, Inc.

What’s trending on …

Albertsons’ eyeing of Whole Foods Market as a potential acquisition ranked as the top story on for the April 16-May 15 time period. Cerberus Capital Management, Albertsons’ parent company, reportedly was in preliminary talks with bankers about making a bid, while Whole Foods hired Evercore to advise on a strategic review of business operations, possibly including a sale. Other Whole Foods news created strong interest, including a major investor pushing for a sale, and the shakeup of the Austin, Texas-based chain’s board. Another beleaguered company, Central Grocers, also made the list of top stories, with creditors pushing the Joliet, Ill.-based retailer-wholesaler into bankruptcy.

“With today’s additions to the board, and changes in our board’s leadership, we are well positioned as we enter the next phase of our evolution.”

Albertsons Considering Bid for Whole Foods: Report

—John Mackey, co-founder and CEO, Whole Foods Market

Publix Latest Grocer to Offer Meal Kits

Whole Foods Unveils ‘Accelerated Path for Growth’


New Teams to Lead Ahold, Delhaize Brand-Centric Model

Creditors Forcing Central Grocers into Bankruptcy

Another Whole Foods Investor Pushes for Sale

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

PG 0617 12-13 PG Pulse bgrhJIM.indd 12

6/12/17 9:11 AM

GOOD FOR GRILLING. GRE AT FOR BUSINESS. There’s nothing trendier than BBQ. And with sales of competitive BBQ cuts growing 7x faster than total fresh meat sales,1 partnering with Smithfield is a surefire way to heat up the register. Our new line of Dry Seasoned Fresh Pork products are great on the grill. So fire up your sales this summer with Smithfield and give your customers what’s quickly becoming one of the biggest brands in BBQ.

©2017 Smithfield Farmland Sales Corp. All Rights Reserved.

Drive Marinated Category Growth

Grow Total Meat Department Sales

Increase Total Basket Ring

For more information about Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork, contact your Smithfield Sales Representative or email 1

Nielsen Perishable Group 52 weeks ending 7/30/16; Total US

August 2017 is... National Panini Month National Peach Month National Sandwich Month National Service Dog Month National Catfish Month




1 Celebrate Summer Desserts & Homemade Ice Cream! Cross-promote seasonal fresh fruits and trusted sugar brands.


National Root Beer Float Day


Raspberries ‘n Cream Day This is International Assistance Dog Week. Talk about service animals with your staff.


International Cat Day. Make a donation in your store’s name to a local shelter.







Review your time-off requests.

National IPA Day

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day




National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

National Rice Pudding Day

National Watermelon Day

National S’mores Day

International Beer Day

National Raspberry Tart Day



National Mustard Day. Do an in-store salad dressing demo with this king of condiments.

12 Canning Season Starts. Consumers will be using high volumes of granulated sugar to preserve garden and orchard harvests.

National Zucchini Day









21 22 National Sweet Tea





National Filet Mignon Day

National Bacon Lovers Day Frozen, Deli, Meat & Bakery EPPS, in Orlando, Fla., begins and continues through Aug. 23.


National Burger Day

National Creamsicle Day

Day. Domino® Quick Dissolve Sugar is the “beverage sugar,” perfect for sweetening iced tea.

National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

National Pecan Torte Day National Eat a Peach Day

National Bratwurst Day

National Cuban Sandwich Day. Make sure the prepared food area is ready for this popular item.

National Peach Pie Day

National Ice Cream Pie Day

National Banana Split Day


National Cherry Turnovers Day


In honor of More Herbs, Less Salt Day, offer a cooking class that showcases in-season produce.

30 Baking Season Preview. Stock up on all baking sugars for upcoming sales!

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

National Hot & Spicy Food Day. Offer samples of your zestiest condiments.

National Dog Day. Donate a percentage of today’s pet sales to a local shelter. National Cherry Popsicle Day

National Sponge Cake Day

National Chop Suey Day


National Vanilla Custard Day


National Trail Mix Day Email your calendar submissions to

Stock up on


new flavors

Give consumers delicious sweetening flavors for the summer with our flip-top canisters – available in both Domino® Sugar and C&H® Sugar brands:

Honey Granules — free-flowing crystals made of cane sugar and honey without a sticky mess. Maple Flavored Granules — a blend of cane sugar and a taste of maple that can be sprinkled or easily poured. Look for our other varieties in convenient canisters for easy sprinkling: • Quick Dissolve Superfine Sugar • Pourable Brown Sugar | ©2017 Domino Foods, Inc.

Leading Innovation

Category Leadership from Š General Mills


Front End

Market Intelligence By The Numbers

Shelf Stoppers Stoppers

Fresh Produce Frozen Vegetables

Basket Drivers

ToTal packaged meaT sales reached $24.8 billion in The pasT year


(52 weeks ending 2016) categories by dollar Volume Top 5 April Fresh2,produce $5,000

$4,583 $4,140





$2,752 $2,215


which fresh berry varieties are driving the highest spend per trip among americans?

Consumers chose frozen broccoli over In 2016, consumers alternatives for spent, on average: a variety of reasons:




0 berries


packaged salad




Source: nielsen FreshFacts data, 52 weeks ending april 1, 2017; includes upc + random-weight retailer-assigned plu (price-lookup code) and system 2 sales volume

“as consumer focus on health and wellness intensifies, it’s no surprise fresh produce sales have continued to increase, particularly for power foods like berries. yet, beyond health, convenience and innovation play instrumental roles in the current evolution of produce. pre-cut items can save time on dinner preparation or provide a quick and healthy snack, a major trend right now.” —matt lally, client manager-nielsen Fresh

Spotlight on Frozen Broccoli

WHEN ARE CONSUMERSDemographics EATING FROZEN BROCCOLI? Fresh strawberry consumers within the under-$20,000 income bracket spend 41 percent

less than their expectedisshare fresh strawberries, toistheir in the Broccoli as an ingredient moston commonly Frozenrelative broccoli mostincidence often used in au.s. side population, while fresh strawberry consumers within the $100,000-plus income bracket, consumed at dinner, followed by lunch. dish, followed by as a main entrée. spend 44 percent more than their expected share on fresh strawberries, relative to their incidence in the u.s. population. 3% 9%

because it’s quick and easy per trip on fresh blueberries


because it tastes great


per trip on fresh raspberries because it’s healthy and nutritious


$3.82 8%

because low in per trip it’s on fresh strawberries calories, fat and sugar

Cross-merchandising Candidates Top complemenTary producTs For Fresh sTrawberries OCCASION 29% ProDuct TYPE 62% yogurt breakfast Food Fresh produce stationery and school supplies DINNERand gelatins LUNCH OTHER desserts


InDex 35% 115 114 114 113 SIDE DISH 112


$3.31 per trip on fresh cranberries


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017


Source: nielsen homescan Total shopperview specialty panel, 52 weeks ending dec. 31, 2016

It’s one thing to know what he’s buying today. But what about tomorrow? There’s a science to knowing the answer, and when you work with Nielsen, that science is working for you. Learn more about The Science Behind What’s Next™ at

Copyright © 2017 The Nielsen Company (US), LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Mintel Global New Products Database Category Insights

Noncarbonated Ready-to-drink (RTD) Beverages MaRkeT OveRview The share of innovation in meal replacements and other drinks declined in the 12 months to September 2016, accounting for 51 percent of the total new product launches in the noncarbonated RTD beverage category, while the share of RTD iced tea and coffee innovation increased. key issues Wellness has become a key theme in the noncarbonated RTD category. However, health isn’t the only reason that consumers are turning to natural varieties. Many consumers often perceive natural and organic as being much safer than regular types of beverages. For example, natural offerings in the noncarbonated RTD market have increased in the past year, especially in RTD iced tea. Many of the innovations emphasize the use of natural and “real” ingredients to negate the “processed” or unhealthy image of the category. Among consumers of hot tea beverages, Millennials are notable for their much wider repertoire of tea varieties. They also have a much greater interest in teas that offer health benefits such as digestion or detox. The RTD tea category has responded to these attitudes, and launches of functional products have gained in popularity in the past year. Moreover, RTD tea brands face an opportunity in relaxation. When asked to create their ideal tea, U.S. consumers devised one that was healthy and hydrating, and were significantly more likely to create a relaxing RTD tea than an energizing one, signaling a growing recognition of the benefits of a betterbalanced beverage repertoire when it comes to functionality.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

For more information, visit or call 800-932-0400.

Launches in the noncarbonated RTD category have become more health-focused, which also supports the growth of natural offerings. Millennials in particular have emerged as a strongly healthconscious generation that’s willing to pay more for products that benefit health. This indicates a strong opportunity for functional noncarbonated RTD drinks made with quality ingredients and health benefits. As there are very few RTD tea brands on the market that claim to be relaxing or have a relaxing brand persona, the opportunity exists to create product lines that help consumers slow down and switch off. Brands should emphasize the role tea can play in achieving this mood state. Herbal tea varieties that are associated with relaxation, such as chamomile, valerian and lavender, would be particularly useful in relaxing RTD tea products.

Giving 76 Million Americans Permission to Snack Freely.

There’s a lot of pent-up snacking demand as more and more people are choosing to eat free-from. Be ready with the only trust mark that gives all those hungry snackers permission to indulge in 60+ products. See them all at

All’s By Molly Hembree

Health in the Deli Smart choices, knowledgeable staff can make prepared foods a wellness destination.


A focus on e may often associate the way to substitute quinoa for couscous to make a deli exclusively as a place dish gluten-free? Or how about using vegetable nutrition of convenience; however, broth rather than chicken broth in rice preparaand options it can also be a department tion to easily transition a dish to vegan/vegetarfor those that helps your shoppers ian status? Lastly, could margarine be used in with dietary stick to their health-and-wellness goals. place of butter to allow those with a milk allergy restrictions A focus on new foods as well as old favorto enjoy the deli product? is likely ites, easy ingredient alterations, marketing and The appeal of the delicatessen also screams easier than merchandising of prepared items, and execution “hot and ready.” Many shoppers purchase preyou think in at point of purchase (POP) can move the dial pared products to eat on the spot or to be immethe deli. A toward winning in deli. diately transported home to feed family or guests. nutritional The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery AssociaSome retailers are even trialing meal kit concepts boost can tion (IDDBA) concluded in its “What’s In Store to rival restaurant and home delivery services. 2017” publication that the deli is the fastestFor example, Kroger’s Prep + Pared pilot be delivered growing perimeter department in the grocery program, recently launched in its home Cincinnati through store. Retailers have an opportunity to catch the market, takes the guesswork out of mealtime with emphasizing attention of shoppers by executing excellence both recipe options such as Moroccan-Inspired Spring the healthy in commonplace offerings and innovative fare. Vegetables and Chicken Enchiladas Rojas. Other components True staples, such as potato salad, macaroni and approaches that have seen success in the deli arena of a dish. cheese, cole slaw, roasted chicken, and cold cuts, are daily specials, meal combos, text alerts, digital can compete with more unique but well-accepted coupons and sampling programs. selections like tabbouleh, succotash, fire-roasted Other considerations for optimizing POP in vegetables and quiche. the deli are menu clarity, wellA focus on nutrition and options for those trained staff, and space. A with dietary restrictions is likely easier clear, “clean” menu may than you think in the deli. A nube a priority for Miltritional boost can be delivered lennials, but disclothrough emphasizing the sure of ingredients, healthy components of a nutrition facts and dish while downplaying updated menu boards the less nutrient-dense can increase general parts of a recipe. customer confidence. For instance, highAssociates behind lighting the veggies used the deli counter can make in a pasta dish or using the difference in a lackextra canned fruits in a luster versus stellar experience breakfast item, while befor shoppers. Friendly, knowledgeing mindful of added cream able and engaged staff can connect with in a soup or avoidance of added shoppers to provide meal and snack recomsyrup in a dessert, are all techniques mendations suitable to varied preferences. to improve the nutrition status of your offerFinally, physical space for consumer seating or ings. Furthermore, opting for calorie-free herbs and spices separate checkout kiosks may help with the flow of store over extra sauces, dressings and marinades can enhance a operations and encourage customers to stick around for dish’s healthfulness while keeping it flavorful. a sit-down meal. PG If a retailer is able to make accommodations for food allergies and religious, medical or chosen dietary restrictions, Molly Hembree, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian this can meet the needs of a much greater audience with, coordinator for The Little Clinic and Kroger. many times, little change in ingredients. Is there a simple


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Arugula Salad with Pear Nectar Vinaigrette

©2017 Goya Foods, Inc.

Your shoppers find this and other great recipes at

The ChefsBest® Excellence Award is awarded to brands that surpass quality standards established by independent professional chefs.



Speaking with...

Christian Avedon Director of Sales and Marketing, AIRIUS

New Airius Retail Series destratification fans meet grocers’ challenges of air circulation, shopper comfort Progressive Grocer: How will Airius address some of the equipment and operations issues impacting the grocery industry in 2017? Christian Avedon: As competition grows from online retailers and new delivery methods gain traction, grocers continue to zero in on new ways to grow their bottom line and refine the shopping experience. Traditional grocers are seeking ways to maximize the shopping experience with specialty departments and more organic and natural offerings. Not only are they adding new products, they are seeking solutions to increasing comfort as customers shop. Air movement and the comfort of both shoppers and employees remain a challenge as groceries try to become more “shoppable.” The colder air of more frozen food and open refrigerated food cases clashes with warmer air from expanded bakeries, delis and food court/dining areas for customers. Airius specifically designed its new Retail Series of air destratification fans to meet both the comfort and air circulation challenges grocers are facing. The Retail Series, housed in a cylindrical design for a consistent, modern look throughout a store, offers two different nozzle options. With a Narrow Aisle nozzle, air is directed in an elongated pattern to circulate air down the length of an aisle without disrupting frozen or refrigerated cases. Adding to the bottom line, many grocers are exploring the option of using more destratification fans in place of branch ductwork to assist with air distribution and reduce the associated upfront material cost. Forward thinking strategies such as this will keep traditional grocers competitive into the future. PG: What are some of the specific ways that Airius destratification fans improve grocery operations and the bottom line? CA: Proper air circulation and understanding air patterns, for example, can help grocers prevent fogging on freezer doors, improving frozen food sales.

The new Airius Retail Series destratification fan offers two nozzle options. The Narrow Aisle nozzle, shown in photo, will circulate air down grocery aisles without disrupting frozen or refrigerated cases.


Destratification fans also make shoppers more comfortable, allowing them to shop longer and consider new products with less grab and dash. How many times have you seen shoppers wearing jackets or sweaters to do their shopping, knowing how cold a store may be? In the summer, shoppers may be wearing shorts or t-shirts, and will reduce their shopping time simply because a store is too cold. Airius fans also keep clerks comfortable at the front of stores, where temperatures can be greatly affected by cold air infiltration at entrances and exits. This can improve worker productivity. In addition, Airius fans balance store temperatures from floor to ceiling. When temperature extremes are moderated, a building’s HVAC system runs less frequently, with less starts and stops. Case studies have shown savings up to 35 percent in HVAC energy costs. PG: What are some of the features that grocers and retailers should focus on with Airius products in 2017? CA: The latest iteration of our Retail Series Narrow Aisle fan will be highly desirable because of its unique air pattern. Our Narrow Aisle fan will provide more consistent and blended temperatures down the length of an aisle as opposed to alternating warm-cold spots. Another desirable feature is the use of EC motor technology. The highly efficient motors should be well known to grocers as they are being utilized in frozen and refrigerated cases. The same great motors they’ve become accustomed to are now included in Airius’ entire line of products, including the Retail Series. PG: Did Airius introduce any other new fan designs other than the Retail Series? CA: Airius engineers are always looking for ways to innovate the design and functionality of their destratification fan systems. In the past year, not only did Airius introduce its new Retail Series, specifically with grocers, big-box retailers and convenience stores in mind, but Airius also brought out its new Q Series fans, the quietest destratification fans yet for high-bay ceilings up to 50 feet. The Q Series can be an air movement solution in entry vestibules, grocery warehousing areas or big-box retailers with higher ceilings. Christian Avedon is the director of sales and marketing for Airius, a Longmont, Colo.-based manufacturer of destratification fan systems servicing ceiling heights of 8 to 125 feet. For information, visit

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

The World Standard For Destratification

Cover Story

The industry’s female movers and shakers are part of a nurturing network supporting talented women. Introduction by Bridget Goldschmidt / Honoree summaries by the PG staff

lthough the Top Women in Grocery — affectionately, and this year appropriately, known as TWIGs — whom Progressive Grocer selects every year can attribute the honor to their own hard work and willingness to go the extra mile, most, if not all, of them would readily admit that they didn’t get there by themselves. Most had a mentor at the start of their careers, often a manager of either gender who took an interest in their professional development and encouraged them to make the most of the opportunities that came their way. In return, many TWIGs have decided to pay their gratitude forward by acting as mentors to up-and-coming female associates. More than ever, however, mentoring of women has become more formalized, through such entities as associate resource groups, Lean In circles and organizations like the Network of Executive Women, all of which offer structures enabling participants to discuss the problems women face in the workplace and how they can overcome those issues and further their careers. That way, fewer female associates will fall through the cracks or migrate to other industries offering easier paths to the c-suite. That being the case, it’s only natural that the nominators of many of this year’s Top Women in Grocery cited their mentoring experiences among their outstanding achievements. Take Suzette Stevenson, manager of compliance at Landover, Md.-based Giant Food LLC, for example, who “stepped in as a co-lead of the [company’s internal] mentoring circles and has proven to be a tremendous resource to all of the existing mentoring teams,” according to her nomination form. “In a short period of time, she was able to revamp the mentoring circle teams and increase the number of participants, ensuring there are active circles across the entire Giant Landover market area. Suzette participated in various circles as an observer and gathered key information to help establish best practices and common threads that were shared among all the mentoring teams. Suzette’s focus on the overall health of [the] mentoring circles elevated the effectiveness of the program in 2016 and laid the foundation for an even greater 2017.” Of course, the tried-and true, one-on-one style of mentoring is still alive and well among our Top Women. Michelle Hall, director, corporate human resources at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer, “invests herself each and every day in actively mentoring and coaching talent across HR and within the corporate functions she serves,” her nomination form notes. “Michelle’s impact comes in her ability to deliver direct and candid feedback in a way that inspires personal and professional growth and development.” Our Top Women aren’t content to foster diversity just by mentoring workplace colleagues, however. Katie Pacanowski, manager, RSC HR business at Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, is involved with the nonprofit Pennsylvania Women Work’s 3 Cups of Coffee program, which empowers women in career transition through job readiness, emotional growth, education, training and employment, while Alia Al-Hagri, leader, indirect sourcing and supply optimization at Cincinnati-based Kroger, as an advisory board member of the University of Cincinnati’s ADVANCE program, helps female and male students of color develop professional skills as they prepare to enter the workforce. This year, Progressive Grocer received more than 600 submissions, from which we had the near-impossible task of selecting our slate of 2017 Top Women. To the 348 selected — truly the standouts in their field — we offer our warmest congratulations, along with kudos to all of the unsung mentors who helped them grow into the exemplary role models they are, and cheers that so many TWIGs have chosen to share their wealth of experience not only with peers at their companies and beyond, but also, perhaps most crucially, with the next generation.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Senior-LeveL executiveS

SuSie BeArD

Director, client Services, national Accounts, Sunflower Group/ Advantage Solutions Beard played a pivotal role in achieving 34 percent revenue growth for Sunflower’s National Sampling Platform by boosting the bottom line and optimizing overhead efficiency. She strategically developed ways to lower costs via procurement measures and negotiating with agency partners, helping to increase Sunflower’s margins and win more than $6 million in national sampling business from a direct competitor. Beard was selected as the representative from her division to be the subject-matter expert for national sampling when launching products for emerging brands.

JiLL Griffin

President, Advantage Marketing Partners Division, Advantage Solutions Griffin led her division through significant growth in revenue and client diversification to become the topranked Hispanic-American agency by Advertising Age. Under her leadership, the company built a new $16 million technology business and acquired $35 million in new agencies and strategic capabilities. Griffin created three proprietary agency groups to serve key constituents — retail experience marketing, brand experience marketing, and shopper and consumer marketing — and a center of excellence among the groups to provide holistically connected commerce solutions.



KAteLyn nADeAu

Director, customer Sales/Strategy target team, Sunflower Group/ Advantage Solutions

vP, Media operations, Advantage Media

Nadeau was instrumental in building an effective and efficient team that delivers world-class digital media programs on behalf of retail and CPG clients, with 20 percent revenue growth last year.

Pascanik created a collaborative partnership with Target and, through clear and transparent communication with the client and vendors, significantly improved the retailer’s 2016 trajectory.

She played a key role in the development of Advantage’s MomentAware data management solution, overseeing the team that manages and leverages MomentAware to power media programs for the company’s clients.

She was instrumental in improving and automating analytics, creating monthly sampling scorecards for Target, and devising an improved post-event recap that highlighted the value of sampling for vendors.

Nadeau doubled the size of the media operations team and developed a 100-page training manual to document the solutions and delivery processes for an entire suite of media products.

Customer-focused and results-oriented, with a passion for people development, Pascanik offered ideas, communication and a sense of urgency that were highly valued by her customers and team.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

StePhAnie DAviS Director, operations, target team, Sunflower Group/Advantage Solutions

To build a stronger relationship with her staffing operations team, Davis created a resource library of one-page documents for store managers, thereby cutting the number of monthly escalated issues in the stores by half. She revised the audit form and practices, making the results more quantitative, creating a more efficient coaching model and an easy way for sales professionals to gauge their performance. Davis drove execution by developing bimonthly refresher trainings, leading to continued content development for additional training courses and consistent performance in execution.


Director, client Services, Special events, Sunflower Group/ Advantage Solutions Sparks and her team assisted with sales efforts to expand services and revenue with in-store demo-sampling clients, and to manage event activations for new clients. Her team partnered with other Advantage business unit teams to manage outside-ofstore sampling/retail couponing events, resulting in significant revenue. Sparks and her team qualified and expanded the list of vendors to ensure best-in-class activations for such clients as POS suppliers, college sporting events, entertainment venues, trade shows and malls. Her actions earned frequent accolades from clients, vendors, suppliers and colleagues.


Sandy Deiters

Katherine Fuller

Vice President Operations Enablement Senior-Level Executive

Vice President General Manager Senior-Level Executive

Sherene Jagla

Rhea Jemmerson

Vice President General Manager Senior-Level Executive

Dedicated Retail Team Leader Rising Star

Tammy Kerby

Jessica McCleskey

Director Retail Operations Rising Star

Director Client Services Rising Star

Congratulations to all of the 2017 Top Women in Grocery, with special thanks to our honorees and all of the women at CROSSMARK who exemplify excellence every day.

Holly Meloy

Kallie Millar

SVP, Managing Director Marketing Werks Senior-Level Executive

Dedicated Retail Team Leader Rising Star

Maricela Reyes

Natalie Runyan

Director Analytics & Insights Rising Star

Manager Net Promoter Program Rising Star

Kari Sims

Caroline Stockdale

Dedicated Retail Team Leader Rising Star

Executive Vice President Chief People Officer Senior-Level Executive

Senior-LeveL executiveS

nancy aPPLeBy vP, advertising and Marketing Planning, ahold uSa

Appleby launched the Savory magazine and digital platform while growing circulation from 1.2 million to 1.7 million. During the Ahold-Delhaize merger, she was tasked with identifying synergies between companies while concurrently managing her own team. Fostering a strong sense of team and community, Appleby led her team to generate the highest food drive donations for the past two years. Additionally, she plays a key role in Ahold’s Our Family Foundation one-day golf outing, and has been an active member of the company’s Women Adding Value (WAV) associate resource group for 20 years.

Lori raya

Southern california Div. President — albertsons, vons and Pavilions, albertsons cos. During the second year of the Albertsons-Safeway merger, much of Raya’s focus was on maintaining the momentum of the Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions brands while championing innovative ways to redefine and differentiate.

tonya herrinG

Herring helped to transform a winning commercial team, adding insight and diversity to all that she accomplished. She approached business from a progressive viewpoint, driving performance through the lens of the consumers and empowering her teams to innovate, test, evaluate and adjust for success. In addition to her ability to drive the business, Herring is passionate about diversity and inclusion as the executive sponsor of ALANA, Ahold’s business resource group focused on awareness, education and understanding of different cultures, for which she helped develop the 2016 goals and objectives.

vP, albertsons cos.

Beardsley oversaw the development of an ambitious initiative to find and implement a new and more functionally robust web-based document management software solution to replace the real estate law department’s voluminous electronic and paper files.

She oversaw the debut of a new, high-end Pavilions banner, offering such exciting features as wine stewards and a concierge service. Raya launched the Fresh Rescue program in more than 220 Vons and Pavilions stores, which will provide quality product to local food banks and partner nonprofit agencies across Southern California.

Wilcox developed and executed a strategic communications plan to help employees prepare for a major system conversion in four divisions, affecting more than 500 stores.

General vP, Bakery, albertsons cos.

Under Hunt’s leadership, market share grew in core categories through strategic initiatives and joint product development for signature custom desserts.

She provided exemplary legal representation to the company in the sales of five corporate office buildings to four separate buyers. Beardsley represented the company in a complex sale-redevelopment project in Washington, D.C., involving the creation of air rights and the sale of the site for the development of a new prototype store.

A savvy leader, Hunt developed a strong team that works closely together in growing each team member’s skillsets to drive optimal performance. She also co-presented a Network of Exective Women webinar on skill building.

vaLerie WiLSon

vP, Merchandising Services, albertsons cos.

vP, communications and education, albertsons cos. Over the past year, Wilcox assumed the responsibilities of Albertsons’ VP of public relations after his retirement, and also began leading the education team.

JeWeL hunt

A strong advocate for leadership development, she is an advisory council member for the Albertsons Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network (WIIN), helping to plan diversity and inclusion events and facilitate networking.

chriStine WiLcox

She integrated internal communications and public affairs into a single strategic initiative to bolster the impact of Albertsons’ communications by aligning its message across an array of audiences.


MariLyn BearDSLey

SvP, Merchandising, ahold uSa

Wilson successfully designed, developed and led the first full year of the Albertsons Merchandising Program (AMP), an internal manufacturer-funded program that drives sales through category resets, remodels and new item cut-ins. Through her leadership of AMP, a team of more than 4,000 dedicated merchandisers logged 2 million-plus category reset labor hours and 700 fullstore resets. Wilson was a key leader in the development of an Albertsons National Reset Calendar that includes national recommendations for shelf adjacency and flow.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

JiLL Short cLark SvP, Sales, atkins nutritionals

Clark worked closely with the CEO and the human resources department to pioneer a new vision and mission statement for Atkins Nutritionals. This rollout not only changed the internal attitude and behavior of the entire organization, but also the performance and external view of the company. She introduced two lifestyle brands that helped grow total sales by 6 percent. As well as winning various sales excellence awards at Atkins, Clark helped pioneer and served on the board of Serenade Heights, an organization that helps and supports single-mom families.

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Senior-LeveL executiveS

Sharon BroWn Founder and ceo, Bonafide Provisions

Dr. Patricia BraGG

chriStine curtiS

ceo, Bragg Live Food Products

SvP, chain Sales and account Management, c&S Wholesale Grocers

Under Brown’s leadership, Bonafide Provisions has seen a 1,200 percent increase in the past year, helping to create the frozen bone-broth category at retail; in the realm of innovation, the company added a Free Range Turkey variety to its portfolio.

Bragg led the company to continued growth, including a 38 percent sales increase from April 2016 to March 2017. The popular Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar was among the top three items in virtually every one of the company’s grocery accounts.

In March 2016, Bonafide unveiled a strategic partnership with Boulder Investment Group Reprise, as well as the formation of the Bonafide board of directors.

She oversaw the launch of a new product, Bragg Miracle Cleanse.

She was responsible for the scoping, creation and negotiation of close to $100 million in business with a new customer, which involved consolidating the services of multiple wholesalers.

Bragg is the director of the Bragg Health Foundation, directs the Bragg Health Kids program, and provides scholarships to students in naturopathic and lifestyle medicine at 10 universities and colleges. Additionally, her organic farm donates organic apples to school lunch programs.

Curtis developed and implemented scorecarding to measure the account team’s effective management of key customer processes, including collaboration on inventory inititiatives with customers and internal partners. The first year yielded several million dollars in improvements.

Brown, a certified clinical nutritionist, nutritional therapist and GAPS practitioner, co-authored a cookbook with more than 90 recipes that incorporate bone broth into dishes in unexpected ways.

tracy Moore

SvP, nonperishable Procurement and Merchandising, c&S Wholesale Grocers

Moore continued to evolve C&S Wholesale Grocers’ merchandising and supply chain deliverables. She led the development and implementation of the Strategic Partnership Manufacturer Collaboration Program for Nonperishable Procurement, which experienced participation levels well beyond budgeted expectations. Moore designed and drove the implementation of the National Independent Merchandising Program for all C&S divisions, representing more than $8 billion in independent retail sales, and delivered a 5 percent reduction in yearover-year inventory levels.


Curtis drove the preparation and negotiations for a successful renewal with one of C&S Wholesale Grocers’ leading customers.

Joy SGro

MicheLLe FerGuSon

vP, Merchandising and Marketing, c&S Wholesale Grocers

Over the past two years, Sgro efficiently transitioned C&S’ Robesonia, Pa., facility from a co-op strategy to an independent wholesale environment; integrated the facility’s inventory and financial systems on an Oracle-based platform; and developed a successful end cap program for independent retailers. She exceeded budget requirements, achieving gross profit for the Robesonia facility, and she exceeded yearover-year sales at both the spring and fall trade shows. Sgro was named chairman of the board for the National Frozen & Refrigerated Association for the 2016-17 year.

evP, Food and innovation, clif Bar & co.

Managing Clif Bar & Co.’s product portfolio, including new and existing items, Ferguson led the development of the company’s largest launch ever: Clif Nut Butter Filled. She brought to market the innovative Clif Whey Protein Bar, which delivers high protein and low sugar without the sugar alcohols used in many competing products, and guided product redesigns that increased the percentage of organic ingredients and led to simpler ingredient decks. Ferguson established a fiveyear innovation strategy, and is leading a revamp of the new product lifecycle process to cut innovation time in half.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

JaMieLee KinG vP, center Store Procurement, c&S Wholesale Grocers

King led her team through a dramatic increase in service performance for one of C&S Wholesale Grocers’ largest customers, achieving highquality results. She raised the performance bar. both in terms of service and cost savings, for one of C&S’ key customers in Hawaii, a location that presents unique service challenges due to the logistics of getting to the islands. King led the transformation of C&S’ processes for managing inventory obsolescence. based on improved internal and external-facing processes, the company expects to reduce obsolescence by 50 percent year over year.

chriSten Lunt vP, accounting and corporate controller, clif Bar & co.

Lunt led two major accounting setups and implementations in the same year, as Clif Bar & Co. added two bakeries, leveraging her CPA training and experience to learn new manufacturing accounting concepts. She added regular travel to her job description to stay connected to the new accounting groups at the bakeries, at the same time promotig Clif Bar’s unique culture in the new locations. Lunt provided extensive accounting support before, during and after the go-live date of a complete software migration at one of the new bakeries.

Smart & Final congratulates all of the amazing individuals named to

Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery 2017.


Store Managers

Barbara Van Dine

Milly Lopez

Lorenza Crane

VP of Talent Development

Store Manager Coachella, CA

Store Manager Santee, CA

Rising Stars

Sheila Fletcher

Colleen von Flotow

Jeannie Hegemier

Category Manager

Retail Maintenance Manager

Senior Category Manager


Š Copyright 2017 Smart & Final Stores, Inc.

Senior-LeveL executiveS

Monica hunSaKer

vP, customer Management, coca-cola Bottling co. consolidated In 2016, Hunsaker initiated the development and implementation of a sparklingbeverage variety pack offering designed specifically for the club channel. She and her team developed the first-ever Coca Cola Consolidated commercial plan, which will serve as a roadmap to success across customer management, field sales, operations, supply chain, revenue growth management and marketing for the company’s largest customer. Hunsaker led the implementation of the latest analytical technology aimed at improving customer out-of-stock situations and increasing operational efficiencies.

Katherine FuLLer

Katie Lattanzi

Diane WaLLace

vP, albertsons hQ Sales, the coca-cola co.

Lattanzi led her team to create a variety of merchandising activations that had a significant impact on Albertsons and Coca-Cola. She collaborated with the Coca-Cola information technology team and Google to execute the Google DoubleClick capacity for the Coca-Cola Iconic End Cap. The initiative was awarded a gold medal in the 2016 Path to Purchase Institute’s Design of the Times awards. As a member of the Network of Executive Women (NEW), Lattanzi was active in creating the Boise, Idaho, chapter and is currently a NEW regional leader for the western region within Coca-Cola.

vP, retail Marketing and Strategy, coca-cola north america

After being named to her current role in May 2016, Wallace led her 189-member team to achieve best-in-class business results for the CocaCola Co. and its large-store customers. She drove the achievements of the overall business plan for the company’s national retail sales division, including revenues and profits. Her efforts contributed to a positive retail sales growth trend for the company’s brands. Wallace led her team to advance the execution and results of the premier strategic initiative Coke with Meals, which delivered sales and revenue growth for both CocaCola and retail customers.

Sherene JagLa

hoLLy MeLoy

vP/gM, crossmark

SvP, Managing Director, Marketing Werks and PromoWorks, crossmark

vP/Managing Director, crossmark Under Fuller’s leadership, Crossmark was awarded business resulting in $2 millionplus in revenue. She exceeded her revenue goals collectively by nearly $3 million across her client portfolio. She created monthly business reviews with her clients to provide visibility to current performance, discuss opportunities and strategize innovative ways to grow her clients’ brands. Fuller focused on talent development, beginning with the selection of a new director on her team. She also recognized the team’s performance by holding an awards presentation that highlighted top performers.


Jagla drove revenue 18 percent with her largest client by focusing on its greatest area of opportunity to deliver increased volume and profit through a retail strategy. She helped a large consumer packaged goods company turn around declining trends in grocery by completing a thorough opportunity analysis, creating a strategy to win and galvanizing her team’s thought leadership to drive accountability and consistency in delivering to clients. Jagla helped a leading specialty pet food company penetrate new markets by providing the services of veterinarians and shelters, and providing in-store education.

Managing $88 million combined for Marketing Werks and PromoWorks and overseeing a dynamic leadership team with combined expertise in account management, operations, creative, digital, finance and business development, Meloy worked with clients and employees spread across the United States to drive new business and profitability across the organization. She met revenue and EBITDA numbers for Marketing Werks, and grew PromoWorks’ revenue plus EBITDA by 67 percent over the past two years. Meloy assisted in launching Marketing Werks Canada.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

SanDy DeiterS

vP, continuous improvement, crossmark

Deiters launched the Continuous Improvement Team, which contributed to both bottom- and top-line growth for Crossmark while creating a foundation for enhancing relationships with customers. With the launch of Crossmark’s Net Promoter program, which she also oversees, the team successfully rolled out a comprehensive program for soliciting input from customers, synthesizing feedback, incorporating that feedback into the organization’s strategic plans and delivering a robust communication plan to support all activities. Deiters received the Network of Executive Women’s North Texas Chapter Member Spotlight Award.

caroLine StocKDaLe

evP/chief People officer, crossmark Stockdale established a successful Net Promoter Program, providing clients with the opportunity to be heard, and Crossmark with valuable information on their thoughts, perceptions and needs. She introduced Lean Sigma and continuous improvement as a core pillar for success, and ran multiple Kaizen events for improvement, including one for onboarding that has yielded to date a 44 percent increased throughput by her team. Stockdale launched Crossmark Academy and built a curated reference library sorted by topic and searchable by keyword, supporting bestin-class learning products.

Congratulations to all those who set the standard. PepsiCo salutes its Top Women in Grocery and the positive impact they make on our industry.

Š2017 PepsiCo, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This ad contains valuable trademarks owned and used by PepsiCo, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates to distinguish products and services of outstanding quality.

Advantage Solutions congratulates all of Progressive Grocer’s 2017 Top Women in Grocery. We’re very proud of our own award recipients, whose leadership and dedication are vital to our success.

Susie Beard

Susan Borg

Stephanie Davis

Karen Diller

Lauren Gill

Jill Griffin

Julie Jennings

Helen Malkin

Katelyn Nadeau

Krista Pascanik

Crystal Rossel

Elena Skaletsky

Bethany Schwartz

Diane Sparks

senior-LeVeL exeCutiVes

aiMee beCKer

VP, strategic services, Daymon Becker worked to restructure the brand and category strategy teams, whose work was often seen as duplicative. Reviewing strategy, structure and people making necessary changes helped Daymon to be seen as a more strategic branding firm that’s better aligned with its retailers. Project completion rates are now up to 25 percent faster. Following her promotion from VP, brand and category strategy to VP, strategic services, she’s leading the transformation of Daymon’s design agency. Becker served as a mentor in the Babson College Coaching for Leadership and Teamwork Program from 2010 to 2017.

Deborah L. engLish

President and Founder, DL english Design Among her many projects, English and her team of architects, interior designers, fabricators and installers rolled out the first 365 by Whole Foods Market, in Los Angeles, with two additional locations debuting in Portland, Ore., and Bellevue, Wash. She served as a panelist for sessions during the 2017 Hospitality Design Expo and the Urban Land Institute, and as a guest on KCRW-FM’s “DnA: Design and Architecture” radio show. In the past year, she’s been nominated for an award from the Retail Design Institute for her supermarket design work, among other honors.

jenniFer KiMura VP, Finance, sas retail services, Daymon

Since joining Daymon seven years ago, Kimura, who is responsible for all financerelated matters at SAS, has helped achieve 700 percent growth, increasing both the top and bottom lines.

gina PFister

regional VP, sas retail services, Daymon

Overseeing a multimilliondollar budget, Pfister delivered 50 percent growth over last year’s numbers.

She and her team implemented a new financial system and operational system in parallel to support the growth of the operation while maintaining the margins of the organization by minimizing additional headcount to support the transitions.

She served as SAS’s account lead for a major new customer program launch, built out teams of 1,300-plus associates and achieved 99.6 percent execution results. She led the startup process of this new program, built a customized execution format for the customer, integrated IT systems and led process change by partnering with the customer.

Kimura helped lead the most efficient group of professionals to run the finance team, minimizing costs but maximizing efficiency and growth opportunities.

Always willing to take on new challenges, Pfister is one of Daymon’s leading culture trainers, supporting its national efforts to align its company culture brand.

KeLLy VLahaKis-hanKs

LinDa norDgren

President and Ceo, earth Friendly Products

Vlahakis-Hanks led Earth Friendly Products’ facilities to achieve carbon neutrality, water neutrality and Platinum-level Zero Waste Platinum certification. Under her direction, the company instituted one of the country’s strongest employee benefits programs, offering a variety of paid health care, personal leave and disability benefits, as well as financial incentives for sustainable living, and raised minimum pay to $17 per hour. Earth Friendly Products received such honors as the California Governor’s Environmental & Economic Leadership Award, and U.S. EPA WasteWise Small Business Partner of the Year.

President and Ceo, encore associates

Assembling a team of retail and CPG industry experts, Nordgren, whose own own retail career included successful stints at Safeway and Target, acquired Encore Associates. As one of the four founding strategies to drive top-line growth, she focused the team on identifying strong, inspiring female executive leaders and supported their advancement to CEO and board positions in the CPG industry. Nordgren assembled a cross-functional team that identified the source of a failing CPG retailer sales account and created a sales growth strategy, resulting in positive identical sales at a national retail chain.

reKha raMesh

sVP, it & Digital, Daymon

Ramesh introduced “fast prototyping,” a concept with cloud solutions, which provided rapid turnaround time for technology solutions for the business, and reduced heavy upfront investment while aiding adoption by the user community. She implemented a digital catalog for Daymon’s import/ export business, migrating what previously was done on paper to a digital platform. Ramesh gave the central sourcing team the ability to gain visibility into day-today operations via Google search technology within the Daymon network, to consolidate vendor data from various sources.

sonja boeLhouwer regional VP store operations, giant/ Martin’s

Boelhouwer’s Yes I Can customer service program began as a six-store pilot in which customer feedback was gathered through survey monitors and the results were shared with associates to provide positive reinforcement and identify opportunities for improvement. She introduced region period reviews conducted by each district director and human resource manager to examine the business and encourage innovative solutions. Boelhouwer increased both gender and minority representation in the store manager position, and worked to form a mentoring circle with new female district directors.

June 2017 | |


Senior-LeveL executiveS

KriStin wiLLiamS

SvP/chief health officer, hy-vee

LindSey inSerra

Under the leadership of Williams, who was promoted to her present position in 2016, the fulfillment center began shipping twice daily and on weekends to Hy-Vee’s more than 250 pharmacy locations.

Inserra took a leadership role as one of the first junior board members of communitybased food rescue program Table To Table, to which Inserra Supermarkets regularly donates food items.

She also spearheaded the opening of the fifth Amber Pharmacy location, in San Bernardino, Calif., expanding Hy-Vee’s ability to provide specialized care for customers with chronic medical conditions; a sixth location is forthcoming.

She helped raise more than $200,000 for the Diabetes Research Institute, a leader in cure-focused research, and its foundation; funds were used to launch the Lindsey InserraHughes Immune Tolerance Seminar Series to advance immunology research into type 1 diabetes.

Williams implemented price optimization software at all Hy-Vee pharmacy locations and fulfillment centers, increasing gross profit by more than three percentage points.

Joy nichoLaS

Principal and owner, Jn retail connections

Nicholas acted as a role model for others in the grocery industry by supporting initiatives to promote diversity, provide retail technology consultation to independent retailers, and mentor students and emerging leaders.

Inserra received the 2016 Elinor J. Ferdon Young Woman of Promise Award from the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey.

President, iowa Grocery industry association

Hurd worked with state regulators and industry figures to get a long-term recycling bill introduced, keeping stakeholders of all sizes informed about, and focused on, the task at hand. She also brought a new lobbyist on board to advocate for the organization. Her professional affiliations include sitting on the boards of directors of the Newspaper Association of Iowa and the Food Industry Association Executives, being a member of the Alcohol Beverage Division Board on Policy, and serving as VP of the board of directors of the Iowa Society of Association Executives. Hurd is active at her local school and church.

cheryL Sommer

carrie Sander

owner and President, Kaune’s neighborhood market

Following an impressive full renovation overseen by Sommer, Kaune’s Neighborhood Market won edible’s Best Grocery Retailer Local Hero Award in 2016.

She served the first and only chair of the Network of Executive Women’s (NEW) annual scholarship committee, and as facilitator/adviser of the National Grocers Association’s (NGA) CIO share group.

She has sat on the boards of directors of two state industry organizations, and currently serves as a member of the board of directors, on the executive committee and as chairman of the audit committee of the National Grocers Association.

An in-demand speaker for NGA, NEW, and Western Michigan University’s Food Marketing and CPG Program, Nicholas offered counsel and guidance to trade groups, students and all industry stakeholders.

An attorney licensed to practice in the state of New Mexico as well as a food retailer, Sommer is currently of counsel with Sommer Udall Law Firm, founded by her late father-in-law in 1953.


micheLLe hurd

vP, marketing and corporate retail health and wellness, inserra Supermarkets

vP, Sales-Kroger team, Kellogg co.

Sander led the strategic joint business-planning partnership with Kroger across all business units to drive successful share performance in the categories in which Kellogg competes. Taking on a nontraditional task for a sales leader, she co-created a talent playbook for the global company that provides a roadmap for all employees to navigate their careers and overall succession plans. Sander rebuilt the talent on her team to focus on higher strategic work that leverages demand chain insights to drive consumer behavior and create a new in-store shopping experience.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

meLiSSa ParKer

vP, Supply chain client relations and operations, inmar

One of Inmar’s 2017 Food Logistics Champion Rock Stars of the Supply Chain, Parker improved liquidation revenue for a client by 12.5 percent through conversion to a new technology platform. She boosted value recovery rates by about 10 percent for several clients by way of benchmarking and policy advisement. Parker led a business analytics team that created dashboards and visibility to deliver on-hand inventory accuracy rates of nearly 100 percent for a major client, and drove positive results through creative ways to extend the product life cycle and expand green initiatives.

KriStin Schweitzer

vP, Sales-walmart, Kellogg co.

Under Schweitzer’s leadership, her team was ranked by Walmart in an Advantage survey as a top-10 supplier, showing significant improvement from the prior year. In a game changer for the industry, she focused her team on higher strategic work that leveraged demand chain insights for a best-in-class innovation platform that led the cereal category to growth and engaged consumers to tremendous trial-and-repeat performance in the marketplace. Schweitzer’s team delivered the top performance across the United States in morning foods in terms of top- and bottom-line performance and overall share.


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Senior-LeveL executiveS

JeSSica c. adeLMan

Group vP, corporate affairs, the Kroger co.

Adelman led a team effort to craft an ambitious, multipronged corporate affairs strategy centered on making a difference for customers, associates and communities.

LeSLie courtney

Courtney’s team spearheaded the rollout of the ClickList click-and-collect offering to 400-plus stores, the expansion of pharmacy contact-center capabilities, and the deployment of several technology upgrades, including self-checkout.

Under her leadership, Kroger introduced new and expanded sustainability commitments to increase its responsible sourcing and improve eco-stewardship by 2020, including the expansion of the grocer’s 100 percent sustainable-seafood commitment.

Her organization also consolidated services across all centers, as well as introducing a new workforce management toolset and new call-recording technology.

With Adelman’s guidance, Kroger and its customers, associates and suppliers provided nearly $310 million to support local communities, including food and funds equal to nearly 330 million meals.

The Veterans Associate Resource Group co-chair, Courtney was honored by Easter Seals on National Philanthropy Day for her work with various veterans organizations within the community.

Madi PaLerMo

Manager, digital technology and customer experience, the Kroger co./Harris teeter

vP, General Merchandise, Health and Beauty care, the Kroger co./roundy’s

McLain developed and managed the process for Own Brand product integration during the Roundy’s-Kroger merger. In four months, she brought in or launched 1,000plus SKUs under four major Kroger brands — Big K, Simple Truth, Private Selection and Kroger Brand HBC — with total sales of these products at Roundy’s totaling $26 million. She analyzed synergies for Own Brand cost of goods and identified $11 million in savings by leveraging Kroger’s cost of goods with vendors. McLain grew Roundy’s seasonal business with a Halloween general merchandise buy that was 800 percent greater than the previous year.

aLLiSon unKraut

nicoLe Bernard daweS

vP, customer Strategy and activation, the Kroger co./ 84.51°

Palermo launched Harris Teeter’s first ecommerce mobile app in April 2015; by January 2017, the app had brought in 50 percent of total orders and Expresslane sales had grown 37 percent.

Unkraut built the division engagement team, now numbering 15, from scratch to support new businesses as they join Kroger by providing customer service knowledge and customer analytics.

She introduced grocery delivery powered by Uber in four markets; Expresslane business in the flagship store increased 250 percent and the service obtained the highest onlineshopping customer satisfaction ratings.

In the first three months, she directed significant investment in price, assortment changes and new customer-driven metrics so the newly merged division could understand the health of the business.

Palermo rolled out a sub, deli and pizza Order Ahead program in all 241 Harris Teeter stores; same-store sales for the program increased by 51 percent in 2016.

All of Unkraut’s newly launched initiatives are driving double-digit, year-overyear growth and showing the same trajectory as they’re launched in new markets.


dana McLain

Senior director, the Kroger co./ Kroger technology

ceo and Founder, Late July Snacks

Dawes’ commitment to the brand and continuous innovation led to the company’s ascension to the No. 1 natural/ organic tortilla chip brand in the country, with three of the five top SKUs and 40 percent year-over-year growth. She has sat on the board of the Organic Trade Association for six years, testified before Congress about the economic impact of organic agriculture, and served as a mentor for female entrepreneurs not only within her company, but also at startups across the country. Under Dawes’ guidance, the company launched a webstore, and single-serve sizes of Late July’s boldly flavored SKUs.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

MeGan MoGLia

vP, Loyalty, the Kroger co./84.51°

Moglia spearheaded the development of the practices and change management associated with driving customer experience across 84.51° and Kroger, including the creation of a maturity assessment of customer experience to diagnose current versus desired state, and provided leaders with practical guiding principles and key behaviors to lead their teams. She drove the adoption of customer experience principles through the engagement of key projects and initiative teams. Moglia created an off-site interactive workshop to help employees better understand customer needs.

MicHeLLe L. SteBBinS

treasurer and controller, Martin’s Supermarkets

Responsible for the budgeting process and strategic corporate initiatives, Stebbins was influential in the implementation of “groceries to go” in six locations, as well as two new locations in 2016. Her recommendations led to important strategic decisions, such as working closely with vendors to assure sufficient arrangements were in place to help achieve Martin’s strategic initiatives. Always seeking ways to improve her community, Stebbins takes part in school fundraisers and serves as treasurer of the Home and School Association, among other activities.


Molly Olson Assistant Vice President, Restaurant Development Kim Jaber Store Director, Fort Madison

Kristin tin Williams Senior Vice President, fficer Chief Health Officer

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seniOr-LeVeL exeCutiVes

tatiana BirgissOn

Founder and CeO, Mati energy

In the past year, Birgisson’s team tripled in size, from eight to 25 employees, and sales grew 122 percent, due in large part to expanding national retailer partnerships that led to a fourfold increase in points of distribution.

niCOLe LaughLin VP, Brand Development and Marketing, Meijer

Laughlin’s Locally Grown campaign, with targeted, highly localized in-store and digital marketing, grew sales by 5 percent and raised customer perception scores for satisfaction and local items.

Thanks to the opening of its R&D Innovation Lab, MATI Energy released five new flavors on Amazon and, this past October, three new flavors in retail stores.

Following her complete remodel of the adult beverage department and new marketing campaign, the department saw a 90-basis-point increase in market share, establishing Meijer as an adult-beverage destination.

Birgisson completed the installation of equipment in a new manufacturing facility, produced the company’s first pasteurized product and earned GMP food safety certification, with 91 percent.

Laughlin successfully piloted a new value-communication program, with the pilot driving a 200-basis-point improvement in sales and a 50-basis-point improvement in dollar and unit share.

Deanna Jurgens

region VP, sales, Pacific northwest, PepsiCo/ Frito-Lay north america

Christina MenenDez

VP, shopper Marketing and ecommerce, Walmart, PepsiCo

CassanDra Curtis

Co-Founder/COO, Once upon a Farm

VP, shopper Marketing, PepsiCo

Curtis’s brand became a CPG leader by using high-pressure processing to create baby food made from fresh, high-quality ingredients and sold in convenient meal pouches.

Anderson led several transformational activities in the past year, with programs that delivered more than 97 million PepsiCo trips and an increase in shopper conversion.

She developed and led efforts to bring refrigerated baby food coolers to national retail locations, including a test launch in 10 Kroger stores in the Dallas and Houston markets.

Other results included a 55 percent increase in personalized digital programming, the doubling of share of wallet performance on key innovation, and strong growth in broad media-to-shelf marketing programs.

Curtis helped grow company personnel by 200 percent, leading to an overall 500 percent growth in company revenue, while increasing ecommerce revenue by 300 percent and bumping up consumer engagement across the brand’s social media channels by 3,000 percent.

nanCy Chagares

Chief Merchandising Officer, save-a-Lot Food stores

Among Jurgens’ biggest achievements in recent months was guiding her region to exceptional results across sales, profit, service, market share, people and safety metrics, which led the region to win the company’s prestigious Herman Lay Awards.

Over the past year, the PepsiCo Walmart Inc. team headed by Menendez overdelivered on its annual plan by $20 million; Walmart showed positive share results across PepsiCo’s largest categories and in turn, PepsiCo outpaced all CPG competitors at Walmart in 2016.

Under her leadership, the region grew ticket and net sales by 104 percent.

She led the team in the development of the first PepsiCo Hard Discounter Defense strategy.

She contributed to the successful outcome of the sale of Save-A-Lot to a private equity company through her presentations, perspective on the company’s business model, and support of the overall sales process.

Additionally, under Menendez’s guidance, PepsiCo was the first supplier to institute first-party data sharing on the website to improve return on advertising spending and conversion.

Chagares played a key role in introducing the company’s popular America’s Choice Creations private label line line by identifying the right items and taste profiles, and sourcing the best suppliers.

Jurgens sponsored several key business and cultural changes, including a major frontline employee compensation system change, and was a force in hosting a women’s forum and Frito-Lay Life Shifts session in her area.

JaneLLe anDersOn

After joining Save-A-Lot last year, Chagares initiated key strategic changes that drove sales and new customers while she built a team and acquired talented leadership.

Anderson delivered these results, which netted 12 customer and industry awards and eight internal marketing awards, while creating a growth environment that resulted in multiple promotions within her team.

Diane COOke

VP, human resources, sFC global supply Chain inc.

Cooke improved the work experience of supply chain employees through efforts such as People Operating Principles, which communicates expectations on how to treat the company’s employees. Following her emphasis on cultivating talent and workforce planning, her team is working on assessing development needs, aligning on consistent job requirements and expectations, and creating various training programs. Cooke was nominated for the Marvin Schwan Excellence Award, the most prestigious honor the company bestows on employees who exemplify its values and culture.

June 2017 | |


Senior-Level Executives

Katlin Smith CEO, Simple Mills

Barbara Van Dine

Kim Breland

Director, Supply Chain and Finance, Sprouts Farmers Market

VP, Talent Management, Smart & Final LLC

Smith steered the overall direction and product development at Simple Mills, a fastgrowing producer of natural baking mixes and crackers known for its clean-food product portfolio. Under her leadership, Simple Mills’ sales in its category have more than octupled since 2014, with a velocity growth of 26 percent in the past year alone, and the company has secured distribution in 6,500plus grocery stores. Smith drove 12 successful new-product introductions, including two organic frostings, four ready­-to­-eat cookie varieties, two new almond flour cracker flavors and four sprouted crackers.

Diana Lucas

VP, Vitamins and Body Care, Sprouts Farmers Market

Lucas led a complete redesign of Sprouts Brand vitamin and body care products and introduced Sprouts Essentials to store shelves. She led a joint effort with Sprouts’ grocery operations to improve product pricing, and kept the company’s growing base of employees educated and on top of industry trends through enhanced internal training and materials developed with professional nutritionists. Under Lucas’ leadership, her department raised a record $430,000 in 2016 for Vitamin Angels, which provides more than 1.7 million children with life-saving nutrients.


Taking over responsibility for the staffing department in 2016, Van Dine oversaw the recruitment, hiring and training of more than 2,000 associates for 34 new stores, located from the Southern California border to the northen section of the state, in the compressed time frame of just four months. She was key to hiring and training more people in a single year than the company had hired and trained in the previous four years combined. In addition to her busy work schedule, Van Dine found the time to write a chapter for the best-selling book “Fix It: Getting Accountability Right” by Roger Connors and Tom Smith, released in May 2016.

Breland’s team introduced cost reduction initiatives while also developing an operational cost management process that helped Sprouts mitigate unnecessary inventory transfer, eliminate orphan claims and optimize credit consolidation. She helped Sprouts achieve audit compliance and successfully tame complex operations in accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Breland volunteers at Fireside Elementary School, supports such organizations as the Ovarian Cancer Coalition and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, aids local animalrescue efforts, and delivers holiday meals.

Stacy Dye

Donna Banks-Ficcio

SVP/GM, Quantitative Insights, Strategic Intelligence Research Services (SIRS) Dye led a team in gamechanging food retailing research, including client services, program management, scripting, field, data processing, reporting, analysis and action planning. She developed research techniques for food retailers, including proprietary online research technology enabling users to target survey respondents specifically within their geographic reach. Dye forged mobile partnerships allowing food retailers to sample large quantities of respondents down to the store level while maintaining an authentic shopping experience at the point of sale.

VP, Center Store-West Region, Supervalu

Cindy Chikahisa VP, Store Operations Field Capability, Sprouts Farmers Market

Chikahisa led and instituted in-store training programs spanning 15 states from coast to coast and reaching more than 24,000 associates, as well as leadership development programs. She spearheaded the launch of Sprouts’ new Learning Management System, which provides enhanced visibility of appropriate classes, progress tracking of certifications, and better course management for greater accuracy and ease of associate learning. In a year of rapid company growth, Chikahisa took on the role of interim division VP of Sprouts’ expanding East Region while continuing her other responsibilities.

Karena Niblett VP, Operations, Supervalu/Shop ‘n Save

An advocate for work/life balance, Banks-Ficcio helped form an initiative called the Team Escape Group to improve team building and morale through monthly and seasonal celebrations and community outreach projects.

Instrumental in updating inventory procedures and practices, Niblett helped achieve overall reductions in shrink and increased profitability while establishing new tools to measure metrics and results.

With oversight of several categories across 10 distribution centers, she launched several key company initiatives, including the Bulk K-Cup, What the Buck, Seasonal Beverage and Keebler Warehouse programs.

With the aim of developing a more focused and talented operational team, she hired, coached and mentored 20-plus key associates crucial to the company’s currently strong position and leadership.

Banks-Ficcio implemented the monthly GEM (Going the Extra Mile) awards for employee peer recognition and rewards.

Niblett established a Store Director Council to share ideas, brainstorm root causes, and challenge the entire team to be engaged in the process of improvement.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

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FRESH THINKING Meijer congratulates all Top Women in Grocery, including our very own. Jenn Abramowski Zyla Akiti Montiel Birmingham Sarah Bruischat Jennifer Coffey Echo DeVos Michelle Hall

Jamie Laming Nicole Laughlin Terri Martin Sandi Mathews Nickie McCullough Angela Pagel Andrea Swartz

Shannon Kulback

Ying Vang

Senior-LeveL executiveS

canDie Baker

President, Webster’s Market Place

Jeanette roGerS

vP/corporate controller, Weis Markets

Baker successfully led through major changes at the company, including a transition in wholesaler relationships, the store’s renovation, and the implementation of new brands and technology systems.

During the company’s acquisition of 44 stores in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware and their conversion to the Weis banner in just 96 days, Rogers supervised the onboarding of more than 2,000 new associates.

An advocate for employees and teamwork, she often jumps in to help as a clerk in each of the store’s 17 departments.

As Weis entered two new states — Delaware and Virginia — she and her team had to complete business operations and licensing requirements to operate in these locations without delay.

A dedicated philanthropist who’s active in her community, Baker is involved in the Webster Foundation, which helps local nonprofits and awards scholarships to associates or their children, and she coaches third- and sixth-grade girls basketball.

SuSan BorG

technical account executive, retail technology Services, advantage Solutions Borg turned Mars/Wrigley clients into “raving fans” through consistently providing exemplary customer service, driving initiatives forward and proactively delivering high-value solutions. Her technical expertise, business savvy and total commitment to delivering best-inclass technology helped her implement a long list of applications and enhancements, including e-orders, itinerary management and custom dashboard reporting. According to clients, Borg has made a significant impact on their businesses, and is a tremendous asset and a valuable strategic partner.


Rogers oversaw the implementation of a new sales audit process that enabled the company to shift more than 5,000 hours of back-room labor to the sales floor, thereby better serving customers.

karen DiLLer

Lauren GiLL

Business Development Manager, advantage Solutions

Diller exceeded her revenue budget by 33 percent in 2016. For a top client, she turned around a business to end the year up 4 percent, managing spend efficiently and delivering trade spend goals for the year.

Director, client Services, retail technology artS advantage Solutions

Asked to head up a new team, Gill put together a plan and within 90 days changed the direction of the team, instilled a new strategic focus, lifted team morale and raised performance significantly.

She established relationships across the teams of her client and her retailer that enabled her to achieve wins for both partners, including out-of-stock improvements.

She went on to reposition a key team member of the team and submit that person for a prestigious award within the company, ensuring that the individual received the recognition that was deserved.

Diller received back-to-back quarterly excellence-in-execution awards from her top client and was recognized with the opportunity to attend the company’s leadership development summit in 2017.

Gill reached out to peers and set a new standard of service delivery, the first step in remaking a critical partnership to drive the design and delivery of technology and mobility operations support.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

JuLie JenninGS Finance Manager, advantage Solutions Marketing Partners

Known as a “go-to” finance expert, Jennings won Advantage’s 2016 Break Through to Break Out Award. A member of the Network of Executive Women’s Cincinnati chapter, she was recognized for finance excellence and nominated for cross-training by Walmart’s finance team. Jennings earned the Kroger Discoveries Pillar Award for Business Strategy, and was honored for her service with the Cincinnati Free Store food bank. She has also chaired the St. Mary Parish Festival Committee for the last 10 years, staffing and organizing 1,200-plus shifts of volunteers to work at the event.


/© 2017 Tyson Foods, Inc.

Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. ®


Speaking with…

JERRY HOLBROOK Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing, Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.

Q: Tyson Foods Corporate recently went through a rebranding process. How does Tyson Fresh Meats: The Beef and Pork Company, support the parent company’s efforts? The identity of Tyson Fresh Meats fits in effortlessly with the larger enterprise rebranding effort. Tyson Fresh Meats is an easy, business-unit extension of the larger company’s purpose and shared core values. The new corporate brand is a solid marketing idea that presents our customers with an identity that complements the Tyson brand consumer logo, while representing the broad diversity of business interests at Tyson Foods.


Tell us about the Brands that are part of Tyson Fresh Meats: The Beef and Pork Company? We have nine brands or brand extensions that we focus on: Star Ranch Angus® Beef, Open Prairie™ Natural Angus Beef, Open Prairie™ Natural Pork, Chairman’s Reserve® Prime Pork, Chairman’s Reserve® Premium Pork, Chairman’s Reserve® Premium Beef, Tyson® Crafted Creations®, ibp Trusted Excellence® and Reuben® Corned Beef. Each one of these fills a specific customer and consumer demand that is present in the marketplace. Together they provide a powerful portfolio of product options that our customers can use to reach their consumers. We want retailers and foodservice distributors to see

Tyson Fresh Meats as the company that can provide solutions to their business needs. When people think of beef and pork, we want Tyson Fresh Meats to be their “Go To” supplier.

Q: Why do customers and consumers gravitate toward Tyson Fresh Meats Brands? The beef and pork brands that we’ve developed are based on a foundation of consumer understanding and industry insights. We recognize that the consumer is who we speak to with our brands and we understand the voice of those brands is amplified when it is combined with the expertise of our customers. We work hard to develop strong brand messaging that reaches consumers and support our loyal customers with ways they can use our brands to grow their business.


What sets Tyson Fresh Meats: The Beef and Pork Company apart? Tyson Fresh Meats is The Beef and Pork Company because we pride ourselves on earning the trust of our customers every day. We have terrific brands that are all built on the foundation of operational excellence. Our heritage has innovation at its heart, our products represent quality and consistency, and our future is focused on growth for our customers.

heLen MaLkin


regional Manager, Marketing, advantage Solutions


Malkin worked with the Mars Petcare R&D team to evolve and heighten its training content, elevating the knowledge base of the field associates and creating an unparalleled level of instore expertise, which translated into increased ROI. She worked with the insights and analytics teams for both Mars and Advantage, developing a reporting and measurement framework that provides real-time results, optimizing coverage and activities for Mars and its retail customers. Malkin’s efforts led to the sales growth of the business, which increased 43 percent in 2016 for covered stores.

Bethany Schwartz

client team Leader, advantage Solutions

Co-merchandising Coca-Cola products can drive your deli food sales +11%*. Visit to discover The Coca-Cola Commitment.

*Nielsen Retail Execution Audit Custom Study 2015 © 2017 The Coca-Cola Company

client team Leader, client Services, advantage Solutions

Rossel led impressive relationship and business transformations for some of Advantage’s key clients, aligned with one client’s five-year plan of doubling sales by 2021. She recently headed a series of internal client commission audits that resulted in Advantage’s recovery of more than $1.3 million in outstanding revenue. Rossel guided the execution of a successful transition of more than 270 retailers in the core and fresh business, and the onboarding and training of 200-plus associates across core and deli HQ sales, administration and category management.

eLena SkaLetSky

Digital Media Supervisor, advantage Solutions

Schwartz fully reinvented how Advantage supported the Henkel organization, staffing a client services team in a model unique to Henkel and focused on driving results; the team went on to exceed total Henkel shipment and consumption results in 2016.

Hired to streamline the campaign processes, help create structure for the influencer operations team and offer subject-matter expertise, Skaletsky contributed to the execution of 39 campaigns that exceeded client goals by an average of 210 percent.

Under her leadership, Advantage earned multiple honors in 2016, including recognition for sales excellence and several sales awards for Advantage customer markets.

She led her team through a technology transition that benefited the overall quality of work, decreased executional errors by 60 percent and lowered overall yearly expense by 15 percent.

One client said of Schwartz, “You were not only responsible for delivering excellent results, but you did it in a manner that demonstrated extremely strong leadership.”


cryStaL roSSeL

Skaletsky’s enforcement of stricter quality standards improved overall content quality, leading to a client retention rate of 90 percent.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Congratulations Congratulations to all of the Top Women in Grocery, including those from the Coca-Cola team! Thank you for your remarkable contributions to the industry!

Alison Eminger

Erica Lanford

Senior Manager, Commercialization

Senior Director, Customer Management

Monica Hunsaker

Katie Lattanzi

VP, Customer Management

VP, Albertsons HQ Sales

Diane Wallace VP, Retail Marketing & Strategy

Š 2017 The Coca-Cola Company

Sonja Boelhouwer

Nancy Appleby

Tonya Herring

Region Vice President Giant Carlisle

VP Marketing Operations Ahold USA

SVP Merchandising Ahold USA

Betsy Kephart

Sheila Kostiuk

Korie Kritzky

Manager Marketing Optimization Ahold USA

Senior Director Portfolio Ahold USA

Manager III Construction Ahold USA

Sharmeica Thomas

Sarah Baird

Cheryl Zeller

Senior Portfolio Manager Retail Business Services

Director Operations Support Peapod

Manager Preferred Partner Program Peapod

Congratulations to this Year's Honorees! Your hard work and dedication make it possible for us to make a difference in the lives of our customers and the communities we serve.

Kristi Foernsler

Carolyn Fogle

Madelina Fordham

Cindy Dorsey

Jodie Kans

Donna Souris

Store Manager Giant Carlisle

Store Manager Giant Carlisle

Store Manager Giant Carlisle

HR Manager Giant Landover

Interim Human Resource Director Giant Landover

Sales Specialist Giant Landover

Paula Besso

Brittany Cavallaro

Mary Colcombe

Cara Sangermano

Christine Taylor

Mary Chapman

Human Resource Manager S&S New England

Deli Specialist S&S New England

AP Field Manager S&S New England

Human Resource Manager S&S New England

Human Resource Manager S&S New England

Store Manager S&S New England

Karen Caswell

Jennifer Campbell

Senior Director Claims Administration Ahold Delhaize

Change Management Manager Ahold USA

Anita McPoyle

Shirley Moore

Director Portfolio Insights & Support Ahold USA

Human Resource Business Partner Ahold USA

Amy Kidd

Mindy Miller-Dowling

Casey (Kathleen) Connors

Diane Couchman

Linda Figueirido

Melissa Hughes

Manager Space Planning Ahold USA

Specialist Real Estate Ahold USA

Director Store Format & Concept Ahold USA

Darla Rieg

Nicole Wing

Connie Lebo

Susan Shahroodi

Manager Category Ahold USA

Director Technical Accounting Ahold USA

Senior Manager NFR Services Retail Business Services

Business Consultant II Retail Business Services

Mary St. Ledger Baggett

Manager Merchandising Optimization Ahold USA

Traci Porr

Jamie Shannon

Human Resource Manager Giant Carlisle

Human Resource Generalist Giant Carlisle

Carrie Daggs

Alisa Hundley

Lisa Schepers

Teresa Whittler

Yvonne Armando

Store Manager Giant Landover

Store Manager Giant Landover

Store Manager Giant Landover

Store Manager Giant Landover

Deli / Bakery Specialist S&S New England

Human Resource Manager Giant Carlisle

Asset Protection Manager Giant Carlisle

Suzette Stevenson Compliance Manager Giant Landover

Director Marketing & External Communications Giant Carlisle

Retail Business Services

Carla Santos

Carletta Cantres

Front End Specialist S&S New York Metro

Store Manager S&S New York Metro

Hiba Daher Store Manager Giant Carlisle

rising stars

Karen Caswell

Jennifer Campbell

senior Director, Claim administration, ahold Delhaize

Caswell’s influence increased morale and created an environment of transparency, collaboration and empowerment. Her leadership, which brought a greater emphasis on training and accountability, resulted in a measurable increase in efficiencies and savings. Caswell concentrated on implementing technology and improved processes that boosted productivity and efficiency, allowing the staff to focus more fully on associate and customer claims, and decreasing the total cost of risk.

Casey Connors

manager, Change management, learning Department, ahold Usa Campbell led the planning, organization and execution of a successful off-site team-building event for 75 associates; attendees rated the success of the event a solid 9 out of 10. She headed a similar event for the four division leaders, developing such engaging content as a chili/margarita cook-off/ mix-off, as well as handling logistics and securing outside presenters. Campbell continuously reinforced how work being done made things better for the user and for those who support the work as human resource business partners.

Diane CoUChman

manager, merchandising optimization, ahold Usa

space planning manager, ahold Usa

Connors led a Kaizen project that is trending better than the goal of reducing voids by 30 percent, and developed a pricing training manual, the layout and format of which instantly became the standard for others to follow.

Couchman launched a two-year project to apply the data needed to create a tool to allocate space accurately while not disrupting the old process and methodology, the company’s single biggest initiative of 2017.

She led efforts to more closely align prioritization of non-roadmap IT requests from merchandising to IT teams facing the business, and supported Ahold USA’s best-practice sharing process with its ecommerce division, Peapod.

She supported the execution of dairy space optimization in 400 stores — the largest such project in the company’s history — that opened the door to a mini remodel approach within departments.

Connors won the company’s Simplicity Award and obtained a 6 Sigma Green Belt.

Couchman is continuously improving current processes for planning and executing future projects.

The Power of


The Power of Two

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| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017


Rising staRs

Linda FigueiRedo

MeLissa HugHes

Real estate specialist, ahold usa

Figueiredo was instrumental in driving forward new real estate and expansion projects, working with architects, engineers and financial institutions.

Betsy KepHaRt

director, Format innovation, ahold usa

sHeiLa KostiuK

Marketing optimization Manager, ahold usa

She took on an extraordinary workload by supporting both the New England and New York Metro divisions of Stop & Shop, assisting with landlord waivers and consents.

Hughes implemented a stepped R&D approach to help expedite execution of new ideas in stores, identify improvements before rollouts and ensure projects are a positive investment.

Kephart worked with a third-party vendor on the workflow and work management of in-house creative design, proving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of an internal creative agency.

She led the development and execution of format innovation projects across the store, and guided a merchandising project based on identified market opportunities.

Figueiredo excelled at overseeing existing initiatives while learning the development process during these projects, her role going above and beyond that of a real estate specialist.

Hughes created a totalstore décor package focused on making the product the hero, improving customer perception of product quality and variety while reducing total cap ex investment.

She led a project to revamp business requirements and technical IT documents to support digital-channel weekly promotional needs, with the aim of helping to increase data accuracy and drive incremental sales. Kephart is working with the merchandising strategy support and IT teams on an end-to-end promotional planning system.

senior director, portfolio Lead, ahold usa

Supporting a strategic initiative to drive own brands, Kostiuk spearheaded the best-in-class launch of a new own-brand premium laundry detergent in 2016. Sales exceeded the target and resulted in $750,000 in additional vendor funding. She developed a totally new seasonal general merchandise team structure that improved the overall assortment and presentation of the department. Kostiuk built strong relationships with key manufacturers, resulting in market growth for large, established categories.

NEW! Duos snack pies two great flavors in one pie Popular Pairings

Consumers Love ‘Em

Deliciously Profitable

Two Terrific Combinations: Boston Cream (Vanilla & Chocolate) Strawberries & Cream

79% positive purchase intent

Best value in Sweet Baked Goods Category

59% consider DUOS exciting and unique

Our most important ingredient: Attractive retailer margins

High-quality ingredients with real chocolate, vanilla and fruit fillings


June 2017 | |


Rising staRs

KoRie KRitzKy senior construction Project Manager, ahold Usa

Kritzky managed the installation of hundreds of construction projects and rollouts, including multiple store resets, and is currently working on a new construction project totaling 40,000 square feet. The results of these rollouts were highly successful, meeting or exceeding sales expectations and eliciting very positive customer perceptions. In addition to her construction management responsibilities, Kritzky mentored co-workers and helped develop department processes and best practices for future construction initiatives.

nicole Wing

Director, technical accounting, ahold Usa

Wing completed the Ahold Retail Academy program offered in conjunction with Cornell University, and developed training courses for multiple departments within the company. She took on a financial compliance stretch assignment, leading the risk and controls team and acting as the primary liaison between the implementation team and an independent audit firm. Wing co-chairs Ahold USA’s Women Adding Value business resource group, which helps members gain access to leaders in the organization while contributing to the business and community.


anita McPoyle

shiRley MooRe

Director, Portfolio insights, ahold Usa

McPoyle led and trained a team of 15 data analysts, indentifying growth opportunities and imparting assortment optimization and advanced business-intelligence technical skills. She led the development of a custom assortment tool that will enable the company to better understand the intersection of assortment and shopping behavior, leading to better assortment optimization. McPoyle was a member of the team planning and executing the company’s largest project in 2017, requiring new ways of analyzing store-specific performance and methods.

human Resources business Partner, ahold Usa

Moore’s tireless behind-thescenes work supporting and driving entire functions and events led her to be viewed as a consistent and reliable source of execution, counsel and inspiration to her fellow associates. She coordinated situational leadership training for more than 550 managers to drive higher levels of engagement, performance management and communication among all teams. Moore led the development of the first merchandising academy for top-level category leadership and collaborated with her peers and the leadership team on a curriculum of the top areas most affected.

Melissa aDaMs

Robin baRbeR

Procurement Manager, Meat/seafood/Deli/ lacarte/Frozen, albertsons cos./shaw’s & star Market Division

Director, operations, albertsons cos./seattle Division

Dedicated to her team, the company and its customers, Adams embodied exceptional leadership qualities and consistently demonstrated company core values.

Barber championed an initiative that drastically reduced the division’s transportation spend, with a relentless commitment to the bottom line.

She oversaw the seamless conversion of the Wells distribution center frozen-meat volume to a third-party distributor, ensuring service to retail stores wasn’t disrupted.

Her team has gone 380 days without an OSHAreportable injury, setting a division record as the longest accident-free period of any distribution center.

Adams strove to promote an atmosphere of personal caring in which each team member feels valued as a contributor through, and developed tools such as buyers guides outlining processes and planners to support the development and success of her team.

Known for her strong relationships with retail partners and indendent business customers, Barber put together a warehouse sales event tied into a rural business symposium, a creative endeavor that helped generate record sales and earnings.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

DaRla Rieg

category Manager, ahold Usa

Rieg drove base volume growth and increased consumer loyalty through the implementation of storespecific clustering to optimize assortment. She spurred customer engagement and growth by being an early adopter of the new digital platform, securing multiple vendor partnerships to test the initiative and opening new opportunities for all categories. As the facilitator for implementation of improved display and promotional processes within center store, Rieg boosted results across the portfolio by developing consumer-focused plans to meet changing needs.

Melonie bUchanan

District Manager, albertsons cos./ houston Division In her prior role within the Shaw’s division, Buchanan’s district achieved double-digit sales increases in the face of increased competition; she managed to leverage her store-level expenses to achieve budgeted profitability in nearly every store location. She handled most customer issues personally, and went the extra step to make sure that root problems were addressed to prevent recurrence. Buchanan identified and developed high-potential employees, with a true “head and heart” for the business; her recent transfer to the Houston division will enable her to enhance her own skills.

This calls for a celebration! We are proud to honor our 2017 Top Women in Grocery. Congratulations to our Kellogg Friends Carrie Sander, Kristin Schweitzer and Kari Swift!

Congratulations to all the winners from your friends at

®, ™, © 2017 Kellogg NA Co.

Rising staRs

diane eaRl

senior director, Prepared foods, albertsons Cos./ united division

Earl and her team took over operational responsibility for seven acquired stores and drove significant sales increases by improving the selection and quality of food while also improving conditions and service. She oversaw the opening of six new Starbucks locations and the replacement of five Peet’s coffee shops with Starbucks, leading to a 646 percent increase in coffee sales. Under Earl’s leadership, foodservice grew as a percentage of total sales by 41 basis points and the gross labor spread increased by 151 basis points, leading to an improvement in EBITDA of 80 basis points for fiscal 2016.

JenifeR KRause Bakery sales Manager, albertsons Cos./acme Markets

Krause introduced a singleserve cake program, achieving extraordinary incremental sales increases; transformed the $5 bakery table into a topnotch program that achieved unprecedented results; and inspired the creation of a brandnew product, the “brookie,” an innovative brownie-cookie combo that proved popular with shoppers. Beyond the bakery/coffee bar sectors, she played an integral role in the entire merchandising team’s efforts to drive division sales and assisted her peers with event planning, ads, holiday and seasonal strategies. Krause overachieved on all of her financial targets throughout fiscal 2016.


Kelli elson

JennifeR KiMBall

district Manager, albertsons Cos./northern California division

Elson developed and mentored her talent bench for upward advancement; five assistant store directors whom she recommended for the store director selection process passed their store walk interviews and were ready for promotion. The division’s top customer service performer, she ran two districts simultaneously for two months without sacrificing support to any of the 41 stores. Elson is considered a highpotential district manager, based on her reputation as a “servant leader,” along with her passion for training team members and ability to deliver great operational results.

Controller, albertsons Cos./southern California division Kimball has a unique understanding of distribution center financials, operations, and how they affect and drive results. She took the initiative to establish herself in a leadership role in the combined Southern California distribution center accounting departments, based on her insight that a successful distribution center operation requires exceptional performance in multiple areas such as productivity, overtime and inventory accuracy. Kimball continually mentored department managers, educating them in the use of profit-and-loss statements, labor/progress reports and other management tools.

alexa langona

JaiMe nading

own Brands Manager, Product Management, albertsons Cos.

Langona developed strategic growth strategies for expansion of the Open Nature brand in many meat categories, and, using shopper insights, executed redesigns that were a huge platform for growth. She led the work to develop a strong marketing campaign focused on center-of-plate items, accountable for a project budget of more than $2 million. Langona successfully integrated the Safeway portfolio into the Albertsons banners, and, within a decentralized organization, she was able to persuade divisions that had previously never carried private label products in their departments to do so.

division food safety Manager, albertsons Cos./southern division Under Nading’s leadership, the percentage of stores passing their third-party food safety inspections increased by more than 18 percent, and the percentage of stores passing their third-party sanitation inspections jumped by more than 40 percent. She taught more than 20 certified food safety classes for the Southern division, and planned and executed division certified food safety training for department operation specialists and district managers, as well as for store personnel. As VP of the Texas Environmental Association’s north Texas chapter, Nading works to improve preparedeness for, response to and prevention of foodborne diseases.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

aMy KiRBy

director of Marketing, albertsons Cos./denver division

Kirby was instrumental in developing and implementing the marketing strategies to convert eight Albertsons stores to the Safeway banner in the greater Denver metro marketplace. She led a pilot program for natural, organic, specialty, healthy and ethnic merchandising, creating a cohesive, contemporary and natural instore message; in particular, her organic messaging is now being used by other divisions within the company and can be seen in various print ads. Kirby participated in the development of a local “Colorado Proud” television commercial that was nominated for an Emmy in its class.

KRis staaf

director of Public affairs, albertsons Cos./denver division Staaf led a coalition called Your Choice Colorado, spearheading a $2 million legislative budget for a ballot initiative to legalize the sale of fullstrength beer and wine in Colorado grocery stores. While the initiative was ultimately dropped, legislators came up with a compromise bill allowing grocers to expand beer, wine and spirits sales in stores for the first time in 80 years. She played a critical role in the successful conversion of eight Denver-area Albertsons stores into Safeway locations. Following the AlbertsonsSafeway merger, Staaf worked closely with her division’s leadership to develop messaging and materials to address the 800-plus Albertsons employees.

2017 20

Congratulations C to our Top Women in Grocery Wholesale Customers


Donna Banks-Ficcio VP, Center Store West Region

Ashley Bodart Finance Analyst Shop ‘n Save

Debra Figuly Category Merchandiser East Region

Ria Gray Senior Merchandiser East Region

Candie Baker President Webster’s Market Place

Katie Kallemeyn Store Director Cub

Angelica King Director, Service Support

Sarah Meyer Director, Loss Prevention Shop ‘n Save

Maureen Mueller Director, GM/HBC West Region

Suzy Grem Store Manager Harvest Fare

Karena Niblett VP, Operations Shop ‘n Save

Renee Oertli Senior Director, Business Intelligence

Renee Rasmussen-Spear Warehouse Manager, Green Bay DC

Katonya Reed Store Director, Shop ‘n Save

Jackie Johnson Business Insights/Analytics Manager Skogen’s Festival Foods

Carrie Reynolds Fresh Sales Consultant East Region

Kristi Richardson Senior Manager, Technical Services

Lori Sandish Director, Retail Pricing & Customer Service

Rebecca Whitby Category Manager III East Region

Mary Kruck Store Manager Coborn’s

Rising staRs

MaRy WaDe

grocery Operations specialist, albertsons cos./northern california Division Wade was promoted last year from store director to grocery operations specialist. In her new role, she has worked diligently to implement aggressive improvement in merchandising and standards in the 20 stores she oversees. She helped improve customer satisfaction from a low 80 percent to 90.4 percent, aided in the rollout of multiple merchandising projects and assisted the district in reducing customer-facing out-of-stocks by more than 75 percent. At the last store she managed (Safeway #3095 in San Jose, Calif.), Wade helped surpass the company’s projected weekly sales target.

Jan Whiteley Perishable Director, associated Retail Operations

Whiteley oversaw several remodels that brought additional square footage to the perishable departments, as well as other new features that have prompted great feedback and increased sales. She was heavily involved in the construction of a Lin’s store in East George, Utah, that’s more of a grocerant than a traditional supermarket, with such offerings as fresh-made pizza, sandwiches, a salad bar, additional meal solutions in the deli, and in-store Dairy Queen and Starbucks locations. The store has set the stage for future remodels. She was named a top performer at Associated Retail Operations in 2016.

cheRyl Whinihan

sales Manager, Deli/Food service, albertsons cos./northern california Division Under Whinihan’s leadership, Albertsons’ Northern California division led the entire company in deli/foodservice sales and profits. She launched Boar’s Head products across the division, following a successful run in pilot stores. With no previous blueprint to reference, Whinihan developed a new concept for Safeway stores, in which the deli/foodservice department features a kitchen with a chef offering a full menu of meals; the concept was brought to life at a brand-new store in Oakland, Calif. She also executed innovative deli/foodservice offerings at the newly branded five-store Safeway Community Markets chain.

ashley shick

Director of communications and Public affairs, Bashas’ Family of stores Under Shick’s leadership, Bashas’ communications and public affairs department secured more than 53 million earned media impressions, at a value of more than $1.9 million, in 2016. This included centerpiece media relations campaigns in regard to National Doughnut Day and National Iced Tea Day, as well as several remodels. She was the driving force behind AJ’s Fine Foods’ foray onto Instagram, increasing the account’s loyal-follower base by 250 percent. Shick’s efforts, among them promoting special offers and sharing details of remodeled stores’ grand reopenings, helped lift sales at Bashas’ banners across the board.

Patty yOuchOck

Director, Marketing and advertising, allegiance Retail services/Foodtown

Youchock led the relaunch of the Foodtown mobile app, which offers the compelling feature of delivering personalized offers. Moving Allegiance/Foodtown into the forefront of digital marketing, she helped three major owner groups enable ecommerce in their respective stores, and led an enhanced search and email deployment within the co-op through her direction of a digital marketing agency. Youchock initiated a partnership with Oracle Data Cloud to help create a multidimensional view of Foodtown’s customer base while refining print advertising to augment, rather than overlap, recently launched digital products.

Devyn Blais-WeBB

Director of accounting, Big y Foods In her first year as director of accounting, Blais-Webb and her team successfully managed the accounting for Big Y’s acquisition of eight former Hannaford stores. She made significant improvements to the company’s annual budgeting process, rendering it a more collaborative effort for all parties involved. The overall quality and timeliness of the budget was greatly improved, and will serve as a benchmark for the upcoming fiscal year. Blais-Webb eagerly participated in development programs for the company’s future leaders, training them in all financial topics so they could effectively manage their store or department.

shaWna hansOn Director of Pharmacy Operations, associated Food stores

Hanson was instrumental in successfully implementing a centralized pharmacy system in 42 Associated Retail Operations locations. She was able to leverage the organization’s buying power to negotiate a more favorable cost not only for the corporate stores, but for member-owned Associated Food Stores pharmacies as well. She initiated a partnership with a specialty pharmacy vendor, providing an important channel of growth going forward. Hanson chairs Associated Food Stores’ pharmacy advisory committee, which leads discussions and planning for pharmacy operations across the organization.

sanDy giancOla

Manager of Facilities Management, Big y Foods

Under Giancola’s oversight, Big Y’s sustainability programs, many of which she created, continued to thrive. The company was able to increase rigid-plastics and single-stream recycling to 280 tons, cardboard and paper recycling to more than 12,000 tons, and plastic film-wrap and customer-bag recyclcing to 386 tons. Additionally, with all Big Y stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut converting food waste, the company composted more than 4,000 tons of food waste. Giancola’s efforts earned Big Y a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Food Recovery Challenge regional achievement certificate.

June 2017 | |


Rising staRs

Melanie Mcelligott

Corporate Bakery in-store sales Manager, Big Y Foods Thanks in large part to McElligott’s efforts, Big Y’s in-store bakery departments grew 3 percent over the previous year, with double-digit bottom-line improvement. Her knowledge of the bakery enabled the company to make strategic changes to the variety it offered in stores, helping reduce labor costs while improving waste. She increased social media activity by targeting event days and flash sales specific to key bakery items. Enjoyed by customers and associates alike, these exciting events helped to create excellent profitable sales. McElligott received an Outstanding Achievement award from Big Y.

KaRissa atwood Manager, Procurement, C&s wholesale grocers

Atwood, who has been in her current role since March 2016 after holding various roles of increasing responsiblity, led several transformational improvements, including the development of a new inbound logistics strategy. She developed a new planning and execution process for key quarterly promotions and helped C&S Wholesale Grocers achieve significant year-overyear improvements in service levels and inventory. An outstanding leader and team builder, with a competitive drive that fuels success, Atwood played a central role in her team’s development, which led to several promotions both within and outside the team.


KaRen Rossetti

Pat shewChuK

Manager of Marketing services, Big Y Foods

Rossetti led strategic communications in an all-new market for Big Y, using all forms of media. She continued to develop Big Y’s social media team, helping the retailer grow its Facebook fan base to nearly 130,000 through such means as flash sales. She additionally built the company’s successful click2card coupon program from the ground up and worked with a large variety of departments, companies and vendors to bring the initiative to fruition. My Big Y, a new branding campaign for which Rossetti developed radio and television ads and redesigned all supporting media, received multiple awards.

director of leadership and engagement strategies, Big Y Foods

Shewchuk’s oversight of Big Y’s training and development area was instrumental in preparing and designing materials for technical, systems and product knowledge training, as well as for leadership workshops.

Brand Manager, seasonal and Fresh Raw turkey; digital Community Manager, Butterball llC Welch led the Butterball brand to gain No. 1 dollar share in whole turkeys for Thanksgiving 2016, with more sales than all store brands in the country combined.

She helped secure a $217,000 Massachusetts Workforce Training Grant, which enabled Big Y to expand its training and workshop offerings to several key areas within the company.

Her public relations efforts around Thanksgiving, which included the ability to send text messages to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line for the first time, helped generate more than 3 billion consumer impressions during the holiday.

Shewchuk played a key role in the development and introduction of Big Y’s first employee resource group, Women L.E.A.D. (Leaders Engagement in Action and Development), and became a member of its executive board.

Welch is involved in Business and Professional Women/ Triangle and serves as a board member of FACES (Family and Community Empowerment Services), a local nonprofit that helps people deal with financial challenges.

BaRi gReensPhan

CaRMela hindeRaKeR

Manager, Procurement Projects and Productivity, C&s wholesale grocers

director, Business Continuity, C&s wholesale grocers

Greensphan led several key initiatives within procurement, including the development and rollout of a new business intelligence platform, the transition of two divisions to a new financial system, and business startup for several new customers.

Hinderaker led the responses to 18 separate business-disruption events that included adverse weather and a prolonged IT connectivity outage, helping to minimize company damage and making sure that customers continued to receive service from C&S.

She built her team from scratch into a group of four employees who leveraged continuous-improvement principles to build the process used to manage all projects and ensure the clear definition, scope and delivery of project goals.

She drove a multidepartment, multiregional planning effort to develop a business continuity plan for a newly acquired company, and integrated 30 new leaders into the company business continuity plan.

Greensphan used her background in mechanical engineering to serve as an important resource and subjectmatter expert at C&S.

ReBeCCa welCh

Hinderaker co-led the development and implementation of a company charitable and in-kind donation plan to support communities affected by large-scale disasters.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Megan JanK

supervisor, Procurement, C&s wholesale grocers

Jank led her team through the busy holiday season, exceeding customer service level performance by 20 basis points, a feat accomplished with an understaffed team at a critical period. She continued to foster and grow talent on her team. Jank’s projects and performance served as a model for the way C&S Wholesale Grocers approaches other customers within the procurement department, and earned her a reputation throughout the company as a leader: She’s developed into a key player for warehouse, transportation and other operational partners within the company, acting as a go-to person for project details and issue resolution.

Rising staRs

JaniCe KovitCh

senior Manager, fresh Merchandising, C&s wholesale grocers

Kovitch was instrumental in developing C&S Wholesale Grocers’ national merchandising platform; she helped organize the roles and responsibilities of team members, beyond her direct reports, and developed individualized training plans. She helped successfully integrate all of the new metro New York business into the company’s national model. Kovitch played a key role in C&S’ biannual food shows in New England and on the West Coast, coordinating all vendor activity related to show deals, new items and special programs for both events. Her involvement and leadership helped C&S set sales records in both shows last year.

Kelsey PodKowKa

senior Merchandising analyst, C&s wholesale grocers As C&S worked to implement new divisions resulting from acquisition, Podkowka streamlined various workflows to ensure that the divisions had the tools and resources needed, as well as an understanding of how C&S corporate operates, enabling the transition to proceed smoothly. She designed succession programs that were well received and enabled multiple employees to further their careers through promotions to more advanced roles. Podkowka was integral in applying new measures and metrics to drive C&S’ weekly corporate cross-departmental meetings.


holly MiglioRe

dawn MoRse

senior director, floral, C&s wholesale grocers

Under Migliore’s direction, independent floral sales grew 20 percent over the past year. She encouraged many of C&S Wholesale Grocers’ independent co-op stores in New York to move their floral purchases to the distribution facility in the C&S network, which ultimately saved them money and improved their floral offerings. Her vast knowledge and experience as one of the top floral minds in the industry enabled her to provide expert advice and recommendations, especially for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and other holidays. Migliore’s expertise helped independent retailers with gross profit performance.

senior analyst, fresh Merchandising, C&s wholesale grocers

Morse successfully trained four new merchandisers over the past 18 months, successfully sharing much of her deep procurement knowledge. She enhanced a high-profile dairy merchandising program for Northeast customers that helped drive profitable incremental dairy, deli and packagedmeat sales, authoring a guiding document that provided clear details for customers, suppliers and other merchandisers. Morse took on the national bakery merchandising role on an interim basis and effectively led collaboration efforts with the bakery sales and procurement teams to streamline processes that benefited customers and the company.

tiffany PRatt

eRiCa lanfoRd

director of sales, ecommerce, Clif Bar & Co.

Taking on a newly created role at Clif Bar, Pratt grew sales in the ecommerce channel by 54 percent for the year, with the largest customer growing a whopping 74 percent versus 2015. She attended relevant seminars to increase her own knowledge, hosted internal meetings to share ideas across the organization, and formed an external share group to stay on top of trends and innovations and to troubleshoot common issues. Her recommendation of a cross-functional team structure to support the focus on the ecommerce channel increased the number of team members from three to eight.

senior director, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated

Lanford, who was promoted to her current role in May 2016, led her new department to deliver 4 percent more than budgeted revenue. She represented Coca-Cola at the American Beverage Association’s fly-in meeting in Washington, D.C., for the second year, meeting with lawmakers to discuss the beverage industry, as well as all of the positive impacts that the industry has on local communities. Lanford volunteers as the vice stewardship chair of the Charleston, S.C.-based CocaCola facility, in which role she organizes monthly events that give back directly to the community and needy employees.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

tia PatteRson

director, Customer development, C&s wholesale grocers

Over the past year, Patterson was instrumental in driving business growth of more than $120 million in fresh and center store categories with existing customers. She led the October 2016 go-live of new fresh business and was chosen to the implementation planning for the new center store business scheduled to ship this summer. She identified and implemented a more frequent delivery schedule for a key customer to improve service and freshness in its stores. Promoted to director this past year, Patterson received an All Star Award from a major C&S customer, in recognition of her continuous efforts to put the customer first.

alison eMingeR senior Manager, Commercialization, the Coca-Cola Co.

Eminger, a high-potential employee in the Coca-Cola Co. system, oversaw a collaborative effort to bring to life a glass innovation, from developing the business case and working with research and development, to a postlaunch review. She was then asked to lead several other high-profile assignments, including a confidential product launch, while successfully managing her already full workload. Currently pursuing an MBA degree, Eminger is a mentor on the commercialization team and sits on the board of an internal networking group, Women’s LINC (Lead, Inspire, Connect).


Want to learn more on how to grow? email us:

Rising staRs

gRace Flanagan

leslie Hull

controller, corr-Jensen inc.

Flanagan streamlined the financial close process, with superior attention to detail, and reduced its length by 60 percent. This allowed senior management visibility into results in real time to facilitate decision-making. Thanks to her superior interaction and follow-up with the company’s banking partner, she obtained a 30 percent increase in the company’s bank line, providing critical cash flow for working capital needs during a period of rapid growth in the company. Corr-Jensen named Flanagan its 2016 Finance Company MVP (Most Valued Player).

saRaH KoHl

HR generalist, corr-Jensen inc.

Hull aided in the completion of a successful office renovation project her first week on the job, during which time she also onboarded about 47 employees. Other accomplishments included negotiating an improved benefits program that maintained costs, and developing and implementing formal social giving and corporate responsibility programs.

Demand Planner, corr-Jensen inc.

Responsible for forecasting sales across four brands for the company’s largest accounts, Kohl was the No. 1 contributor in the strategic planning team, helping to drive year-over-year top-line sales growth of 87 percent at a major account. The designer and implementor of forecasting tools and processes for the company, she drove forecasts for more than 30 new products, as well as bottom-up and top-down forecasts during annual planning.

She helped grow and foster the largest and fastest-selling brand in GNC’s history, as well as other successful new brands B:8” Kohl grew and solidified and products. partnerships with top acT:7.25” Hull received the Corr-Jen- S:7”counts as she promoted a positive, productive work culture. sen Growth Award.

RESEARCH SHOWS SURPRISING OFFERING COULD DRIVE PROFIT Victor Zaborsky, Vice President, Marketing for Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP)

RHea JemmeRson

Dedicated Retail team lead, crossmark

Jemmerson communicated at all levels on her team, including one-on-one meetings with everyone at supervisor level and above, and visited field representatives. To meet January obligations during the recruitment of part-time employees in the challenging holiday period, she leveraged the field team to complete additional shifts; the team exceeded its January goal by 16 percent. Jemmerson worked with a client to identify specialty stores to drive incremental sales, taking steps to ensure that the decision wouldn’t adversely affect morale.


What if you could offer shoppers a nutrient-rich, delicious, farm fresh beverage, with natural protein and no sugar added? Surprise! That beverage is already in your stores and is a key trip driver – milk! It’s no surprise – ask any mom, and she’ll tell you why – her kids love milk. In fact, 41% of kids say they’d drink more milk if given the opportunity.1 Here are three ways milk can help bring excitement – and drive sales – in your store:




Dairy farmers are working to deliver exceptional animal care and responsibly produce fresh products that preserve our natural resources. Did you know producing a gallon of milk takes 90% less land and 65% less water— and has a 63% smaller carbon footprint —than it did in 1944? 2 That’s because dairy farmers continuously work to develop a more sustainable food system to deliver a better, fresher product.

A major milk shopper survey reveals that reinvigorating your milk case could help improve customer satisfaction, drive sales and more profit. In fact, data suggests you could be losing $1,800 to $3,000 per shelf, per year by converting that last milk shelf to milk alternatives.3

Shoppers care about where their food comes from. And milk is one of the original farm-totable foods, often originating from dairy farms fewer than 300 miles away from your store. Plus, it is one of the most nutrient-rich foods a mom can buy, and her kids love it.

©2017 America’s Milk Companies.®


Do you or your shoppers have questions about milk? Let MilkPEP help reintroduce milk to your store. For more information, contact

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017


Proprietary Milk Life Moms And Kids Research, MilkPEP 2016 2 US Dairy Sustainability Report, 2014 3 FMI/GMA Study and Bishop SuperStudy™ Values



Your store could be losing $1,800–$3,000 per shelf, per year by making swaps in the milk case.1 Let the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) help drive sales in the dairy case with category insights and marketing strategies that connect with your shopper:




Many shoppers are interested in choosing brands that support the development of a sustainable food system. Dairy farmers are working to deliver exceptional animal care and responsibly produce fresh products that preserve our natural resources. Thanks to innovative technology, producing a gallon of milk has vastly improved in the last 70 years. Today it takes 90% less land, 65% less water, and has a 63% smaller carbon footprint.2

Shoppers care about where their food comes from and who makes it. Milk is one of the original farm-to-table foods, typically arriving at the grocery store in just two days from local family owned farms fewer than 300 miles away. Real milk is naturally farm fresh because it comes from only one source – dairy cows.

Answer your shoppers’ search for wholesome products by talking about the natural goodness in every glass of milk. For mom, it’s a key trip driver because white milk provides nutrients like calcium and protein her kids need to grow strong, and is minimally processed with no added sugar. Plus, milk has the delicious taste her kids love. 41% of kids say they’d drink more milk if they could.3

Reinvigorate dairy sales in your store with MilkPEP Contact to learn more


FMI/GMA Study and Bishop SuperStudy™ values


US Dairy Sustainability Report, 2014


Proprietary Milk Life Moms And Kids Research, MilkPEP 2016

©2017 America’s Milk Companies.®

Rising staRs

tammy KeRby

Director of Retail Operations, Crossmark Kerby led the effort to restructure the syndicated retail team by aligning territories, preparing all changes, providing all feedback to internal departments and communicating changes to the team. She mentored two women within Crossmark, meeting with them on a monthly basis. One completed a degree and moved to another role, while the second advanced to a business analyst position. A winner of the Crossmark Walmart Team Soaring Eagle Award, Kerby serves with PEO International, a philanthropic organization in which women promote educational opportunities for other women.


JessiCa mcClesKey

Director of Client services, Field intelligence, Crossmark McCleskey stepped up to lead on multimillion-dollar RFPs with the field intelligence team, taking ownership of teams outside of her area of responsibility. Following a round of poorly executed projects, she identified the root cause of the problem and raised awareness of it while implementing processes to ensure issues wouldn’t resurface. The success of projects she developed with the field intelligence team led a request from another division for her assistance in creating a quality control process to drive consistency for projects executed nationwide.

Kallie millaR

Dedicated Retail team leader, Crossmark Millar created a forum that brought all clients together to discuss how best to synchronize tools and efforts to maximize the results of retail reps at the store level. This resulted in new tools that reduced administrative time at the retail representative level. She implemented a “test and learn” scenario to validate the most efficient coverage model to optimize results while reducing costs for her clients. Millar was recognized in December 2016 by Crossmark’s CEO for her leadership of an internal Leadership Recognition Program, for which she helped triple the number of graduates.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

maRiCela Reyes manager, insights and analytics, Crossmark

Reyes developed standardized custom retailer category performance review templates that delivered efficiency while simplifying story content, paving the way to advance category captainship or advisory status for baby/child care at five retail customers. She led the generation and delivery of insights for a center store revitalization project focused on the baby aisle at a highly Hispanic regional food retailer, achieving 3 percent year-over-year sales growth. Reyes helped develop and launch Insights to Action decks delivering best-in-class category shopper and sales trends insights.

For 125 years, Del Monte has stood as the freshest name in fruit. After all, we’re fruit fanatics. Especially fresh cut fruit. That’s why we’re also supply-chain fanatics, cutting locally to maximize freshness and extend shelf life. It’s why we’re quality fanatics and food-safety fanatics. Any way you slice it, Del Monte keeps fresh cut fresh.

Visit us at UNITED Booth #2211 FRESHDELMONTE.COM






FRUITFANATICS.COM ©2017 Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.


RiSiNg StaRS

Natalie RuNyaN Net Promoter Program Manager, Crossmark

Runyan implemented Crossmark’s Net Promoter System, allowing the company to quantifiably track and manage customer and client satisfaction. She also developed a survey allowing Crossmark to target key business areas and correlate them to satisfaction and loyalty measures. She helped roll out Crossmark’s first virtual career fair, also serving as spokeswoman and recording video presentations for the event. Runyan volunteers with the Network of Executive Women (NEW) North Texas Chapter, and also serves on the steering committee for the NEW committee inside Crossmark.


Dedicated Retail team leader, Crossmark

Sims delivered 37 percent over stretch target for 2016 in terms of client return on investment. She was nominated as one of 13 out of the entire Millennial membership to the Next Gen Board of the Network of Executive Women, working on national plans to strengthen technology and community. Sims launched a New York inner-city team dedicated to Kimberly-Clark, with 12 people focused on selling to independent grocery — the first continuity program for these retailers. The KimberlyClark team hailed her as an indespensible partner working for their best interests.

tove liStau

Director Business Development, Daymon

Listau’s team successfully launched or relaunched more than 1,000-private brand SKUs featuring an award-winning brand design. She spearheaded the development of a retailer’s multitiered private label strategy, encompassing everyday, seasonal and specialty lifestyle brands. Through category management principles and supplier negotiations, her team helped improve the retailer’s gross margin across its private label range. Listau’s team delivered in-depth category reviews to provide direction for driving sales and participation for a key strategic pillar.

SCottie PeaCoCK Director, Strategic Services — Brand Development, Daymon

Peacock developed a strategic proposal for a retailer with a mature program that was nervous about new competitive market threats. She created a clear month-to-month, fiveyear plan to deliver growth objectives. In the short term, she leveraged syndicated sources and custom research to deliver brand strategies for five brands, also outlining brand guardrails to guide product development. Peacock provided perspective on how to execute across all categories and the store. She delivered the three pieces ahead of schedule, leading to faster retailer execution.

From our farmers From our farmers

Pressed in their mills

Shipped in bulk

Quality Assurance

Our farmers from around the Mediterranean and South America ensures fresh oil all year

First cold pressing of premium olives maintains low acidity

Stored in our stainless steel tanks in Baltimore

Each shipment is tested for quality and purity in our high-tech lab

RiSing StaRS

Jean Ryan

Director, Brand and Marketing Strategy, Daymon

Ryan reframed Daymon’s situational assessment approach to deliver brand strategy recommendations to a customer in only six weeks instead of the usual 12 to 14. She spent weeks aggregating data from across Daymon’s organization to provide a holistic perspective on where consumers and brands are headed, and then led a working session with a retailer to create 10 strategic brand and marketing opportunities. Ryan created and leads the Daymon Young Professional Group, which helps improve their experience at the company.

Caitlin ShufelBeRgeR

linDSay StelleR

JOSephine theal

Before her current role, Shufelberger was Interactions’ account lead for a major grocer’s grand opening, executing dozens of custom activations across multiple states. She and her team worked to tailor activations to each location.

Steller spearheaded the strategy to secure a new demonstration program with a major retailer at the beginning of 2016, launching operations immediately after. The program created 25,000-plus hours of shopper interactions.

In her current role, she developed countless creative concepts to market grocers and brands, and closed about 30 contracts, resulting in 100-plus unique experiential marketing events in 2016.

In summer 2016, she leveraged this program’s success and the client’s trust in her leadership abilities to garner a new business opportunity, coordinating the kitting, fulfillment and delivery of 2 million-plus samples and coupons.

Theal completed the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) future leaders program and, upon completion, was asked to serve on NFI’s education subcommittee as a voice of the retailer and to provide perspective on how best to engage the retail sector.

Senior Business Development Manager, interactions Marketing, Daymon

Last June, Shufelberger and her team launched Brands 2 Desk, a new service line for the company that offers customers a compelling new marketing tactic.

Director of Sales and Operations, interactions Marketing, Daymon

Steller exceeded her division’s budget target and grew the business by double digits for the sixth consecutive year.

Business ManagerCategory Solutions, Daymon Worldwide

On behalf of NFI, she lobbied on Capitol Hill to support FDA Dietary Guidelines, seafood dietary consumption parameters for pregnant and nursing women, the elimination of slave labor, and more. She piloted a seafood education and innovative trends program, one of the first of its kind, that educated 60-plus Daymon associates.

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Rising staRs

CoRi PuRRington

senior Director, transportation, es3 LLC (C&s Wholesale grocers)

In the past year, Purrington was promoted to senior director and took on the entire C&S inbound function. Last year, she and the team improved financial performance by almost 7 percent. The team created and implemented a sophisticated tool allowing coordinators and leadership to quickly and clearly see where lanes are and aren’t performing against expectations for service and financials. Purrington spent three months on C&S’ center store procurement team as an acting director, seizing the opportunity to learn about the business from a new angle while providing strong leadership for her temporary team.

HeatHeR siak

Manager of Business Process Change, Food Lion

With her team of three specialists, Siak supported Food Lion’s delivery of its 17th consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales at the end of 2016.

JaCkie JoHnson

Johnson was lead contributor in creating a companywide shrink-tracking program that helped the grocer attain gross margin increases in 2016, despite growing deflation and competition. She created a sustainable store-level tracking program with a self-made app that, via tablets provided to each store, allows departments to transfer product, record recalls, scan shrink, access standard operating procedures and conduct training. Johnson initiated a monthly videoconference that enables teammates to share ideas for increasing profitability, which have contributed millions of dollars to the bottom line.

national account Manager, FFR Merchandising

Managing the partnership between FFR Merchandising and The Kroger Co., Riffe took charge of the inventory, shipments and relationships following Kroger’s acquisition of Roundy’s, when the latter company implemented major programs across the deli, meat, seafood and produce departments.

In 2016, she managed the implementation of a differentiating front end strategy in 142 stores in central Charlotte — the largest strategic initiative that year.

Siak co-chaired the inaugural Retail Pricing Coordinator Council, which delivered efficiencies resulting in improved job satisfaction for the company’s retail pricing coordinators, along with substantially better pricing accuracy.

A role model for how Food Lion wants its customers to be treated when they shop in its stores, Whitlock facilitated at three Store Manager College programs, affecting some 50 store managers.

Director of external Communications and Community Relations, Food Lion

Phillips-Brown was responsible for all communications regarding Food Lion’s planning for, and announcement of, the renovation and repositioning of 142 stores in Charlotte, N.C., one of the company’s largest markets.

With her firm grasp of industry knowledge, she was able to listen to clients’ needs and come up with solutions to address them. Riffe is truly dedicated to her work with Kroger — although she lives in Texas, she travels to the Cincinnati area twice a month for meetings and presentations with the grocer’s teams.

Phillips-Brown and her team have received industry recognition for the Food Lion Feeds hunger relief platform, for which Food Lion was also inducted into the PR News Hall of Fame.

HeatHeR gaRLiCH

Front end implementation and training Lead Project Manager, Food Lion Whitlock and her team partnered with several leaders across three divisions and 300-plus stores to deliver a significantly improved checkout experience in Food Lion’s Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., markets in 2016.

CHRisty PHiLLiPs-BRoWn

She managed a successful press conference in Charlotte, attended by all local media, to reveal that Food Lion had just completed a historic $215 million capital investment in its stores in the greater Raleigh, N.C., area.

tiFFany WHitLoCk

Often called upon across the organization for her unique talents, she teamed with multiple departments to deliver a new tag-sorting method that made hanging tags significantly more efficient across all 1,032 stores.


kenDRa RiFFe

asset Protection assistant Director, Festival Foods

senior Director, Media and Public Relations, Food Marketing institute Garlich’s hard work gave FMI 2,000-plus media mentions, reaching a total of 4.9 billion people through such major media outlets. She launched FMI’s popular Voice of Food Retail blog as a source of information, commentary and insights from the organization’s subject-matter experts; the blog has gone on to become one of the most popular portions of FMI’s website and is now cornerstorne of its content strategy. Garlich was fundamental in the ideation, creation, expansion and implementation of National Family Meals Month in September, providing strategic communication guidance and messaging support.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

sue WiLkinson

senior Director, information service and Research, Food Marketing institute For 33 years, Wilkinson, a gatekeeper of food retailing history, has documented the industry’s evolution, receiving between 15,000 and 20,000 questions annually about the industry during that time span. In 2016, she managed the production of 20 research pieces from start to finish, including FMI’s signature pieces: “U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends,” “The Food Retailing Industry Speaks” and the “Power Of “series. Wilkinson is managing FMI’s website redesign to create a stronger digital communications tool that will enable visitors to find more quickly the information they need.

Give your shoppers smooth-sipping satisfaction For more information about Chobani, please contact us via email at *Than other yogurt drinks. Drink Chobani™ beverage: 22g sugar; other adult yogurt drinks: average 33g sugar per 10oz serving. ©2017 Chobani, LLC DRINK CHOBANI™ bottle shape is a trademark of Chobani, LLC

RisinG staRs

caRRie MesinG

director, Private Brands, Freshdirect

Mesing’s ability to break down traditional walls of hierarchy and form direct relationships allowed the expansion of the Just FreshDirect brand in the past three years to more than 350 SKUs. She was integral in the financial success of the Just FreshDirect and Cloud 9 brands, which experienced constant doubledigit growth, with several awardwinning products becoming bestsellers in their categories. Overseeing the budget for private brands, Mesing achieved huge savings by moving all private-brand services in-house and almost singlehandedly shifted FreshDirect’s perception of private label to that of true advocacy.

Katie PacanowsKi

Manager, Rsc HR Business, Giant eagle

Pacanowski supported her team and made them feel comfortable through a corporate restructuring that had a significant impact on the area she supports. Following the loss of a team member, she supported the individual’s relatives and coworkers, visiting the family’s residence during the holidays to offer sympathy and help. Pacanowski played a major role in successfully negotiating two local union contracts, which included exiting a multiemployer pension fund. She also dealt with key policy decisions, workers’ compensation administration, unemployment hearings, and more, leading to significant savings.


MaRen tRocKi

Lisa caRRyeR

Merchandising director, Grocery, the Fresh Market

Trocki was integral in driving the grocery reset for her categories as The Fresh Market moved to a more “full-shop” offering, leading efforts to redesign the center store shopping experience in a short five-month period. Under her direction, the grocery department increased shelf space, expanded categories and refined offerings. She implemented a robust, aggressive category review that enables The Fresh Market customers always to see something new, making sure the grocer was first to market with many innovative brands. Trocki played a strong role in adding local product offerings and enhancing collaborations with local vendors.

director, Pharmacy technology, Giant eagle

director, HR corporate, distribution and supply chain, Giant eagle

Carryer led the strategy that brought high-volume prescription-fill automation in-house at a central location. The project doubled off-site production capacity and significantly reduced operating costs.

McCormick helped successfully negotiate two major labor contracts, which involved a withdrawal from an underfunded multiemployer pension fund. The change will save tens of millions of dollars.

She drove a cross-functional team to design a system for the launch of a pharmacy loyalty program intended to increase prescription counts, loyalty and customer retention, as well as to improve patient safety.

She shepherded the organization through a major reorganization that affected all corporate support functions, and stepped into the role of president of the Giant Eagle African-American Business Resource Group, which officially launched earlier this year under her leadership.

Carryer challenged a team to redesign the pharmacy prescription label and printing processes at retail; reoccurring annual savings on operating expenses are expected to exceed $1 million.

cindy doRsey

Jodie Kans

HR Manager, Giant Food LLc

Dorsey and her team focused heavily on talent development at the department manager and exempt levels. Through proper training, they improved the entry-level talent pool, with proper staffing positively influencing the year’s financial results.

KeLLy MccoRMicK

interim Human Resource director, Giant Food LLc

In preparation for labor contract negotiations, Kans was HR lead for contingency hiring at the Giant Landover division. She worked with vendors to streamline hiring from manual to electronic, saving the division $200,000.

She was recognized for her work as a contingency hiring lead during labor negotiations. She and her group were involved in planning, execution and tracking eight temporary hiring sites.

She partnered with HR managers and store management teams to ensure appropriate hiring and maintenance of part-time hours, resulting in proper coverage for stores and a $75,000 cost savings in benefits for the division.

Dorsey has worked for several years with various charitable organizations, among them Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Work 4 Success.

Kans volunteered with Mission of Love Charities to develop an innovative career development initiative for residents of economically distressed neighborhoods.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

McCormick serves on the boards of the Greater Pittsburgh Habitat for Humanity and the Coro Center for Civic Leadership, among other community activities.

donna souRis

specialist iii district sales and Merchandise, Giant Food LLc

Souris oversaw the only Giant Landover district to achieve positive identicalstore sales growth in seafood, and her district surpassed the meat gross-profit budget by 1.50 percent, exceeding all other districts by 100 basis points. She identified in financial reports touchpoints affecting the financial success of the meat and seafood departments, including days-on-hand goals, markdown request abuse, claim accountability and sampling itegrity, and worked with the director and team to help stores at risk in these areas. Souris won the 2016 Best of the Best Awards of Excellence for Meat and Seafood.

For Ferrero and our retail partners, 2018 is shaping up to be sweet! Tic-Tac Gum will rejuvenate the gum category through brand appeal and product innovation. And we’re proud to introduce Kinder Joy, the global #2 chocolate brand, to the world’s #1 chocolate market.


© Ferrero. All rights reserved.

riSinG STarS

SuzeTTe STevenSon

Manager of compliance, Giant Food llc

Due to Stevenson’s regular training and constant communication, Giant Landover rose from No. 3 to No. 1 of four divisions for internal audit results. As a member of the company’s Women Adding Value (WAV) Steering Committee, Stevenson co-led the mentoring circles, revamping the teams to increase the number of their participants and ensuring that there were active circles across the entire Giant Landover market area. For her herculean efforts, she received an Above and Beyond Award from WAV. Beyond her busy work schedule, Stevenson sits on the District of Columbia WIC advisory board.

Traci Porr

Human resource Manager, Giant/Martin’s

Mary ST. leDGer BaGGeTT Director Marketing and external communications, Giant/Martin’s

Baggett launched Giant/ Martin’s everyday low price campaign and, building on its success, introduced an improved compare-and-save advertising and marketing campaign against two competitors in two major markets, achieving positive sales results. She made the grand-opening ceremony and community preview party for stores ADA-compliant by providing an interpreter for hearingimpaired customers. Baggett committed Giant to be the presenting sponsor for the first Girl’s World Expo, which empowered young girls to explore relevant and important social issues.

JaMie e. SHannon

Human resource Generalist, Giant/Martin’s

Porr created a program to provide talented hourly associates with enhanced training to help them meet their career aspirations, developing quarterly toolkits for fellow HR managers to use with these trainees.

Shannon automated store management training program materials to allow for real-time updates and provide easy access for the field team and trainees, and also automated the new-associate onboarding process.

She was a district mentor circle lead for female salary managers, holding roundtable discussions that fostered teamwork and facilitated the sharing of best practices and the development of emerging talent.

She redesigned the staffing process for division support roles, specifically product specialist, which resulted in a shorter time-to-fill rate.

Porr led social media efforts with associates, introducing an Instagram pilot in her district that enabled organization leaders to communicate with Millennials by their preferred method.

Shannon represented the Giant/Martin’s division on the team that created the new Associate Connect app, which allows all employees to access schedules, pay stubs, discounts, career information and the latest company news via smartphone or tablet.

aMy KiDD

Human resource Manager, Giant/Martin’s

MinDy Miller-DowlinG asset Protection Manager, Giant/Martin’s

Kidd developed and facilitated off-site leadership meetings for salary managers; these events were so successful that they’re now conducted for department managers as well.

While at Ahold USA, Miller-Dowling redesigned the central shrink team, assigning specific merchandising portfolios to address the root causes of shrink and to develop solutions.

She created a monthly district newsletter that was posted in all stores to ensure that associates were informed about what was going on in the district.

She created a template to be used by all store management teams to review common areas of loss on a weekly basis and to provide ways to prevent and improve loss in each of their stores.

During the divestiture of some Martin’s stores, Kidd worked with state agencies to guide associates through their transition to dislocatedworker status once their stores closed, helping provide such information as writing effective resumes and filing for unemployment benefits.

naTaSHa MarTinez

Senior Director, Transportation, Grocers Supply

Miller-Dowling kicked off a proactive initiative in her district to improve the volume of out-of-date product, using a combination of data points such as inventory turns, historic loss quantity and dollar values, and on-hand position to identify at-risk items.

MicHelle BecHill

category Strategist, The Hershey co.

After being promoted to her current role and taking on the entire transportation function, Martinez guided her team to improve on-time performance by almost 2 percent, without sacrificing safety.

Bechill expanded her influence to many other departments, including shopper marketing, supply chain and loyalty, to provide key consumer/shopper categorycentric insights.

She led and sponsored large, complex initiatives focused on multi-temperature deliveries to increase cube utilization and backhaul opportunities, collaborating with the fleet asset, sales, warehouse and other teams to implement changes.

Specifically requested as a team member, she offered expertise, recommendations and thought leadership through the application of shopper insights, assisting a retailer in winning confection share in the marketplace.

Martinez successfully teamed with colleagues in other groups to support a volume transition from Houston to Dallas, and an improvement in volume and rate performance in backhaul.

Bechill’s dedication and recommendations during a front end strategic merchandising project provided the retailer with the insights equired to move forward with installing front end merchandisers in its self-checkout area.

June 2017 | |


Rising staRs

CheRyl hOgan Category strategist, the hershey Co.

Hogan’s dedication to a retailer’s complex front end project enabled an update to be implemented in market within this segment of the business, and the retailer saw strong yearover-year increases and market share wins. Based on this success, she turned her attention to close the gap in another segment of the business, with implementation expected this year. As a result of Hogan’s work, Hershey was named Vendor of the Year at the retailer’s Southern California division. Not content to rest on her laurels, she also successfully expanded her influence to shopper marketing to work on strategic recommendations for upcoming seasons.

suzan ali

Patient Care Coordinator, the Kroger Co./nashville

MOlly OlsOn

KaRi swift

Director, Restaurant Development, Minnesota, hy-Vee

Director-west frozen foods sales, Kellogg Co.

Swift’s quick adoption of game-changing revenue growth management with her team and customers has enabled her to achieve significant wins at at major retailers.

In charge of tracking secret-shopper reports, she helped improve overall scores by 20 percent by addressing concerns as they arose.

Drawing on a background that encompasses category development and insights, she was able to create more grounded and actionable joint business plans with key retailers in her portfolio and beyond.

She negotiated and executed six MRO preferred-supplier contracts and worked crossfunctionally to develop Kroger Manufacturing’s first MRO preferred-supplier program.

Swift positioned Kellogg Frozen as being able to challenge strategic partners in a collaborative way, with category interests always at the forefront, thereby taking relationships with some of Kellogg’s biggest retail partners to a higher level.

Al-Hagri established metrics to measure supplier diversity and report the results to key stakeholders throughout Kroger Manufacturing; the report also identifies new suppliers to increase Kroger’s use of women- and minorityowned businesses.

Olson contributed to the development of four foodservice concepts — The Hibachi Grill; Cocina Mexicana, with made-to-order fresh offerings; Dia Pida Italian Street Food; and Long Island Deli, serving New York-style deli sandwiches — that were unveiled in the Twin Cities market in 2016 and will be included in all new stores going forward.

Dawn BaKeR

RaChel BlaCKwelDeR

Poultry Commodity Manager, the Kroger Co./ general Office

senior ecommerce Manager, the Kroger Co./ harris teeter Blackwelder implemented online payments for the ExpressLane ecommerce program at 178 Harris Teeter stores, reducing customers’ wait times at pickup.

Among the business-tobusiness relationships she formed with community partners was one that contributed to a 343 percent sales increase in the category this past year.

She created an oven-ready turkey program that drove an incremental $3 million in sales, and developed a Simple Truth turkey product line based on industry observations and customer shopping behaviors; the first two products in this new product line contributed more than $3.5 million in sales.

She introduced home delivery via Uber in 12 stores across three markets; the first Uber pilot store in Washington, D.C., grew its weekly ExpressLane order count by 250 percent in less than 12 months.

Ali represented Kroger at the annual American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions Conference, and served as the grocer’s primary liaison to the organization.

Baker also headed the first Customer 1st Promise team at the general office, with the aim of promoting a culture driven to develop customerand associate-based solutions.


leader, indirect sourcing and supply Optimization, the Kroger Co./ Corporate Brands and Manufacturing

Olson was instrumental in reducing store-opening expenses by 30 percent with a plan for what equipment and supplies were needed to open a store efficiently.

Baker worked with a small organic processor to diversify Kroger’s organic supplier base; the division supplied by this vendor went on to outperform all other regions.

Ali developed a divisional competition to increase pharmacy staffers’ promotion of public health in regard to immunizations, resulting in a 39 percent overall increase in vaccination rates from last year and helping to improve patient-pharmacist relations at all 93 stores that took part in the competition.

alia al-hagRi

Blackwelder’s streamlined, replicable “21-day” ebusiness process allowed for the release of new features more quickly at a significantly higher quality, and also dramatically reduced the amount ot back-and-forth time spent in development.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Al-Hagri worked with her business partners to aggregate indirect suppliers and spend data across 35 manufacturing plants, identifying $10 million in maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) savings for the company.

theResa BORDelOn

Customer Communications Manager, the Kroger Co.

Bordelon’s team launched a produce pricing initiative marketing campaign that resulted in double-digit unit increases, and her division led the company in digital account acquisition and engagement. To help jump-start cost-cutting initiatives at Kroger, she negotiated the costs of large print jobs to save more than $200,000 on in-store printed materials. Bordelon served on the steering committee for the division’s Women’s EDGE employee resource group, providing direction and mentoring to up-and-coming female leaders, and she and her family volunteer with Susan G. Komen and local food banks.

Rising sTaRs

CHRisTina CoTTen

District Manager, The Kroger Co./Delta

In her prior role as division grocery sales manager, Cotten implemented a strategy for Kroger’s value stores by creating a sales plan and shopping environment tailored to the value customer base. In her first quarter as district manager, she led the district in significant improvements to the shopping experience, significantly raising its customer acknowledgement score. Featured in the top 20 of the Delta division’s highpotential succession plan, Cotten was co-chair of the division’s 2016 United Way Committee; she also volunteers every year for the St. Jude Marathon and teaches Sunday school.

Megan Hoppenjans

Customer 1st promise enterprise specialist, The Kroger Co./ general office Customer 1st promise Team Within the 10 departments Hoppenjans worked with, the company saw an average of 10 percent improvement in the Associate Perceptions Survey. She also developed an easyto-use comparison tool for the survey and the Associate Insights Report. Her collaboration on Project Simple with the Portland GM team resulted in 52 hours saved annually for one hour invested upfront. The team identified 110 areas in which to simplify work. Hoppenjans was the project leader for a focused Workstream to build momentum for taking Kroger’s Purpose across the entire company.


laCey goTTsTein

bRanDy HangeR

Divisional planning Merchandise Manager, The Kroger Co./ general office

Gottstein helped successfully spearhead a process for bringing seasonal event buying from the divisions to the general office, a process encompassing organizational charts, job descriptions, roles and responsibilities, hiring, and training. Generous with her time, she serves on numerous businessand associated-related committees, and works with numerous groups to help improve forecasting, display-planning processes and allocation tool revisions. Gottstein helped revise the recognition and award programs within general merchandise to give increased recognition at all levels across the division.

Digital Merchandising Coordinator, The Kroger Co./general office

Working closely with merchandising, marketing and Kroger’s data analysis unit, 84.51˚, Hanger developed a merchandising-lead seamlesscommunication strategy leveraging key consumer packaged goods partners. She created a weekly, monthly and quarterly scorecard tracking household, customer engagement, and sales in the digital space by category, supported by quarterly merchandising training sessions for more than 200 center store and perishable category managers. In collaboration with Kroger human resources, Hanger designed an effective intern program for digital merchandising.

RaCHel HuRsT

sTaCy joHnson

Division Community affairs Manager, The Kroger Co./ Michigan

Hurst partnered with Henry Ford Hospital to create a registered dietitian nutrition program that teaches customers how to eat and cook more healthfully. She led Kroger’s largest campaign to date for the American Cancer Society, with just under $500,000 in donations in 2016. Hurst created Kroger’s firstever endorsement deal with the Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond to endorse Michigan Milk, and headed the creation of the From Hearts to Homes campaign with six local food banks, generating 1 million pounds of food donations in six months.

District Manager, The Kroger Co./ Fred Meyer

Johnson achieved some of the district’s most improved safety scores, due to her town hall meetings that brought in all associates to help them understand how they could change the safety culture at their stores. Her district was also the most improved in overall customer satisfaction from Q1 to Q2, moving up to the secondhighest-scoring district. A leader in the Women’s EDGE associate resource group, Johnson also serves on the board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Portland, Ore., working with the latter organization to increase workforce inclusivity.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

niKi HaRvey

Division Human Resources Manager, The Kroger Co./Dillons

Harvey worked with a crossfunctional team to roll out a structural and role-clarity change for all store management within the division, encompassing operations, merchandising and human resources. She implemented and ensured the execution of a training plan for stores in Nebraska that resulted in higher customer satisfaction and friendly-associate scores. One of 40 participants in the 2016 Leadership Kansas program, Harvey traveled around the state three days a month to meet and discuss diverse topics with community and business leaders, garnering networking opportunities with influential contacts.

saRa Knabe

District grocery Coordinator, The Kroger Co./Dillons

Within her district, Knabe mentored two grocery managers promoted to assistant store manager positions and 13 associates promoted to grocery management positions. Her stores achieved best in class in district, store and department categories, and were consistently strong sales performers, including the natural foods department, which saw a sales increase of 8.2 percent, while gross profit for the department improved 1.96 percent. Through consistent and thorough store visits, Knabe’s district finished the year with 0.51 percent shrink, compared with 0.58 percent last year.

risinG stArs

Allison kuhn

tlc/retail Dietetics corporate coordinator, the kroger co./ the little clinic Kuhn authored OptUp, a nutrition science algorithm to analyze and segment pharmacy customers according to grocery purchasing behavior. The app prompted increases in loyalty metrics and health scores. She built a revenue-generating partnership model for the retail dietitian program and expanded it through a collaboration with the internal sampling program. Kuhn implemented storewide wellness festivals that feature better-for-your products and the expertise of in-store health care professionals, and commercialized outreach programs, with a revenue stream of up to $240,000 projected for 2017.

AlyssA Mcnerney

Drug/GM sales Manager, the kroger co./king soopers/city Market

McNerney served in dual roles for three months as acting drug/GM merchandiser and sales manager, creating an inclusive culture that is still modeled today. She put together as many scenarios of orders as possible when the Denver Broncos were in the NFL playoffs, so when the team won a game, the order could be placed immediately. The result was 3.5 times as many sales of Broncos merchandise in 2016 than in any past years. McNerney shared an idea for the ClickList call-ahead program that led to offering feedback to the digital team on several new initiatives.

MArGAret lewis the little clinic, innovation Manager, the kroger co./ the little clinic

Lewis developed and launched We’ll Hold Your Spot, which allows patients to use smartphones or computers to check in and reserve a spot in line. Despite the short amount of time that the solution has been in place, about 15 percent of visitors already use it. She created 22 best practices, from registration to cleanliness, to drive standardization and excellence in execution through the use of a consistent format including screen shots. Lewis set up a facilitated and nonfacilitated telehealth platform at two locations in Ohio; plans are in place for further expansion, including dietetic services through the same platform.

April MArtin nickels

public Affairs Manager, the kroger co./Dallas

Nickels researched additional Title 1 schools, doubling the amount of independent school district recipients for the Backpack Boosters school supply program and expanding the impact on students in need. The 110 stores that her six districts cover raised nearly $476,000 for Backpack Boosters, exceeding the campaign goal by nearly $14,000.

“Trusted Excellence” is more than a phrase, it’s the foundation of what we do. Our customers rely on us for the quality products stocked on their shelves, delivered on time and backed with expert support every step of the way. It’s what we’ve always done…and we’re not stopping now.

She also raised $330,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, exceeding the original goal by more than 11 percent. Nickels created a robust community relations tracking and measurement system.

Visit to learn more. ®/© 2017 Tyson Foods, Inc.

Rising staRs

loREEn osiMowiCz

Deli/Bakery Merchandiser, the Kroger Co./Michigan

Osimowicz’s division’s deli and bakery departments saw increased sales of 9.5 percent from the

previous year, and sales were up $46.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 alone. Her departments took over the top spot in the Michigan market, at nearly 40 percent — the highest for any depart-

ment in the division. Osimowicz’s deli and bakery teams had the highest contribution to the company for fiscal 2016, the most improved shrink and the most improved employee cost.

JEnniFER PalERino

senior Marketing Communications Manager, the Kroger Co./Vitacost Palerino championed a new approach to email, which included setting up lifecycle campaigns, segmenting customer files, reducing the number of emails sent and incorporating personalized content. Email and open and clickthrough rates increased, and email revenue grew 10 percent to hit $103 million. The email channel generated 1.3 million orders. Most imprtantly, however, the opt-out rate went down by an average of 25 percent each month compared with the prior year. Palerino also oversaw direct mail, which generated 220,000 orders and an additional $20 million in revenue.

Joanna Pang

5 BENEFITS What can Airius fans do for your store? Improve customer and employee comfort HVAC energy savings Mitigate slip hazards Definitely an Def economical solution to ec air stratification issues one might have. I have nothing but praise for them and recommend it to any company. ny Daniel Abrahamson, Lead Maintenance Technician, Natural Grocers


Reduce door condensation Fly control



| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Division Facility Engineering Manager, the Kroger Co./QFC

Pang earned the highest associate engagement increase and score on the company’s annual associate survey, with 94 percent, up nine points from the 2015 survey and 19 points higher than the division average. She worked to enhance the relationship between maintenance and operations, resulting in maintenance being $80,000 favorable to budget and service call counts down by 1 percent, or 244 calls. Under Pang’s capable leadership, QFC Facilities was the first division in the company to meet the 75 percent optimization goal in Service Hub, leading to recognition at an internal conference.

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Rising staRs

anne PieRCe

District Human Resources Manager, the Kroger Co./ King soopers Pierce was integral in developing new hiring practices, and was one of first to fully use an in-house recruiter to travel to in-store advertised events to conduct job fairs, cutting the help needs in half in six weeks. She was instrumental in training, coaching and developing new district human resources managers. Pierce coaches new human resources assistant store managers, a new role in the company, and directs weekly conference calls to help them understand their new roles and responsibilities.

Kelly RaMaKeR

loRena Rull

Manager-Kroger technology, the Kroger Co./general office/ Kroger technology

Fresh Cut Floral Category Manager/Commodity Buyer, the Kroger Co./ general office

Ramaker developed a system to modify a merge flag that indicated whether to join all orders or keep them separate on a congested loading dock. Implementing the new management of the flag during peak times saved $65,000 through improved efficiencies. She completed two Lean/ Six Sigma belt certifications and is working on the next certification, and is also part of the Lean TransformationMethodology pillar to implement agile and SAFe practices. Ramaker helped execute four events for team building and networking.

Rull relaunched and repositioned the consumer bunch program in all divisions, which produced strong double-digit growth, averaging 25 percent last year. She drove sales in the Rose Commodity, a project that involved product development and merchandising standardization for all divisions, resulting in 8 percent growth. Rull launched the Artistry Rose Collection, a new chop-and-drop rose arrangement program, as part of the core program, which has resulted in $500,000 in incremental sales.

leslee RuPPentHal

general Manager, the Kroger Co./Kroger technology-enterprise information Management Ruppenthal secured increased funding for the off-shore production support team, which allowed for more effective use of onshore resources, resulting in higher participation in project delivery and the completion of 30 percent more enhancements, and she negotiated an off-shore support contract for 2017 that will include a 17 percent rate reduction. She introduced cost savings that reduced her budget by 14 percent overall in 2016, with a projected 2017 savings of another 10 percent. Ruppenthal created a plan to upgrade servers, which will effectively save $1.7 million in licensing costs after the movement to new hardware.

Donna salDana

District 2 Merchandising Manager, the Kroger Co./Dillons

CON RATULATIONS Saldana implemented a new ordering and inventory control system for her district, as a result of which measurement of in-stock metrics increased by 2 percent. Her district achieved a score of 279 in the Customer Tracker for the fourth quarter, the highest in the division’s history. In produce, freshness, overall customer satisfaction and in-stock perception increased by 2 percent; in meat, all metrics improved by 3 percent.




1500 NW 95th Ave. Miami, FL 33172 · 800.306.1071 · ·


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Depite deflation, Saldana was able to boost core sales, with general merchandise increasing by 2.25 percent, pharmacy by 5.5 percent and nutrition by 9.5 percent.

SpartanNash 2017 Top Women in Grocery: Store Managers Mary Holtz Store Director Family Fare, Moorhead, Minn.

Mary Mulder Store Director D&W Fresh Market, Caledonia, Mich.

Julie Janulewicz Store Director Family Fare, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Rising Stars Chilain Backman Supervisor, Accounts Payable MDV Norfolk

Audra Landers Manager, Customer Service MDV Norfolk

Doreen Hansen Coordinator, Front End Systems

Mary Masse Director, Compliance

Margaret Jenkins Supervisor, Office Services

Michele Murphy Senior Business Analyst

Success beings with strong leadership. SpartanNash is proud to congratulate nine of our associates for being recognized as Top Women in Grocery for their outstanding accomplishments in 2017. We are grateful for your vision and leadership.

riSing STarS

laTaSha STevenS

Meat and Seafood Sales Manager, The Kroger co./atlanta Stevens filled in as buyer, purchasing product for all Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee stores, growing sales and experiencing no shrink or force out of product. She moved into the role of merchandising manager for District N, leading her team to exceed sales goals by 12.3 percent and improve shrink, thanks to her careful coaching of store managers. Produce shrink improved from 6.09 percent to 5.27 percent, beating the goal of 6 percent. Stevens led the district team to improve results in the bottom four stores in Q4, improving overall results by 3 percent to 10 percent. Her team also came in first in several contests.

Sharon Welch

District 4 hr Manager, The Kroger co./louisville

Overseeing 19 stores, 10 of them in the Lexington, Ky., metro area, with the rest spread out over a 60-mile radius, Welch led the seventhhighest improvement in the district in turnover, with 2016 results down 6 percent. Hers was the top division in safety results for the first half of 2016, with results down 27 percent in OSHA recordable incidents. Welch created a “fun, lively” atmosphere, which led to the district’s 292 (and ultimately a 287 for Q4) score on the customer satisfaction survey and 99 percent performance excellence discussions completed in 2016, the highest in the district.


alliSon ToDD

STephanie Turner

Division customer communications Manager, The Kroger co./QFc Todd created and implemented sales plans and special selling events, which led to a QFC division identical-store sales increase of 3.4 percent, No. 1 in the Kroger enterprise for 2016. Digital and social media reached new heights in the division, thanks to her leadership: The number of digital accounts increased 13.8 percent, with QFC exceeding the digital account goal by 3.3 percent. Always on the lookout for creative ways to reach customers as technology continues to evolve, Todd reduced the number of ads in newspapers and reinvested the money to reach more customers through increased digital advertising.

corporate category Manager, The Kroger co./ general office Turner achieved industryleading sales within the coffee and soup categories; she led the Soup Aisle Reinvention Project, which removed soup racks and reworked aisle flow for the integration and expansion of growing sections. She guided Kroger’s soup category strategy, working with vendors to increase sales as well as completing the coffee category strategy, which developed innovative ways to engage customers. Chosen to pilot many company systems and processes under development, Turner leads the Associate First Grocery Committee, helping to break down any barriers to strong job performance and work-life balance.

Margi gunTer

Jenn aBraMoWSKi

Brand Manager Deli and innovation, litehouse Foods

Gunter launched first-tomarket shakeable blue cheese crumbles in delis nationwide, and hired an a capella group to promote the product at trade shows. Her launch marketing campaign included a co-op satellite media tour, newspaper mat release, co-promotions, and a social media effort, as well as working with other CPG companies to create an offer attractive to retailers and consumers alike. Winner of Litehouse’s coveted Chief Executive Award, Gunter created a formalized innovation structure and process to get products to market faster with a better net operating income.

Manager, Manufacturing and cost accounting, Meijer Abramowski implemented a new financial ERP software system, one of the largest in company history, which replaced legacy and homegrownfinancial-reporting systems that were up to 30 years old. During the 18-month effort, she made sure appropriate business requirements were captured, as well as leading the design of the end solution and creating business readiness plans. Abramowski oversaw the entire project team, which was sometimes as large as 100 people, playing a leadership role in providing input to the various project participants. The project went live on time and on budget.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

ShanTavia WeBB Division Talent Manager, The Kroger co./nashville

Previously a district HR manager, Webb in her current role developed and piloted Operation HR Impact, which identifies the top five hard-to-fill stores and uses HR resources to improve staffing. She created the New Hire Ribbon program, which is used to assist with new hire engagement and retention. Webb introduced New Store Manager Onboarding, which helps new managers transition into the role. All of these programs will be continued in 2017 to positively impact retention at all levels within the division. Webb is a member of the Women’s EDGE and African-American associate resource groups, and also volunteers with local charities.

Zyla aKiTi

hr Market Manager/ regional recruiter, Meijer

A champion of diversity and inclusion who seeks to maximize skill sets that may otherwise go unrecognized, Akiti partnered with several community organizations to hire candidates with disabilities, provide constructive employment in at-risk communities, and offer “second-chance” career opportunities. She conducted eight masshiring events for new stores, which resulted in more than 300 hires in the surrounding local communities. Akiti assumed the role of human resources market manager for 20 stores in northwest Chicago and greater Milwaukee while retaining her position as a regional recruiter.

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Rising staRs

Montiel biRMinghaM Reverse logistics Manager, Meijer

Managing the movement of goods from retail stores to backrooms and then back through the supply chain to a reclamation center to be processed, Birmingham realized destruction reduction in 2016 by $1.3 million, and, under her direction, merchandise compensation achieved more than 136 percent to plan, resulting in more than $1.2 million in additional revenue. She saw an increase in liquidation revenue by 120 percent to plan and helped decrease dwell time by more than 25 percent. Birmingham created several successful real-time dashboards that let merchants and planners quickly see opportunities in vendor performance.

Michelle hall Director, corporate human Resources, Meijer

Hall launched a new merchandising organizational model to allow for a strategic and attractive single point of entry for increased focus on development, succession planning and improved bench strength of the merchandising function. She led the Fuel For Growth initiative to reduce cost and drive increased business performance; her reorganization of fresh specialist roles led to a fully staffed team that’s engaged and well positioned to improve shrink. Hall developed performance guidelines for common HR practices to ensure that HR’s impact and results are sustained for years to come.


saRah bRuischat

JenniFeR coFFey Director, store Planning and Design, Meijer

Merchandise Planning Manager, Meijer

Bruischat received her fifth promotion within six years; within her first six months as planning manager, she orchestrated the training and development of new team members through an organizational change.

Coffey led a store reduction cost initiative that delivered more than $1.4 million in cost reduction per store, affecting 2016-17 new store openings and resulting in more than $15 million in cost reductions for the company.

A participant in crossfunctional teams, she also improved overall in-stocks, and developed and implemented processes for new item launches and display flow.

She streamlined the design process of store remodels — 2016 had triple the normal number of remodels — to complete the work without adding any additional resources.

Before her last promotion, as a buyer, Bruischat implemented an Own Brand merchandising, pricing and promotional strategy that drove Own Brand within her categories to grow 770 basis points faster than the balance of the overall department.

Coffey was assigned to guide the redesign of a new-store décor package to develop the go-forward design and décor strategy for future stores that will provide a more compelling shopping experience for customers.

shannon KulbacK

JaMie laMing

Director Merchandisinghousehold consumables, Meijer

Market Director, Flint Market-Mid-Michigan Region, Meijer Kulback helped the Flint, Mich., market hit No. 1 rankings in the company for shrink, safety and sanitation metrics.

Laming achieved the first scan in the country on two major product launches and was acknowledged by vendors for best-in-class launches.

Her market exceeded contribution results by $3 million and profit results by $4 million, as well as having the lowest turnover rate in the company, at 50.7 percent.

She partnered with vendors to develop a strategic platform within the laundry category to add one more product to the basket by highlighting a laundry regimen via aisle signage, a secondary display message, and marketing both in print and digital.

Kulback focused on training and development, which led to the promotions of more than 50 new leaders and the ascension of current leaders to higher levels, resulting in high engagement and retention rates in the Flint market; her market also led the company in overall customer service metrics.

Laming initiated new trade-up and trade-in strategies to grow the toilet paper category and capitalize on impulse shoppers in the air care category, both resulting in positive sales and market share growth.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

echo DeVos

Director, Product Quality and compliance, Meijer

DeVos was a key leader in the development of the Foreign Supplier Verification Program compliance requirements, executing business processes, a risk analysis framework and a data repository. She mentored food quality and compliance team members and developed a strong product quality and compliance framework that served as a best practice for other areas of the company, including the food team. DeVos created One Process with Merchandising and Sourcing and approved more than 7,500 Own Brand items for product quality, product compliance and label compliance, a 9 percent increase from last year.

nicKie Mccullough senior specialist, Fresh, Meijer

McCullough’s region saved more than $445,000 over the previous year in two key periods. As a shrink analyst, she created a new measure of loss to help company leaders understand loss rates in their departments, an effort that resulted in Meijer’s release of loss-per-day calculations to its leaders so they can see when they move the needle in loss reduction and when the length of time between inventories varies from year to year. Overseeing the company’s entire central region, McCullough trained, mentored and coached her five-member team closely.

A>K: ;>I

riSing StarS

angeLa PageL

Merchandise Planning Manager, Meijer Pagel led the planning team responsible for multiple $2.35 billion categories. Her area of responsibility grew

by 5 percent in 2016, outpacing company growth of 2.8 percent.

in-stocks and a lower overall average inventory.

She developed and led the transition of Serv-U-Success’ $293 million business from DSD to manugistics/warehouse, which resulted in improved

Pagel created and launched a quarterly DSD survey to garner store feedback to accurately assess the performance of DSD/SBT vendors.

anDrea Swartz Senior environmental engineer, Meijer

Swartz completed the implementation of Meijer’s environmental compliance management system, which improved fuel system state inspection compliance by 11 percent, hazardous waste state inspection compliance by 20 percent, and other inspection compliance by 22 percent. Under her guidance, state and local construction stormwater inspections were 100 percent compliant in 2016. Swartz’s achievements led her to be promoted to senior environmental engineer; in the meantime, she’s pursuing a master’s degree in sustainable business, focusing on the restoration of environmental quality, at Aquinas College.

Sarah OwenS

Marketing Director/new Store Marketing Lead, new Leaf Community Markets In the past year, Owens drove the transition of the company’s monthly sales flier to a biweekly schedule, leading to increased distribution and return on sales. She initiated a new holiday ordering system for customers and store staff, resulting in record-breaking holiday sales in the company’s second year of online ordering.

FRESH PERIMETER PACKAGING • Deli • Bakery • Protein • Cheese • Produce



Owens rebranded and relaunched the company’s employee community service benefit, doubling staff participation hours. Thanks in part to her work, New Leaf was named Best Grocery Store in a local newspaper’s readers’ choice poll, among other distinctions.

The most popular brands. The most popular bakery item. Donuts are not only the #1 bakery item consumed away from home, they’re also the #1 selling breakfast item in store bakeries. Combine this growing trend with some of the world’s most popular brands and you’ll see why incremental sales never tasted so good. +1 (800) 241-8526 Copyright© 2017 CSM Bakery Solutions LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Rising staRs

teResa Blanco Wellness Program Manager, northgate Markets

Northgate Markets’ Viva la Salud public health program, developed and led by Blanco, hosted more than 700 events last year. Teaming up with area Susan G. Komen affiliates last October, she spearheaded nine on-site free breast exams and mammograms, along with 18 on-site outreach events and education programs for breast cancer, an effort that garnered extensive local media coverage. Blanco supported the expansion of 10 new pilotstore healthy checkout aisles in partnership with Choose Health LA Kids and the Interagency Retail Alliance.

saRah BaiRd

director, operations support, Peapod

Baird was instrumental in ensuring that Peapod’s standalone facility in Whitman, Mass., met its 2016 budget while increasing capacity by 35 percent. She also helped the facility transition to a centralized replenishment model to help improve its in-stock position and, ultimately, drive up performance in all markets. After double-digit identicalsales growth was achieved in the mature New England market, Baird’s work was used as a model for similar programs that were adapted and expanded in Peapod’s other distribution centers around the country.

cheR ZelleR

Manager, Peapod interactive, Peapod

Zeller led Peapod’s Preferred Partner program to its highest revenue level, with a higherthan-expected 40 percent increase in partner revenue. Her stellar results were driven by developing and implementing a new search program option to partners, introducing an enhanced seasonal merchandising support program, and developing an improved strategic platform for partner program development, including a unique optimized data dashboard. Zeller was instrumental in Peapod’s new internal creative process and sucessful integration with AFS for redemptions and ecoupons.

MeRedith davis Key account Manager, Pepsico/north america Beverages

In the first year in her current position, Davis overdelivered on her top-line plan for all categories; coffee grew 20 percent, while the tea business gained 12 percent. Under her Next Generation carbonated soft drink planogram, more than 70 percent of stores dedicated a 4-foot section to that category. Davis won the company’s Best of the Best award for the Southeast region in 2016 and was the highest-rated key accounts manager on her respective teams for two consecutive years.

Rising staRs

ERyn ivEy

Ecommerce senior Director, PepsiCo/north america Beverages

Ivey set up the newly formed ecommerce team at PepsiCo, built its budget and gained cross-functional alignment on objectives.

tamEka mcBRiDE

staCEy naChtalER

sales Director, senior, PepsiCo/north america Beverages

Assuming total beverage leadership for the PepsiCo business at Sam’s Club, McBride secured major wins for the Gatorade and Starbucks businesses, and re-established the strategic annual planning process with the retailer.

She was pivotal in mobilizing the beverages commercialization team to deliver a step-changed innovation schedule, including commercializing packages in a record 20 days. This required close collaboration with internal and external stakeholders and key bottling partners.

She and her team created an app that provided real-time insight into store execution and trends, which allowed Sam’s Club to make key changes that improved its total performance.

Under Ivey’s leadership, the North America Beverages group delivered retail sales of $96.7 million, a jump of 50 percent from the prior year.

Under McBride’s leadership, the Sam’s Club team exceeded its annual plan by $25 million, closing in on a $1 billion retail sales number for her portfolio.

hEathER OCh

Director, shopper marketing, albertsons, PepsiCo

manager, Category leadership, PepsiCo

Described as a “phenomenal” leader within PepsiCo’s shopper marketing team and similarly lauded by her counterparts at Albertsons, Nachtaler developed programs that delivered strong results while elevating the company’s overall marketing agenda.

Och leveraged insights to influence Giant Eagle’s carbonated soft-drink category strategy, resulting in more feature ads on a PepsiCo pack; half of those ads gained incremental customer investment and 31 percent growth in the third quarter over the year-ago period.

She developed the Sun Chips Veggie launch plan with a first-ever custom pallet for Albertsons, fueling incremental $1.2 million of growth.

She was recognized as a finalist in PepsiCo’s Category Leadership Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

Nachtaler’s custom summer promotion for Pepsi Emoji won a share battle, despite the competing brand’s Summer Olympic partnership category exclusive.

Internally, Och serves as a mentor to an associate category leadership manager and as a group mentor to analysts and associate managers in a category management training program.

We are proud to honor all of the 2017 Top Women in Grocery Congratulations to our own award recipient Diane Cooke! Thank you for your leadership and meaningful contributions to our company and employees. Check us out at:

Diane Cooke VP Human Resources Schwan’s Global Supply Chain, Inc.

© 2017 Schwan’s Shared Service, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

rising sTars

Congratulations! 2017 Top Women In Grocery

ChrisTina pErEz Director of sales, publix Team, pepsiCo/Frito-lay north america

Transitioning from zone sales director to her current role, Perez delivered on net revenue and share plans for the full year, and the Publix business had share gains in savory snacks, ranked the No. 1 growth contributor at total Publix stores, and she drove premium share of salty snacks, a key battle for Frito-Lay at the retailer. She improved PepsiCo’s’ Advantage ranking, a critical metric for Publix, up a spot from the previous year, and additionally ranked No. 1 in business relationship/support/personnel.


Perez serves as an executive sponsor and campus recruiter for PepsiCo at Florida State University.

Elin TEmpEl

Rebecca Welch Brand Manager, Seasonal & Fresh Raw Turkey Digital Community Manager

Thank you for your hard work and dedication from your friends and colleagues at Butterball®.

Director, Category leadership, pepsiCo/ Demand Xcelerator

aminTa priCE

senior Director of sales, Texoma, pepsiCo/ Frito-lay Us

Last year, Price collaborated with partners to gain permanent space in H-E-B stores for the first time in five years and spurred single-serve development with a presence in every register cooler. 2017 is off to a fast start at H-E-B. She made a significant impact on creating diverse teams to ensure that key account managers represent the customers they serve. To meet the demands of a complex markeplace, Price led the development of the category analyst role in the region. Building this foundation is critical for customer leads to be successful, and providing new growth opportunities is important in establishing a talent pipeline.

DEana WhiTman Director, pepsiCo

Tempel took on a new people management role on the Kroger team in 2016, leading a team of seven to secure incremental space on the shelf.

Managing the largest shopper marketing budget in grocery, Whitman led the launch of the Doritos Fully Loaded Frozen line from foodservice to retail.

Additionally, she successfully worked on the organization’s Beverage Vision project with Kroger and its data analytics arm, through which a next-generation carbonated soft-drink project was to be tested.

She led the 2017-18 Frito Lay innovation launchpad, collaborating with the customer to drive incremental placement and SKU authorization in stores.

Tempel spearheaded the launch and implementation of the Kroger team’s Building the Best Global Talent taskforce, an effort that elicited strong support and participation from the team, both locally and across the country.

The winner of two Chairman’s Awards from PepsiCo, Whitman has “stood up” her position, which is new to the group, by scoping out roles and responsibilities and significantly improving engagement and efficiencies across the brand, customer and marketing teams.

riSinG STarS

Terri LayTon

account Manager, Post consumer Brands, northwest/north central Division In addition to her current duties, Layton managed three divisions of a top-10 account last year, and, in that time turned all of them from negative sales to double-digit increases. Moreover, she grew Post Consumer brands to the No. 1 cereal in dollar sales at one of her wholesale accounts last year. For her persistence in building relationships with accounts and developing plans to sustainably and profitably grow their business, among other achievements, Layton received the company’s John S. Campbell Sales Excellence award, and was also honored by a large independent customer.

Sara rauSch

Senior Director, Gun Puffed Sugar coated, Post consumer Brands, Business Leadership Group By moving key products to alternative locations in the Gun Puffed Sugar Coated manufacturing network, Rausch helped save $2.9 million in costs. Over the past year, she was a major force in a manufacturing effort that exceeded aggressive corporate expectations. Her expertise in asset utilization enabled the company to cut costs and drive EBITDA growth significantly above target. Under Rausch’s guidance, improvements in the company’s new product development process resulted in a record number of new products commercialized on time and on budget.

KayLynn ZeLTner

Senior retail operations Manager, Post consumer Brands, northwest/ north central Division Zeltner hired and trained four new representatives to be high-level

performers in a short period of time and coordinated the reset of all new re-racking and signage in 240 Hy-Vee stores and 16 Woodman’s stores. She gained more than 5,400 linear feet of retail shelf space

for Post brands. Zeltner won the Region Retail Excellence award in 2016 for her accomplishments in leadership and people management and for achieving best-in-class retail standards.


CARRie biRTh dAviS Senior Marketing Manager, Procter & gamble

Davis’ successful insightdriven marketing campaigns included programs with the NFL, Pro Camps, Disney, Fandango and Marvel, all of which drove incremental sales and trips with regional customers. She used traditional marketing tools as well as social media components to target Millennials, Boomers and U.S. Hispanics with shopper offers. Her West Region Team posted sales results within the top 10 percent at the company, leading to recognition as sales team of the year in 2016. Earlier this year, she won P&G’s Outstanding New Hire Manager awards. Davis is a marathon runner who’s currently training to qualify for the Olympic Trials.

Connie Ann Lebo

Senior Manager, nFR Services, Retail business Services A key leader in the not-forresale (NFR) sourcing team, Lebo collaborated across many business areas to convert a manual purchasing process to a fully electronic source-topay (S2P) system, Coupa. She developed strategies to enhance processes and bring clarity to rogue spend, resulting in a 61 percent lift in spend issued through Coupa in 2016 over the previous year. Among other community endeavors, Lebo led a financial literacy program at a local school and co-chaired a Children’s Miracle Network golf event. She also encouraged her staff to volunteer and scheduled team events around supporting the community.



KARen hein

Senior Account executive, Kroger Team Fabric Care, Procter & gamble

She doubled her existing team, creating more selling, analytical and influencing space. After three years of flat/ declining laundry category sales, she created a new model for Kroger to balance growth from new shoppers and increase the dollars per load of existing shoppers, leading to 6 percent category growth for nine straight quarters. Maximizing all of P&G’s planning and initiative tools, Graff, a consistent top performer at the company, known for overdelivering on her targets, co-designed a strategy with Kroger to develop a new game plan for growth that’s expected to be a model for years to come.

Senior Customer Supply Chain Leader, Procter & gamble

Hein co-created a unique supply chain commercialization display program for Procter & Gamble’s annual joint business planning meeting, resulting in more than $10 million in incremental P&G sales. She led her multifunctional customer team and customer through a complex set of new item initiatives and product conversions, with more than 500 items in eight categories across 14 divisions. One of the architects of the launch of the Network of Executive Women’s Idaho chapter in 2016, Hein was named chapter co-chair. She also served as a youth sports volunteer across three states over seven years.

SuSAn ShAhRoodi


Senior Portfolio Manager, iT, Retail business Services

iT business Consultant, Retail business Services Shahroodi contributed to a major strategic initiative through the successful evaluation and selection of a new pricing tool for the merchandising teams, which is now on the path to implementation and expected to result in margin improvements to the business. A new creative workflow and proofing product for the advertising area came from her work with the business, and is expected to save costs and increase associate productivity and efficiency. Shahroodi helped create a supplier diversity tool to enroll diverse suppliers and support the company’s vendor diversity objectives.

Thomas spearheaded an IT initiative that facilitated 400 percent system growth and scalability in support of the Famous for Digital campaign.

JuLie TuCKeR Regional business Manager, Procter & gamble

Recognized by her peers as a P&G Great Manager of Others, Tucker collaborated with Alaska retailers to offset a weak statewide economy by delivering unique promotions, including hockey player signing events and NFL training camp promotions in the Anchorage market. She also executed promotional and display plans with Alaska’s Petroleum Fund Dividend distribution that netted record results for P&G. In her role with independent grocery retailers, Tucker led the implementation of breakthrough shelf concepts at 100-plus stores that are expected to deliver incremental category growth for both P&G and the retailers.

AMAndA deLong Wood

Promotional Accounting Manager, Retail business Services

Wood was a key contributor to the efforts to design and establish the Sarbanes-Oxley key control framework.

In 2016, she exceeded her goals for number of household signups by 1 million and the number of activations by more than 2.5 million, resulting in new customers acquired and existing ones retained.

Associate engagement survey results in 2016 improved substantially under her leadership, with favorable responses growing in the areas of associate development engagement, leadership/supervision and teamwork.

Thomas’ sales performance was solid: Additional households grew 15.5 percent, promoted sales were up 6.8 percent and basket size increased 53 percent, while load-to-cart weekly activations spiked by more than 4,900 percent and activations per household grew by 112 percent.

At the same time, Wood reorganized and realigned the department to redistribute workload, increase accountability, better support the merchandising teams, and cross-train senior accountants and deal associates, an effort that contributed to improved associate engagement.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017


Congratulations TO OUR RISING STARS!

We’re proud to recognize Sara Rausch, Terri Layton and Kaylynn Zeltner on the accomplishments you have achieved over the last year and throughout your careers. Thank you for service to our customers and for finding better ways to invigorate the cereal aisle.

Sara Rausch, Senior Director, Business Leadership Group Terri Layton, Senior Account Manager, Northwest Region Kaylynn Zeltner, Senior Retail Operations Manager, North Central Region

maki ng b e t te r h a p p e n © 2017 Post Consumer Brands, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

riSinG StarS

Danielle BateMan GironDo

Senior Director, Marketing and advertising, Save-a-lot Food Stores Named one of the Path to Purchase Institute’s Top 100 Marketing Executives, Girondo created and led a multidepartmental competitive intrusion team to prepare Save-A-Lot for pending competitive changes in the marketplace. She oversaw circular distribution of 270 weekly versions, 52 million annual pieces with a less than 1 percent error rate, and a negotiation of $750,000 in savings. Girondo realigned promotional effective and in-home dates to provide the best opportunity to drive customers and sales, requiring much time and effort due to the need to change behavior throughout the organization.

Colleen vonFlotow

Maintenance Manager, Smart & Final llC As Smart & Final expanded last year, opening 36 new stores, vonFlotow was instrumental in getting new equipment to those stores and managing the construction process. Overall, her department handled more than 67,000 calls last year. Noting that her job is to handle maintnenance so that store managers can handle customers, VonFlotow is known for being personally available 24/7 to handle emergencies. In recognition of her tireless efforts, she received the 2016 Operations Award for Outstanding Support. When not at work, she volunteers with Friends and Family of Huntington Beach.


Marian StoCk

Sheila FletCher

Promotion Manager, Save-a-lot Food Stores

To overcome the challenges involved in administrating selling tools to nearly 1,000 licensee owners for weekly ads and special programs, Stock and her team conveyed information daily, outlining special programs and regional items, and providing guidance to all stores. Through a focused effort on monitoring survey quantities and store sellthrough, she drove positive sales results and reduced sale inventory by 20 percent across 16 distribution centers. Stock oversaw the execution of a difficult upgrade to system applications that resulted in a streamlined and more efficent execution of programs at store level.

Category Manager, Smart & Final llC

Fletcher, who was promotional DSD manager from April through October 2016 before moving to her current position, streamlined several processes and developed a process to track missing vendor income in her previous role. She developed promotional analysis reports that allow the company to refine its strategies going forward, and led her department in creating new ad versions for upscale and value stores, choosing items that resonate with shoppers in those stores. As category manager, Fletcher took the lead in converting topselling natural and organic items from DSD to warehouse, producing substantial cost savings.

SaMantha hill

Chilain BaCkMan

Director of Growth, Snoqualmie ice Cream

Hill spent much of 2016 planning and managing the process for Snoqualmie Ice Cream to become the first ice cream B Corporation in that region. She developed and managed a new line of organic ice cream for the brand, overseeing the USDA certification, sourcing of ingredients, and accompanying sales and brand strategy. Snoqualmie Organic launched in March 2017 and is expected to become a national brand in 2019. During this time of expansion and growth, Hill added new responsibilities as director of growth, a position that involves working directly with the CEO and overseeing employee training.

Supervisor, accounts Payable, Spartannash/MDv A military spouse, Backman increased vendors’ use of electronic data interchange, resulting in time, environmental and financial savings, and she improved forecasting for future financial gross reporting by working with IT departments. She wrote an accountspayable manual for remote clerks to enhance the process of a major national account’s invoices in the company’s proprietary military software system. As chair of the SpartanNash Foundation’s grant review committee, Backman created new guidelines and procedures, evaluated applications, and recommended grants totaling more than $1 million.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Jeannie heGeMier

Senior Category Manager, kitchenware; General Manager and Seasonal General Manager, Smart & Final, llC Under Hegemier’s guidance, the seasonal program has grown exponentially year after year. In 2016, she helped grow seasonal general merchandise sales by more than 60 percent, or by $740,000-plus, over the previous year, and she ensured that the company always had the opportunity to try new offerings. A passionate category manager with many years of experience under her belt, Hegemier rolled out custom sets of local offerings for stores located near beaches and lake/mountain resorts, playing a key role in what’s now referred to as “neighborhood merchandising.”

Doreen hanSen Support/Front end Systems Coordinator, Spartannash

Hansen found an effective solution to the problem of consumers being swindled out of their money by gift card scammers, working closely with an affected gift card vendor and alerting the retail team when problems were occurring. This potentially saved SpartanNash from large losses as well. She created innovative ways to find and recover funds from major cashier errors, and, as the key point of contact when counterfeit $100 bills are detected, assisted police in finding counterfeiters. Based on her 40-plus years of experience at the company, Hansen is often called on by IT and computer support groups for troubleshooting.


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Dr. Koop & Dr. Patricia at Hawaii Conference

You are what you Eat, Drink, Breathe, Think, Say & Do. – Dr. Patricia Bragg, World Health Crusader

Rising staRs

maRgaRet Jenkins

office services supervisor, spartannash

Promoted to her current role in 2016 amid challenging circumstances, Jenkins immediately reduced travel and administrative costs company-wide by renegotiating with hospitality providers, and enforcing smart travel and expense policies. Her emphasis on building better relationships with vendors helped strengthen the company’s reputation while fostering SpartanNash’s culture of respect, accountability, and increasing communications. After the company’s 2013 merger, Jenkins spearheaded a program to repackage and distribute 18 truckloads of office supplies to Corporations to Classrooms, a local nonprofit.

Yvonne aRmando

deli Bakery specialist, stop & shop Armando won Stop & Shop’s New England Division Specialist of the Year Award in 2016, as well as District Centric Team Member of the Year, an honor voted on by the store managers of her district. She worked with each of her stores individually to improve shrink and drive sales, while also spearheading workshops on leadership, team building and training. She also implemented planogram changes in her bakeshops to improve profitability, which led to her working with the merchandising team on a new look for low-volume stores. Armando helped her division’s Women Adding Value associate resource group raise funds to help needy families.


audRa landeRs

maRY masse

Customer service manager, spartannash/mdv

During Landers’ 30 years in the company’s military division, she has spearheaded efforts to improve and expand service to 150 unique military customer installation locations nationwide. Demonstrating her ability to drive sales, Landers aided the transition from manual store orders to computergenerated ordering (RMS), resulting in increased sales dollars and a corresponding rise in items sold. She helped SpartanNash increase its first and second quarters of 2016 alone, surpassing the previous year’s sales, in which order fulfillment remained above 95 percent as overall volume also increased.

director of Compliance, spartannash

Masse designed a methodology and system to ensure that all SpartanNash locations operate in full compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations while improving their country-oforigin labeling process. She was a critical member of the team overseeing the company’s successful acquisition of produce distributor Caito Foods. Masse spearheaded a comprehensive review and overhaul of SpartanNash’s anonymous employee hotline, designing a new process for ensuring that all suggestions and complaints are acknowledged, logged and acted upon in a timely manner to improve company transparency.

Paula Besso

BRittanY CavallaRo

district manager, Human Resources, stop & shop

Besso engaged store teams to identify talented associates for promotion, elevating 96 associates in 2016, with 23 taking on brand-new roles. Her efforts to bolster training and obtaining support from store management teams led to the highest percentage of associate learning modules (ELM) completion and a significant reduction in district turnover. A mentor to several female store managers and assistant store mananagers, Besso is also an active member of the Network of Executive Women and volunteers with various local organizations, including Cradles to Crayons, Pan Mass Challenge, Toys for Tots, and the Boys and Girls Club.

deli and Bakery specialist, stop & shop

Cavallaro and her department achieved positive sales growth both in deli and bakery in 2016, outperforming both the store and district average, and ending the year as the best-performing district in New England. Aside from her normal duties, she was actively involved in rolling out company initiatives to maximize sales while controlling shrink throughout a variety of areas. Cavallaro is a member of her division’s Women Adding Value associate resource group, helping other women become influential and impactful business leaders, and participates in local district community efforts, including food and toy drives.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

miCHele muRPHY

senior Business analyst, spartannash Murphy’s efforts helped SpartanNash win a competitive selection by the Defense Commissary Agency as the exclusive supplier of private label products to military commissaries throughout the world. She better armed the company’s sales team to become brand ambassadors and expand the reach of the company’s six proprietary brands. Murphy served two years on the SpartanNash Culture Committee at the Edina, Minn., facilities, and aided community programs like the Growhouse Community Garden, which supports education in urban gardening, sustainable living and healthy eating, and St. Mary’s Food Shelf.

maRY F. ColComBe

asset Protection manager, stop & shop

Colcombe rolled out a loss-prevention program to identify rotation opportunities for both nonperishables and perishables to improve district performance. Heavily involved in training asset protection professionals in the company, she created a program to recognize key employees through the presentation of Asset Protection Associate of the Year and other awards at an appreciation luncheon for which she incurred all expenses. A 12-year member of the Chicopee Lodge of Elks, Colcombe is also active in her son’s local elementary school and helps raise funds to promote reading through Bingo for Books.



riSing StarS

Cara SangerMano hr Manager, Stop & Shop

Sangermano identified 20 employees as ideal management candidates, developing them toward store management and associate manager positions. In addition to her regular duties, she assumed responsibility over an additional 10 stores for which she optimized staffing, improved the workplace experience and handled labor concerns. Despite the extra work, she was able to meet all deadlines and provide a quick turnaround of less than 24 hours’ response time. Sangermano served as secretary on the executive board of Goodwill of Rhode Island, where she and her team members taught interviewing and hiring skills.

Debra Figuly

Category Merchandiser, Supervalu

Figuly successfully acquired new supplies business of roughly 50 independent customers within the past year. Her efforts to win the business of new retailers projects an additional 20 percent in her current revenue responsibility. During this time, she also managed the transition of existing chain expansion and new retailers to Supervalu programs. A 30-year company veteran whose drive and dedication to the wholesale business has made her and her retail clients successful, Figuly has garnered multiple Supervalu honors, including Shout Out awards for driving new store supplies business.


Carla SantoS

ChriStine taylor

Front end Specialist, Stop & Shop

hr Manager, Stop & Shop

Santos initiated a set of best practices to reduce coupon loss, returned checks and payment fraud, and downsized plastic-bag use across her district of 17 stores.

Taylor’s efforts in developing both new and existing employees led to a 100 percent decrease in her unit’s hiring needs, plus an increase in retention.

She spearheaded a program of weekly conference calls to aid store managers and associates in efforts that not only reduced loss and waste, but also helped meet district financial goals.

Her oversight of the indirectexpense line of the company’s budget resulted in decreases in spend from thousands of dollars to hundreds. She also shared a lead role in developing the Assistant Store Manager Council.

Santos assists in efforts to find “forever homes” for rescue animals, as well as temporary placements until a permanent home can be found, and worked within Stop & Shop’s store network to secure for local shelters donations of animal food that would otherwise be discarded.

Outside the office, Taylor plays an active part in organizing an annual community coat and blanket drive for needy families every winter, while serving as a board trustee and treasurer for a handful of other local charitable organizations.

ria gray

angeliCa King

Senior Merchandiser, Supervalu

As Supervalu’s East Region lead for its National Sales Expo, Gray helped increase the region’s sales by 16 percent over the prior year. Her work with category merchandisers and vendors in the region to target key value items with competitive price points led to a 30 percent increase in cases and a 92 percent rise in sales on the targeted items. Since she began managing the Everyday Value Program (EVP), case movement on EVP items is up by 11 percent, while sales are up by 9 percent. The recipient of many company and community awards over the years, Gray participates in the Network of Executive Women.

Director, Service Support, Supervalu

King initiated an on-time, on-budget simplification project encompassing all information technology processes, which resulted in upgrades and more than 1,000 associates trained in new methods and tech systems. Once the project was completed, she led her team in driving performance improvements using the processes and tools.

aShley boDart Financial analyst, Supervalu/Shop ‘n Save

Noted as an up-and-coming strategic leader in the merchandising support function, Bodart spearheaded an initiative to train merchants how to manage their financial forecasting and business with the company. She took on the responsibility of managing the majority of her location’s SG&A annual operating-planning process. Bodart began developing and implementing a much larger portion of top-line sales and margin annual planning as well, and played a critical part in onboarding the new president of Shop ‘n Save, assisting him in the creation of a wealth of analytical and reporting tools above and beyond his initial needs.

Sarah Meyer

Director, loss Prevention, Supervalu/Shop ‘n Save

Meyer offered new ideas to reduce shrink at the store level before her promotion to director of loss prevention last January.

Concurrently, she rebuilt her team, of which 85 percent have less than a one-year tenure in their current positions.

She implemented strategies to mitigate specific banner losses; developed programs and processes to protect customers, associates and company assets against theft, illegal entry and illegal activities; and helped develop lossprevention training programs that have strengthened her department’s talent pipeline.

A member of the board of directors of Read Indeed, King has also been a regular annual speaker on change leadership at the itSMF USA Fusion Convention, along with other Twin Cities business venues.

Leveraging her attention to detail and ability to collaborate with store leadership, Meyer took on the duties of interim food safety manager while simultaneously performing her loss-prevention role.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

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risinG stars

Maureen MueLLer

director, GM/hbc, supervalu

While taking on an additional role leading privatebrand merchandising for more than six months, Mueller is still on target to exceed both gross profit and EBIT goals for fiscal 2017. She led the merchandising team in the onboarding of a new retail customer from a unique business channel — farm supply — which required adding extensive GM/HBC and grocery/ frozen/dairy sections to its store assortment for the first time. Mueller participates in Network of Executive Women activities and initiatives, and won the the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association’s Gold Penguin Award — a first for her region.

Kristi richardson senior Manager, supervalu

To increase security and customer utility, Richardson led a vital effort to upgrade and update antiquated systems, and to replace a legacy address management system. She hired technical staffers with appropriate skillsets, developing a team consisting of 75 percent new hires whom she mentored and guided to success, to migrate users from outdated, unsupported technology to an enterprise technology, without causing downtime. Communication lead for the Supervalu Women’s Network Richardson participates in Girl Scouts and the Network of Executive Women’s Feed My Starving Children annual volunteer event.

renee oertLi

senior director, business intelligence, supervalu

renee rassMussensPear Warehouse Manager, supervalu

Oertli helped reduce labor and overhead costs while eliminating 50 percent of the old reporting and querying platform’s 800 reports. She rebuilt the business intelligence schematic at Supervalu from scratch, recruiting top-talent team members from outside the organization, and implemented customer relationship management tools for the wholesale salesforce and international teams. Oertli rolled out a Tableau reporting system for all sales teams, merchants and logistics leaders to streamline data use and sharing, while restructuring the company’s sales, margin and logistics data to enable accurate, easy access for all developers.

Lori sandish

director, retail Pricing and customer service, supervalu Sandish guided the company’s retail pricing strategy, a core professional service delivered to 2,500-plus independent retailers that receive wholesale groceries from Supervalu. She led strategic pricing functions across two regions and six territory offices while negotiating fees based on the strategic importance of the customer, size and revenue potential, identifying and developing new services, and creating new revenue streams for the retail pricing group. Outside the office, Sandish, a winner of multiple company awards, is a longtime volunteer for Second Harvest, Feed My Starving Children, United Way and her local school.

A hands-on manager who juggles many priorities at one time, Rassmussen-Spear led her team to achieve a 98 percent-plus overall service level, results that explain its well-deserved reputation for exceeding customer expectations regarding on-time, error- and damage-free deliveries. She played an important role in helping to customize retailer programs and creating delivery schedules to meet the ever-changing demands that retailers face in a highly competitive marketplace. A willing mentor to those in new roles at the distribution center, Rasmussen-Spear actively supports Paul’s Pantry, a local food bank in the Green Bay, Wis., area.

rebecca Whitby category Merchandiser iii, supervalu

Noted for her communications skills, Whitby drove sales and customer profitability through holistic programs that encompassed all store departments. Involved with Supervalu’s SIT (Stay in Touch) program, she was entrusted to work with one of the company’s largest customers. Responsible for the management of a private-brand portfolio for independent retailers stretching from the northeastern United States to Louisiana and all points in between, Whitby has received multiple Supervalu East Region awards for driving new business, and is an active member of the Network of Executive Women.

carrie reynoLds

Fresh sales consultant, supervalu

Reynolds cultivated key relationships with international customers in the northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C., area. Able to act as a customer service liaison thanks to her growing bilingual abilities, she achieved market growth in year-over-year sales and brick-and-mortar growth in new stores. The international arena has pulled in a greater amount of traditional business, and Reynolds, capitalizing on a growing trend, suggested mainstream items for international markets that hadn’t before considered their merit. She also facilitated the internal career growth of a few team members.

nicoLe Johnsen

category Manager, topco associates

Working directly with developers, Johnsen spearheaded enhancements to Vistex, a key contract and rebate system. As part of the project she was the point person for training and developmenet within the organization, crafting training modules and conducting classes across the company, including the consumables, dairy and produce teams. She also drove center store compliance efforts regarding nutrition labeling requirements. A subject-matter expert for SAP, Johnsen was the lead recipient of TopNotch, an internal honor recognizing her contributions to the organization and bestowed by peers and company leadership.

June 2017 | |


Rising staRs

Katie KRaUs Brand Manager, topco associates

Kraus successfully launched Topco’s new Simply Done nonfoods and general merchandise brand, valued at $320 million. She created a Right to Win plan for private-brand laundry to help Topco’s retailers better compete in this difficult space, and developed a catalog of more than 100 shippers and displays, as the fastest way to grow a brand is through secondary points of distribution. She crafted an associate engagement plan to provide brand education for retailers’ store directors, store associates and corporate executives. In addition to developing successful brands for Topco, Kraus plays the French horn in a local community band.

KRista BildeRBach

senior Manager, Financial Reporting, Unified grocers

Bilderbach was a key contributor to the improvement of Unified’s disclosure process and controls, developing a significant quantity of supporting documentation to help streamline the company’s formal filing processes. She oversaw the relaunch of Unified’s Women’s Resource Group, of which she’s a founding member and current co-chair, to increase communication and collaboration, including a series of branding workshops and town hall-style meetings. Bilderbach participates in home rebuilding projects throughout the United States, helping communities recover after natural disasters.


tina tRUszKowsKi

cRYstal sMith Management development and training specialist, tops Markets llc

senior designer, topco associates, elk grove village, ill.

Truszkowski created innovative designs for Topco’s brands, and was instrumental in developing visual assets for its new $320 million Simply Done brand. She led her team to design packaging and point-of-sale assets for the brand’s 500 SKUs within 25 categories including laundry, paper products and cutlery. Between March 2016 and March 2017 Truszkowski received two Topco TopNotch corporate awards for her achievements in delivering point-of-sale designs for a member initiative in record time and her creation of assets to support the Simply Done brand debut at an industry trade show.

senior Program Manager, trace one

A past recipient of Tops’ Superior Service to the Stores Award, bestowed at the company’s annual meeting Smith led the implementation of a new company-wide learning management system.

A private label pro with a knack for food science, Thompson oversaw a program to help grocery retail clients develop better brands and products and optimize sourcing.

She designed, developed and implemented a new store orientation program, including the creation of all print materials, and scripting and filming of two videos, while conducting train-the-trainer sessions for all human resource managers and customer experience specialists to enable them to roll out the initiative to all locations.

She developed a new marketing strategy and retailer sales materials while also overhauling registration infrastructure and training, leading to a 400 percent increase in training services revenue.

Certified by the HR Certification Institute, Smith is also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.

PatRicia coURville

Yvonne geRdwagon

executive director, Product developmentMarket centre, Unified grocers

account Managergrocery/Frozen/deli, Unified grocers

Courville led an effort to reduce inventory losses by over $1 million annually, which also resulted in significant reductions in store returns, and higher customer satisfaction marks.

Gerdwagon was a top sales performer in Unified’s Southern California division, responsible for the largest territory in greater Los Angeles and accountable for $227 million in product.

She and her team also raised customer fill rates to historic highs while reducing overall inventory and improving quality. As a result, the company now boasts some of the freshest product and best date guarantees in the West.

She worked closely with the company’s marketing department on enhancements to product information and features, as well as with the retail technology department’s interactive and mobile ordering systems to inform customers of order status.

Besides helping out various schools in her community, Courville is involved in local Easter Seals fundraising efforts and supports City of Hope and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

KellY thoMPson

Gerdwagon is a tireless volunteer and fundraiser for Wounded Warrior Project, City of Hope, Bikers Against Child Abuse and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, among others.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Thompson and her husband are deeply involved in the Community Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP), a nonprofit that provides food to the needy by picking up unsaleable perishables from local grocery stores.

ann lewis

senior Manager-Records, Unified grocers Lewis designed, developed and implemented multiple technology improvements in addition to critical new systems programs that included workflow and scheduling software, records management tools, and an online web store for reprographics. She renegotiated contracts for off-site storage vendors, resulting in a 43 percent cost reduction while systematically reducing total storage needs by 19,000-plus boxes — more than 50 percent — and also oversaw savings of 60 percent annually on document shredding. A recipient of many professional awards, Lewis is also a Pekingese dog breeder and active in the fostering and placement of dogs in homes.

Rising staRs

KaRi tougas

sales Manager-Meat/ seafood sales, northern California, unified grocers Tougas and her team increased district sales with new business by an additional $1.134 million over the prior year, while seafood sales grew more than $325,000. Working with the IT group in testing and implementing new programs, she was essential in troubleshooting problems and sharing ideas on how to improve systems for everyday users. Tougas serves as the school board chair at a local elementary school, participates in Unified’s Women’s Resource Group, and sits on the company’s charitable donations committee.

Chelsea DeMpsey

store Director, acme #2831, north Wilmington, Del. Through Dempsey’s leadership and extreme dedication in converting an acquired store, her team achieved best-in-class execution of many signature programs and the highest identical-sales increase in the district. She organized a breast cancer awareness rally that raised more than $1,000 through partnerships with local vendors. Known to show up at midnight to lead her team through a power failure, Dempsey modeled leadership, dedication and team-building abilities that positioned her store for another great year.

ling Centers c y c e R • rs e is s • Merchand e s a B y la p is D cks • Storage a R e g a n n u D www.masonwa 800-837-2881 June 2017 | |


Store ManagerS

Joan Perez

Store Director, acme #780, Wall, n.J. A former A&P store director who joined Acme after its acquisition by Albertsons, Perez is an impressive leader who is highly respected by her peers. She spends 90 percent of her time on the sales floor, constantly engaging customers and associates, and consistently meets profit and margin goals. Perez successfully managed her store during a major remodel, attracting new customers and making sure customer service levels remained high. She even postponed surgery to be present for the entire project. Her community partnerships include schools and the fire and police departments.

BrenDa arce

Julie FielD

Store Director, albertsons #2261, Playa Del rey, calif.

To reduce shrink and help combat area crime, Arce partnered with local police to boost foot patrols during peak shopping times, reducing theft significangtly and allowing officers to engage with the community. She further worked with police and local officials to offer assistance to the homeless around the store. Arce also teamed with the police department to recruit four members of its cadetmentoring program, which helps underprivileged youth by offering classes ranging from ethics and morality to finance and health, for employment at the store.

Keri grouP

Store Director, albertsons #6559, Highland, calif. Field is a top performer with a track record of meeting and exceeding sales goals through creative merchandising and improving the customer experience in her store. She showed her associates the importance of teamwork, and her energy drove her associates to achieve results. Field established a vendorof-the-month initiative to drive sales, service and profits, and initiated new product demonstrations allowing customers to try holiday food items. Also, her store has won various sales contests, and she has been nominated to be a member of the Network of Executive Women.

Bakery operations Specialist/acting Store Director, albertsons #1524, Bremerton, Wash. Group embraced any opportunity to gain experience, moving from managing a grocery department to being a division deli operations specialist and then taking on bakery operations, excelling in every position. For instance, she identified the need for a program to train entry-level cake decorators. Her drive, combined with exceptional communication and mentoring skills, made her an overachieving pacesetter among her peers. Most recently, Group accepted the challenge of becoming a store director as she works toward her goal of becoming a district manager.

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QA &

Talking with…

Kim Holman Director of Marketing, TH Foods

Progressive Grocer: TH Foods is a leading snack food manufacturer known known for producing new, innovative snack products—everything from crackers to snack crisps and chips. What are the latest additions to your product line? Describe the items and why you’re confident they’ll be a hit with consumers. Kim Holman: Crunchmaster crackers are delicious and crunchy, and also happen to be gluten-free. What we hear most from consumers is that when they try to eat better, they usually have to sacrifice on taste. We start every recipe focused on taste. Then, our crackers just happen to be gluten-free, kosher, and free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives because we believe tasty foods can also be better for you. Our latest innovations are both different from our original crackers, and exciting in their own way. Our new Protein Snack Crackers offer a snack option with 5 grams of plant-based, soy-free protein and only 130 calories in 32 crackers. Our new Crunchmaster Protein Snack Crackers come in three great flavors, Sea Salt, Barbeque, and Roasted Garlic. Our new Crunchmaster Tuscan Peasant crackers are a new take on old world recipes. All of this rich, authentic flavor is baked right into the base cracker, so no mess, with a light and crispy crunch. Crunchmaster will add three flavors to its best-selling Multi-Seed and Multi-Grain lines. They are: Multi-Seed Artisan Cheesy Garlic Bread, Multi-Seed Signature Buttermilk Ranch and Dill, and Multi-Grain Applewood Smoked Barbeque. And just in time for fall, Crunchmaster is unveiling its newest product that taps into the public’s obsession with all things pumpkin. Crunchmaster’s 2017 seasonal product is a Pumpkin Harvest cracker in Savory Pumpkin. This cracker’s recipe combines real pumpkin and autumn spices with the goodness of whole grains and flax seeds. We also introduced four line extensions of Harvest Stone crackers: Sprouted Hummus in Roasted Garlic and Taste of Za’atar flavors and Sprouted Native Grains in Simply Olive Oil and Salt and Peruvian Aji Amarillo flavors.

PG: You’ve recently rebranded and, in the process, have created a new company logo and new packaging. What prompted this rebranding initiative? And why the new logo and packaging? KH: We recently introduced a new logo along with new packaging for Crunchmaster. Tying into our heritage, the logo plays off of our signature hexagonal cracker. The packaging was made to look clean and contemporary while bringing forth the taste appeal of the product. PG: Are you making changes to your website to reflect the changes you’ve made to your brand? KH: A new website for Crunchmaster crackers launches in June with a whole new look and a new advertising campaigns begins this summer. This new website will be bright and modern, bringing the look and feel of our new packaging and logo to life online. Harvest Stone is unveiling a new advertising campaign called “Life. Well Accompanied.” The campaign taps into the discriminating tastes of consumers to highlight Harvest Stone’s thoughtfully sourced grains, product certifications such as organic and gluten-free and non-GMO, and chef inspired flavors. To coordinate with the launch of the campaign, the Harvest Stone website recently got a facelift. The site complements the look of the campaign, provides product info, and tells the brand story. A more robust recipe section has been added, including topping ideas such as fresh fig, prosciutto and Manchego cheese. PG: Finally, what does all of this mean for grocery retailers? KH: We work very hard to listen to our consumers so that we bring the best possible products to our retail customers. The new products that we are introducing and the new look came from talking with our consumers and working closely with our chefs and food scientists to create delicious, better-for-you snacks. The new look is designed to appeal to consumers’ health-conscious and on-the-go lifestyles. We truly see our retail customers as partners in delivering on our promise to our consumers.

June 2017 | |


Store ManagerS

Dinah JackSon

Mary kruck

Store Director, albertsons #4289, Dallas

In the grocery business since 1995, when she started as a cashier, Jackson has managed a total of seven Albertsons and Tom Thumb stores. While her current store went through a major remodel, she refused to allow the store to lose any business while under construction. Under her direction, the store continued to run identical increases over the previous year and significant increases following completion, subsequently setting an earnings record. Jackson’s store finished in the top five in every donation drive for the community, feeding many families.

Store Director, coborn’s Marketplace, isanti, Minn.

Kruck took on the opening of a brand-new, nextgeneration store for Coborn’s. The location features all-new staff and such innovative features as the Chop Shoppe and Smoke House sections, a dietitian and a cheesemonger, and a full kitchen staffed with sous chefs.

katie kalleMeyn Store Director, cub Foods, chanhassen, Minn.

Along with leading a profitable store, Kallemeyn is considered a leader in the company in the training of technical skills, food safety and customer service, as well as effective team building.

She has gotten involved in local communities by facilitating roundtables, among other outreach initiatives.

Kallemeyn was selected to participate as one of only 35 students in the prestigious USC Food Industry Management Program for highpotential leaders in the retail industry.

An alumna of Supervalu University’s Store Directors’ Institute, Kruck good-naturedly took a pie in the face to help raise money for United Way at her store.

An animal lover, Kallemeyn volunteers with Lost Hope Inc., an in-home care and training resource for foster animals, and the Brookings Regional Humane Society.

to this year’s

Top Women in Grocery winners, including our very own


Mary MulDer Store Director, D&W Fresh Market, caledonia, Mich.

Mulder’s store showed exceptional 2016 bottom-line profit growth of 29.8 percent compared with 2015, plus an all-time record sales week for the week before Christmas. She’s a member of the SpartanNash President’s Club, which recognizes store directors for achieving $1 million or more in store profits within a fiscal year. In 2016, she was one of only 38 store directors, out of 154, to receive the honor. Mulder’s store courts book donations from customers for an annual book sale, with proceeds benefiting Michigan Special Olympics.

Store ManagerS

Hazel enniS

Maggie HayDen

Store Director, Defense Commissary agency, ramstein air Base, germany

grocery Manager, Defense Commissary agency, eglin air Force Base Commissary, Florida

Following the April 2016 coup in Turkey, 700-plus military and civilian family members were evacuated to Ramstein Air Base. Ennis kept the commissary open into the night and early morning for these people.

Hayden’s retail team awards this year included the Golden Ketchup Award, White Wave Dairy Chill and the Back to School Promotion, which netted an additional $160,000 in retail sales and benefit for military customers.

High transportation costs made over-the-road shipments to commissaries in Turkey not feasible, so she helped develop a process for commissaries in Turkey to place and receive orders for items that were air-delivered weekly with the fresh meat.

She fed 6,000 military troops and their families for her Mission Breakfast promo win. The Eglin grocery department also brought the benefit to the Duke Field military community via an on-site sale that netted more than $200,000.

Ennis’ deli/bakery team created traditional holiday meals for military families.

Hayden rallied her troops to support charities benefiting the poor and the homeless.

gayle a. McgratH

Store Director, Defense Commissary agency, altus air Force Base Commissary, oklahoma

VelMa a. Siler

Store Manager, Defense Commissary agency, Sagamihara and Camp zama Commissaries, Japan

McGrath’s guidance and direction led to her store’s nomination as the Defense Commissary Agency’s Best Small Commissary in the continental United States.

Store director since November 2014 for the Sagamihara and Camp Zama comissaries, Siler maintained both of her stores’ sales during a $9 million renovation.

Amid decreasing sales, she held the Spirit Weeks promotion to support daily themes, holiday functions and a pajama party at Christmas, keeping employee morale high and customers coming back.

She created, supported or partnered with several customer engagement activities to enhance shopper experiences, including an annual chili cook-off, healthy-lifestyle events, the base Christmas tree-lighting event and nutritional tours for kids.

McGrath led store employees to sponsor a house at Safetytown in Altus, Okla., operated by the Altus Police Department to provide bicycle safety and “stranger danger” training to children.

Siler provided hands-on mentoring and career counseling for each of her staff members, encouraging everyone to excel at customer service.

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Source: Nielsen, Total US Food, $ Volume, 52 weeks ending 4/22/17

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Store ManagerS

Penny l. Singleton

Store Manager, Defense commissary agency, Dyess air Force Base commissary, texas

lori cloSe

Singleton is involved in holiday donation programs and other events on the installation, which increase commissary awareness and express support for military service members and their families.

Close increased sales by 7.6 percent in a market suffering from deflation; she also reduced overall shrink by .03 percent, making her store one of only two in the district able to achieve positive results.

She spent the last year focusing her attention on basic practices of being financially responsible, to allow departments to show positive increases in all account balances. Her devotion to controlling costs has earned the store outstanding results during the last two formal inventories.

In 2017, she was transferred to the marketing area’s highestvolume store and entrusted to lead the team at the highestfocus location.

Singleton trained and mentored employees and managers, devoting her time, knowledge and efforts to helping them perform their best.

Julie Janulewicz

Store Director, Family Fare Supermarket, council Bluffs, iowa Earlier in 2016, Janulewicz managed an Omaha, Neb., Family Fare during a monthslong renovation. She and her associates overcame obstacles to maintain a clean, safe and comfortable shopping experience through initiatives like a daily staff huddle. As a result, her store achieved an 11.8 percent sales increase over the prior year’s run rate. After joining the Council Bluffs, Iowa, store last October, she stepped in to improve inventory controls by working with associates on implementing better receiving and invoice processes. As a result of making these changes, they have recorded positive inventory since December 2016.


cHeryl groSSMan

Dillons #319, omaha, neb.

Close served as a mentor and trainer for future company leaders through the Leadership Essentials assistant manager training program. The chair of the Women’s EDGE associate resource group’s Healthy Living pillar, she also led fellow group members in her area in a day of volunteering at a local food bank.

Dillons #95, Salina, kan.

Grossman’s store reached the $1 million weekly sales mark twice, breaking its previous record high of $963,000. Turnover at store #95 improved 25 percent, largely due to her focused effort on such factors as finding the right fit for new associates and improved training in highturnover departments. Grossman’s team received Top Performer awards for the district in both overall customer satisfaction and customer acknowledgement, and she also received the Top Performer award for associate engagement. Further, she was chosen to attend the Kroger Leadership Academy, an honor bestowed on high-volume store leaders.

Jaycie Hein

letty BazalDua

Market Manager, Fareway #167-2, Johnston, iowa

Hein’s communication and leadership skills have helped her rise through the ranks since she started as a parttimer in 2006; she’s been a market manager since 2014. She successfully integrated a new Fareway store in the Johnston, Iowa, area, showing herself to be an outstanding custodian of company resources. Under her management, the operation has served as a pilot for Fareway’s recently added technology-enhanced customer service tools. Hein is called upon on numerous occasions throughout the year to share her merchandising expertise both with her peers and Fareway’s retail sales team, and she excels at coaching associates.

Food 4 less #345, escondido, calif.

Bazaldua was transferred to a District Learning Store for a service deli/bakery and produce project, increasing identical-store sales to 2.48 percent and average sales by $5,000 per week, enabling the store to qualify for an additional management position. She had the opportunity to pilot new management positions in her store, including the super co-manager, focusing on administrative tasks, and the grocery manager, focusing on center store, ordering and vendor relations. Bazaldua was chair of her district’s Cultural Council Committee, helping to communicate the company’s objectives while enabling associates to have their voices heard.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Mary Holtz

Store Director, Family Fare Supermarket, Moorhead, Minn.

A constant presence on the sales floor, Holtz became manager of the Moorhead location in January 2017; Before that, she managed a store in Fargo, N.D., where she introduced freshly made sushi and spurred deli to a higher-thanaverage sales distribution. Under her leadership, the Fargo store, which was underperforming and losing money when she took it over, saw positive profitability for two straight years and is now poised to maintain that status going forward. At Holtz’s new store, she worked with her team to decrease shrink in each department; in three weeks’ time, they reduced shrink from 20 percent to 12 percent.

SuSanna MkrtcHyan

Food 4 less #314, Panorama city, calif.

A committed role model and mentor, Mkrtchyan initiated a series of time management and organization programs, along with creative team-building exercises, resulting in improved associate performance and execution across many key areas of her store operations. Her innovative leadership led to zero worker accidents in 2016, and a 2016 associate survey score of 82 percent. She has also created a Healthy Kids Club offering store tours. Mkrtchyan’s store achieved more than $100,000 in savings in the perishables departments and more than $33,000 in grocery, and its EDITDA improved more than $100,000 from the previous year.

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Store ManagerS

LeSLie JoHnSon Food Lion #57, durham, n.C.

neriSSa JoHnSon

Food Lion #2110, Columbia, n.C.

Johnson recognized the impact that Food Lion’s brand strategy had on deli/bakery and spent time daily involved in the department to support execution and department manager growth.

Johnson grew her business more than 4 percent in 2016 with no competitive activity — even with no growth — in the area, in spite of a deflation rate of 1.5 percent.

With the produce manager hitting his numbers, but often at the expense of sales and quality, she grew his day-today operations, which was reflected in sales growth and shrink performance.

She beat her targets on every major line on her P&L in 2016, including top line, shrink, labor, cash and bottom line.

Johnson supports events in the Durham, N.C., area that help Food Lion’s hunger relief initiatives. Moreover, she not only staffs her store consistently, but also is quick to help any other store with needs, holding several job fairs to fill key positions in the region.

Maria Fernandez

Fry’s Food Store #674, Surprise, ariz. Fernandez’s store achieved the highest EBITDA in her 21-store district, at 7.1 percent; the highest increase versus last year in the company, at $1,383,210; and a 4.6 percent increase in sales during a time of deflation. She mentored four associates, all of whom went on to become assistant store managers. Fernandez was one of only four Fry’s store managers and 30 across the entire company to attend the 2016 Kroger Leadership Academy for highpotential leaders. The program stressed the importance of leadership and outlined Kroger’s future direction, as well as providing networking opportunities.


Wendy tHoMPSon

Johnson is selfless with her time, supporting community schools and the local library. Her store also participates in the local high school career fair to share opportunities at Food Lion, and in Food Lion Feeds hunger relief events. Fluent in sign language, she always includes it in the Christmas program she oversees annually at her church.

Food Lion #1217, Lumberton, n.C.

Thompson led her store and associates to increased sales, responded quickly to community challenges such as Hurricane Matthew, and contributed heavily to enhancing the overall well-being of customers and associates.

Turek remodeled five stores in five years; one of which included the first commercial installation of a solar PowerParasol, a parking structure that provides much-needed shade during Phoenix’s hot summers, and more than 20 percent of the store’s power. The addition was noticed and appreciated by the store’s shoppers, leading to increased sales during the summer.

With store sales of more than $140 million a year, Mitchell reduced shrink by $600,000 and control wages by $500,000. Her location also contributed more than $8 million to store operating EBITDA. Many of her associates have been promoted to management positions in the past year; the Fairbanks, Alaska, location’s food manager was selected to participate in store manager training.

Thompson improved nonperishable shrink in 2016 cycle one to cycle two by $6,000 in a store with a history of missing inventory. For her outstanding efforts, she won the Ralph W. Ketner Store Manager of the Year Award.

Mitchell implemented random night checks to ensure that in the absence of a manager, the store associates maintained a high level of customer service, in-stocks, cleanliness and overall customer satisfaction.

Jenny kennedy

Fry’s Food Store #641, Phoenix

The store’s overall customer satisfaction is now at 76 percent, an increase of 3.6 percent, and its produce freshness is at 72 percent, an improvement of 3.7 percent.

Fred Meyer #485, West Fairbanks, alaska

She and her team delivered every major line on the P&L for 2016. Same-store sales were up by 1.23 percent, while she also experienced strong increases in customer count and transactions.

Judy turek

Turek decreased the average wait time at the front end from 61.5 seconds to 48.4 seconds.


Store Leader, Hempfield giant eagle, Store #9, Pittsburgh Kennedy continually improved metrics in her store: Voice of the Customer scores at her current location went up 2 percent in a short period, and Team Member Point of View scores at her last store rose from 62 percent to 76 percent approval. She taught team leaders the numbers so they could understand their impact on driving profitability, the most important aspect of running a successful business. An integral part of the Giant Eagle Women’s Business Resource Group, Kennedy was nominated as Giant Eagle’s champion to drive participation in the company’s partnership with the American Heart Association.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Carrie daggS

giant Food Store #0346, Frederick, Md.

Daggs put 4.01 percent on the bottom line in 2016, exceeding budget. This was due to the involvement of the store’s entire team, its stock condition and its extraordinary customer service. She treats her department managers as store managers of their own departments, meeting with them once a week to discuss each department’s performance in meeting numbers, training associates, stocking products, and more. She also strives to promote associates from within the store. Daggs and her team participate in three community events to raise money for children with cancer, support an Alzheimer’s walk and aid local Girl Scouts in a food drive.

Store ManagerS

aliSa hundley

giant Food Store #235, Fredericksburg, Va.

Hundley helped raise more than $5,000 for the causes of children’s cancer and an associate with lupus through bake sales, craft events and the first-ever Giant Karaoke Idol, plus 4,500-plus pounds of food in partnership with a local food bank. In 2016, she ran an EBIT of 4.04 percent in food, equal to exceeding budget by more than $1 million positive growth over the prior year. Along with her store duties, Hundley trained, mentored and developed two assistants to become store managers, three department managers to become assistant store managers, and three clerks to become department managers.

KriSti l. FoernSler

giant Store #6257, Warminster, Pa.

Foernsler’s previous store achieved the highest identical-store sales increase in its district through her encouragement of department leaders during Monday meetings to make plans for mass displays of upscale items. A store manager since May 2016, she spurred her team to win many sales contests, including for Nature’s Promise deli salad, grab-and-go lunch meat, variety cakes and gift cards. Based on Foernsler’s success, she was promoted to a level-one store manager and transferred to a high-volume store with a gas station, where within eight weeks, she promoted two strong part-timers to full-time positions.

liSa SChePerS

giant Food Store #2304, Joppa, Md.

tereSa Whittler

giant Food Store #232, alexandria, Va.

Schepers reduced the deficit at her store by 90 percent by focusing on driving top-line sales, enabling the location to beat its budget for the first time.

Whittler’s coaching and development of associates led several of her employees to garner company recognition, including her Presidential Award-winning meat department manager.

Her emphasis on creating instore theater through engaging displays allowed #2304 to win sales contests such as the 2016 frozen food competition.

She delivered more than $1 million dollars to the store’s year-to-date bottom line and maintained positive sales despite the opening of a nearby Wegmans store.

Schepers’ varied community outreach efforts included suprising local school staff with special coffees and teas for Teacher Appreciation Day, taking food platters to an area nursing home to promote the store’s pharmacy delivery service and regularly bringing groceries to a homebound special-needs customer.

Carolyn Fogle giant Store #6443, Chambersburg, Pa.

As her district’s mentor circle lead, Fogle enhanced female associate development in leadership, communication, problem solving and job skills. Supporting company divesture efforts beyond her own district, she temporarily relocated to Richmond, Va., to close three stores, which involved managing inventory levels and transferring products and equipment to other areas of business while inspiring associates to remain motivated. Homeless herself as a teen, Fogle has embraced community involvement such as championing the Salvation Army Adopt-a-Family campaign in her area.

Whittler’s commitment to the community inspired her to support 50-plus organizations annually, building strong relationships in the process with the Alexandria, Va., police and fire departments, her store’s four neighboring schools, and many other businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Madelina FordhaM

giant Store #6103, Morrisville, Pa.

hiba daher

giant Store #6335, bethlehem, Pa.

Having earned a college degree in education while ninoring in art, Daher was able to use her background to create theme-based artwork to help associates take pride in their store and to engender a culture of unity; one popular example was a seasonal collage of associates and colleagues titled “Fall in love with MY Giant Associates.” She developed and shared with the team monthly scrapbooks depicting store associates’ achievements. Daher’s inventive leadership has won her store many awards, including for record sales in bakery, deli, nonfoods and pharmacy, and for earning her district’s highest score for cashier friendliness.

Jill PenroSe

gordon Food Service Store, Findlay, ohio

A 22-year retail veteran, Fordham kept her associates engaged by creating effective teams and strengthening each individual’s capabilities. Last year, her store received the Millionaire’s Club award, as well as being recognized for a high engagement score.

As a store manager, Penrose led an inventory-handling optimization project, for which she developed a system that improved productivity, reduced labor by $1 million and helped reduce non-necessary inventory by $12 million.

She led a store tour for pre-kindergarten children and gave each a goody bag; other kid-oriented community efforts included a Halloween costume tour with candy balloons and coloring pages.

She also headed a margin shrink reduction project in which she helped develop and refine Gordon’s policy and procedures regarding shrink. Her exemplary efforts won her a raft of company awards.

Named a human resource manager in early 2017, Fordham saw the opportunity “to serve … in times of crisis and change, and keep people focused on purpose and vision with contagious positivity.”

Recently promoted to her current role of district manager to turn around an underperforming district, Penrose has already boosted teamwork and morale. She’s also a certfied dairy manager.

June 2017 | |


Store manaGerS

Sharon alSton Store Director, harris teeter #179, Cornelius, n.C.

Alston finished 2016 in the top 10 of Harris Teeter’s highest average composite scores, consisting of mystery shops, customer compliments and customer surveys. She was a five-time Distinguished Store Director — the highest recognition that a Harris Teeter store director can achieve. As a training store director, Alston was responsible for the success of current and future management development program participants within the company; she also mentored women in management roles in Harris Teeter’s women’s resource group.

Suzy Grem

amber Smith

harvest Fare Supermarket, Fallston, md.

During a significant remodel, Grem worked closely with the store owner on the installation of energyefficient cases, as well as new checkstands and improved lighting. She remerchandised the store to add more specialty products, expand local items and emphasize natural and organic products, and grew Harvest Fare Supermarket’s social media presence. Under Grem’s careful guidance, store sales rose more than 31 percent over the prior year, along with increases in both customer count and sales per transaction.

Store Director, Plaza midwood healthy home market, Charlotte, n.C.

A true team player willing to go the extra mile, Smith achieved record sales and net profits at the lowest-volume location and smallest physical footprint in the company, leading to her promotion to a store three times larger. For her noteworthy efforts, she was named Healthy Home Markets’ 2016 Store Manager of the Year. Beyond work, Smith volunteers with the Room at the Inn mission at Plaza Presbyterian Church, in Charlotte, N.C., which one day a week provides hospitality and a warm place to sleep for homeless people during cold weather.

Best at ! Fresh Congratulations Market Manager

JAYCIE HEIN. We appreciate your dedication and commitment!

Your favorite Fareway meat is now available online, delivered direct –


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Kim Jaber

Store Director, hy-Vee, Fort madison, iowa

From arranging wine-tasting events to promoting Carol the cake designer’s custom creations via social media, Jaber made sure that something was always going on at her store to take the community’s minds off a challenging local economy, including a high unemployment rate. A hard worker and handson leader, she often donned an apron and ventured into the store’s various departments to help out when needed. Jaber has completed the Hy-Vee University Graduate Degree program and is a certified wine specialist.


Christy Phillips-Brown Rising Star

Heather Siak Rising Star

Tiffany Whitlock Rising Star

Leslie Johnson Store Manager

Nerissa Johnson Store Manager

Wendy Thompson Store Manager


Progressive Grocer’s 2017 Top Women in Grocery

Store ManaGerS

Wendy deMaria

Holly SanCHez

Store director, Jewel-osco, yorkville, ill.

DeMaria had the best sales trend in her district, beating her sales year to date by more than $485,000 and regularly winning division sales contests out of 186 stores in the market. She turned the store from losing to profitable by changing the culture, addressing issues and working on accountability with staff while reducing labor. DeMaria consistently performed at or above expectations with the safety of the customers in mind. When not overseeing her store, she volunteers at the Northern Illinois Food bank.

King Soopers, #59, lakewood, Colo.

Sanchez’s store increased sales by 3.5 percent in 2016, running ahead of the division, and improved in nearly every category of expenses, led by labor and shrink. Her commitment to associates led to a 70 percent rating on the 2016 associate satisfaction survey, a 5 percent improvement over the previous year, while 65 percent of customers were highly satisfied with their shopping experience there. In keeping with her embrace of innovation, Sanchez’s store was the first to achieve certification on the new-store standards process.

niKKi FletCHer Kroger #379, louisville, Ky.

Fletcher guided her previous store through an extensive expansion and remodel and received two sales awards; at her current store, which is currently under renovation to be the district’s first metro-area Louisville Marketplace, she and her team had two record sales weeks. She traveled across the company, sharing her experiences and advice on how to bring Kroger’s Customer 1st strategy to life. Identified as a training manager, Fletcher took part in panel sessions discussing leadership when implementing various division initiatives.

lynn Fondelier Kroger #383, liberty township, ohio

Under Fondelier’s leadership, her store achieved a 4.5 percent increase in sales without fuel for the year, versus 2015. Last fall, she and a team of three assistant managers took on a special two-week assignment to help the newly acquired Roundy’s division become acclimated to Kroger’s functions and processes. Fondelier developed successful associate and customer events throughout the year, including a Toys for Tots drive that collected more than 1,000 gifts for the organization and featured a special visit from Santa to the store.



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Cindy Gilleran Store leader, Kroger #629, Benton, ark.

The division’s only female Marketplace store leader, Gilleran led her team to achieve a nearly 16 percent sales increase over 2015. Her store’s pharmacy achieved 1,300 scripts after one year, when it was projected to take three years to reach that number, and the location had one of fastest-growing ClickList ecommerce departments in the division, averaging more than 60 orders daily. Gilleran graduated in 2016 from the Kroger Leadership Academy, a program for high-volume store leaders.

STore ManagerS

rYan heineS Kroger #915, elkhart, ind.

Heines’ passion for developing and coaching others led her store associates to receive two Sharing Success bonus payouts for significantly improved customer satisfaction scores in regard to friendliness and freshness. She was selected to represent her district in the Division Senators Group, which works to improve opportunity areas in Kroger stores.

Connie Jewell Kroger #J-424, Fort wayne, ind.

Jewell’s introduction of Top of the Hour, Introduce Your Friendly, and Roles and Responsibilities initiatives resulted in improved customer-friendly and freshness metrics by 28 basis points and improved identical-store sales by 12.3 percent. Store cleanliness ratings improved by 15 percent, better than any other store in the district, and front end service and speed of checkout increased 5 percent.

Sandra McKinzie-hodge Kroger #435, loveland, ohio

McKinzie-Hodge stepped in during a $6 million remodel and helped guide associates through it, resulting in increased product availability and annual sales of $48 million. She puts her heart into making associates feel special and greets each employee every day, asking them about something that pertains to their lives outside of work.

diana reYnoldS Kroger #540, nashville, Tenn.

Reynolds employed a progressivesuccessor plan that resulted in 15 associate promotions in the store, district and division, and volunteered to host the first fresh and friendly standards walk. Her store achieved the highest scores in the district for freshness, friendliness, instock, ad items in-stock and cashier friendliness. Selected as the 2016 Store Manager of the Year in her district and recognized for her store conditions, Reynolds achieved sales and productivity goals while contending with competition and troop deployment, averaging a 98 percent effective score and 1.48 percent overtime.

Because of her skills, Jewell’s store was selected to train management and department leadership candidates.

A graduate of the Kroger Leadership Academy, McKinzie-Hodge was recognized during her division’s 2016 Talent Development Day, which shines the spotlight on high-potential employees.

Brenda Young

Terri MarTin

Sandi MaThewS

Within her first month at the store, Young held one-on-one meetings with department leaders to set expectations and goals, along with a plan on how they were going to achieve those goals; all areas of importance to customers saw increases in overall satisfaction.

Overseeing a store with 250 team members and 23 leaders, Martin focused on encouraging store employees to be mindful of customers’ lives.

When Mathews’ store was chosen for a remodel, she set a goal to be the most profitable store in the organization during that transition, achieving 2 percent year-todate sales growth and the highest sales per square foot.

Overseeing a store remodel during a time of high turnover and low morale, Vang worked with line and team leaders to determine the causes of issues and implement a culture of empowerment.

Her store was recognized for exceeding its shrink goal, a 13 percent reduction in turnover, and going 1,700 days with no loss-time accidents; she was also identified as the company’s top perfomer for credit card applications.

Those efforts resulted in a 4 percent increase in her store’s overall customer satisfaction store over a four-month period, along with a reduction in shrink and an achievement of liability goals.

Heines volunteers for Making Strides against Breast Cancer and March of Dimes events, actively participating in all store fundraisers and walks for these organizations.

Kroger #808, Marion, ohio

In the fiscal fourth quarter, every single customer service metric at the store was positive. Three associates Young mentored were promoted to store leaders in 2016, and she’s now mentoring five more, including three assistant store managers.

Store director, Meijer #206, algonquin, ill.

She took the initiative to team up with a local hospital to find out how Meijer could also play a role in the areas of pharmacy and health. Martin’s store ranked first in her market and region in the Meijer Mystery shopping program and went 1,100 days with no loss-time accidents for either customers or team members. Although her store is located amid five competitors, she has managed to exceed customer loyalty.

Store director, Meijer #155, richmond, ind.

Mathews teaches marketing and human resources as part of Indiana University’s business management classes.

Ying Vang Store director, Meijer #65, utica, Mich.

Because of the goals that she set for her team and the extra training that she provided, Vang’s store received Meijer’s highest “mCulture” scores in the market.

June 2017 | |


StoRe ManaGeRS

couRtney caRRanza

Store director, pavilions #2217, Rancho Santa Margarita, calif.

JeRuSha San RoMan

A graduate of the Ralphs Women’s EDGE leadership development training program, San Roman coached, developed and mentored staff to grow their careers; 10 of her associates were promoted in the past year.

She hosted hiring events, reaching out to businesses and her own connections to fill employment opportunities within the store, and facilitated cross-training to better cover the needs of the departments.

Consistently providing an excellent shopping experience, her store has an overall customer satisfaction score of 80 and is in the top 10 of Ralphs store scores.

Rebecca Lund Store director, Shaw’s, Manchester, Vt.

Having completed Shaw’s store management training program in 2015, Lund took over a high-volume store in Manchester, Vt., which, under her leadership, became a top performer in identical-store sales and one of the top three EBITDA-earning stores in the company.

San Roman’s store’s identical sales increased nearly 3 percent to $31 million in 2016 and contributed $2.38 million to EBITDA, representing 6.7 percent of total store sales. The supermarket’s shrink rate of less than 2 percent leads the division.

Gourley created one of the district’s most consistently performing teams, which thrives on what each member needs through great communication and vision. A mentor for the entire district, she worked side by side with newly promoted store directors through peer effectiveness that has centered on communication, routine, planning and networking, although she began woking with them on developing financial skills as well. Gourley’s efforts led to eight consecutive quarters of identical-store sales, and she constantly achieved her targets through competency, confidence and a strategic open mind.

Katonya Reed

LoRenza cRane

Store director, Shop ‘n Save, Festus, Mo.

A past Supervalu Store of the Year winner, Reed is also an active member of the Store Director Council, working with seven other Shop ‘n Save store directors to shape future policies and initiatives.

In her first year as a store director, she became a mentor manager to three store director trainees; all three successfully completed the training program thanks to her help and guidance.

Known also for her interactivity with the community, she spearheaded efforts to engage customers with events like kids’ petting-zoo days, parking lot grill-outs, and a 12 Days of Christmas event with a visit from Santa Claus, encouraging associates to enjoy themselves as well.

A true company leader, Lund recently began assisting her district with sales and labor projections, and held a training refresher course for all Vermont store directors.

Last year, Reed organized eight food drives, and she worked with local charities such as Special Olympics and Crisis Nursery, offering her store as an event venue.


Store director, Safeway #1842, Vancouver, Wash.

Ralphs #87, San pedro, calif.

A store director for 20 years, Carranza helped launch a new concept store featuring chefdriven prepared foods, a scratch bakery and a juice bar. She rallied her employees to embrace the concept’s drastic changes by being a positive role model.

Carranza encouraged local churches and other groups to hold food drives outside of the store, supported local school events and raised money for area education.

connie GouRLey

Smart & Final extra! #929, Santee, calif.

In her short time as the store manager of the Smart & Final Extra! in Santee, Calif. — only one year of service in the role so far — Crane has already risen to the top in areas such as labor performance, store standards, shrink control and merchandising performance. Accountable for more than $1 million in inventory, she leads the district in total in-stock conditions and strong merchandising standards. Crane successfully engaged her 65-member staff to improve customer service, providing a great shopping experience. When not in the store, she volunteers two hours a week at her daughter’s pre-school.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Monica KiRK Store director, Safeway #2448, portland, ore.

In the past year, Kirk has managed some of the most challenging stores in downtown Portland, Ore., with the grace and ease of the experienced, well-rounded store director she is. Despite a diverse clientele, high employee turnover and an immense transient population, she made her present store shine with a new energy, and vastly improved standards and store morale. An active fundraiser for the nonprofit Children’s Center, in Oregon City, Ore., which helps survivors of abuse, Kirk inspired colleagues to work hard, be at the top of their game, leave their problems at the door and remain positive.

MiLLy Lopez

Smart & Final extra! #718, coachella, calif.

After her store struggled for sales during the slower hot summer months in the desert surrounding Coachella, Calif., Lopez successfully built both morale and sales, ending the year with 10 percent higher comparative-store sales than the previous year. A store manager since 2015, she helped overcome challenges with shrink at her store, leading her team to reach its goals in this area. Being an avid competitive runner dedicated to leading a healthy lifestyle helps Lopez on the job, inspiring her to motivate her employees to find the necessary inner strength to go above and beyond to accomplish tasks and hit targets.

store Managers

Jill KoitMaa

smith’s Food and Drug #356, Carson City, nev.

Koitmaa’s store is the safest store in the district, with 550 — and counting — accident-free days, and ranks fourth-safest in the division. Identical-store sales growth was up $1.3 million at the end of 2016 from 2015; this was accomplished with a new competitor opening up in the third quarter. Projected to lose money before she took over, the store earned $1.7 million in EBITDA in 2016. Koitmaa’s store increased its overall customer satisfaction score from 58 to 65, evidence that shoppers had embarked on the journey from like to love.

patty shUnK store Director, tom thumb #2686, arlington, texas

Shunk led the charge in compliance training in food safety and sanitation for her district, resulting in an increase in passing scores by 29 percent in food safety and 82 percent in sanitation. She and her team helped their formerly struggling store earn than $180,000 in EBITDA in five months. Shunk exceeded customer service company goals in the most recent quarter, finishing with a 90 percent score. She acknowledged that teamwork played a major role in her store’s accomplishments, noting, “By treating my team with respect and always recognizing them for a job well done, I am able to provide positive feedback.”

aDriana Mata

smith’s Food and Drug #350, henderson, nev.

For the past three years, Mata’s store has seen doubledigit sales growth, with positive EBITDA results, finishing 2016 with 6.5 percent. Her team beat the store’s projected sales budget by more than $700,000 and increased sales by more than $4 million compared with the previous year. Mata fostered a team atmosphere and helped her associates develop, enabling her store to complete 2016 with a 73 percent overall customer satisfaction score, 74 percent friendly and 63 percent fresh. She’s also a member of a selection committee for Kroger scholarships that are awarded to associates and their kids.

Christal Faries

store Director, United #547, lubbock, texas Due to Faries’ total engagement in all departments and consistent A-plus conditions, her store posted eight straight quarters of positive identical-store sales. Her high energy and ability to relate to store guests led to an average customer service index of 90 percent over a two-year period. Faries played an integral role in mentoring numerous individuals, leading to their managerial promotions within the company. As well as being committed to associates and store operations, she represented United in the community, forming partnerships with United Way and the American Cancer Society, among other organizations.

Mary ChapMan stop & shop #621, southbury, Conn.

Chapman put together a program to identify top performers and expand mentoring and training of associates who wanted to advance within the company. From January 2016 through January 2017, eight top associates have been promoted from within. In a company-wide campaign to increase sales and grow the company’s Nature’s Promise product line to a $1 billion brand, she and her team rose to the challenge, winning the contest in all four quarters for the district. Chapman and her team organized a Fill a Bus food drive, donating more than 330 bags of groceries for charity. The pre-packaged bags they prepared sold out by 11 a.m.

Carletta Cantres

stop & shop # 566, arverne, n.y.

Cantres was acknowledged by Stop & Shop for zero failures during an internal mock audit, as well as high marks in service benchmarks like customer friendliness and employee morale. Stop & Shop has also called on her as a regular mentor to other store managers across nearby company districts. A huge advocate of STEM education (science, math, engineering, technology), Cantres organized a private viewing of the film “Hidden Figures,” at the Cradle Aviation Museum, for 120 middle-school students. Following the film, the kids learned more about its real-life heroines from museum educators and U.S. Navy representatives.

MiChelle hall Weis Market, laurel, Md.

Having helped exceed sales targets despite a superstore competitor across the parking lot as the manager of Weis’ Pasadena, Md., location, Hall was consequently posted to the highest-volume store in her district, in Laurel, Md. She helped design and teach an influential proactive shrink engagement seminar at her store, and was asked to help plan the same program for a newly acquired store. An outstanding leader, Hall has received such company awards as Weis Markets‘ Citizenship Award for Community Engagement, Best Merchandised Store for the Thanksgiving Selling Season, and the Most Creative Store Award for Holiday Selling. June 2017 | |


Store of the Month

Fairway, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Brooklyn’s Finest Fairway’s newest flagship store ups the ante on its offerings and ambiance in the famed New York City borough.


By Bridget Goldschmidt

rooklynites are well known for their blasé — some might say downright cynical — attitude, but the newest Fairway store, which opened its doors this past January in the borough’s diverse Georgetown neighborhood, boasts enough standout features to make the most jaded resident look on in awe. “The idea of this store was to take the best of what Fairway had to offer and then also to modernize the brand for a new shop,” explains Dorothy Carlow, Fairway Group Holdings Corp.’s chief merchandising officer, of the New York-based company’s second location in Brooklyn (the first opened back in 2006 in Red Hook). That modernizing influence is apparent as soon as shoppers enter the store and are greeted by an abundant array of produce, flanked on one side by a brand-new juice bar concept and framed by urbaninspired artwork and accents, including a sign mimicking the big board announcing arrivals and departures at Manhattan’s Grand Central Station, which Carlow points to as a particular favorite.


Photos by Sue Barr

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

city store Far left: oumar cisse (left), general manager of Fairway’s Georgetown store, and District Manager Andy Zuleta are justifiably proud of the chain’s newest store, which includes (above and left) Fairway’s first-ever back-fill dairy, a bustling deli/prepared food section, stateof-the art meat and seafood cases, and Fairway’s highquality store-brand items across all departments.

June 2017 | |


Store of the Month

Fairway, Brooklyn, N.Y.

bakerS’ dozeNS The extensive bakery section in Fairway’s Georgetown store was recently certified kosher.

“When you see the cityscapes across the top, instead of focusing on putting pictures of fresh produce there, we said, we are a New York brand,” she says. “That’s why we picked the cityscapes and really tried to bring in elements of the New York subways and the brick and just making you feel like you’re actually in a New York food store.”

New Views The Georgetown store’s produce department features a ratio of about 70 percent conventional product to 30 percent organic. During the week of Progressive Grocer’s visit, its flier boasted 178 organically grown items. “We pride ourselves on the fact [that] if you want organic, you will have the same exact item as an organic item at this store,” asserts Carlow, “The variety and selection we carry is probably more than anybody else, especially in the apple category.” Additionally, as they come Fairway Market into season, the store offers 2149 Ralph Ave. a whole section dedicated to Brooklyn, N.Y, 11234 local fruits and veggies, she makes sure to mention. Grand opening: Jan. 18, 2017 “What made Fairway special Total square footage: 41,445 was the variety, the selection in … Selling area: 28,182 square feet produce, plus the quality piece,” notes Carlow, adding that for SKUs: 60,000 the Georgetown store’s produce department, “we brought down Employees: 200 the height of the displays so that Checkouts: 13 you could see from the front of the store all the way into our … Hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily coffee [department] in the back of the store, and you could see all the Designers: King Retail Solutions, Eugene, Ore.; Edward M. Weinstein way into our cheese department, Architecture & Planning, Hastings- so this really opens it up.” As in any Fairway store, obon-Hudson, N.Y.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

serves Carlow, “Produce always flows into dried fruits and nuts,” much of it imported from France. Along with these high-quality store-brand items — packaged at Fairway’s Bronx, N.Y., warehouse — are bulk foods. “This is the first time we’ve ever done this type of bulk,” she says. “We expanded it because it’s something that the customer wants, and it’s a convenience item.” Next up is the imported olive oil section, home to a large variety oils and vinegars. “We import direct from Italy … in gigantic barrels, and we bottle it at our Bronx warehouse facility,” notes Carlow. “For the most part, all of this section, with the exception of the top, is all imported directly from Italy and then barreled by us, and some of the vinegars are done the same way for us. Then this is all of your unique items that are imported or domestic. … This was historically the No. 1 destination category for the business, and it’s still very strong. ... We ship this olive oil all over the world.” As for the oil selection, she points out, “We try and run the gamut of very, very aromatic, all the way down to your basic household [product].” The lighting in the area is intentionally dim, she explains, because if olive oil is exposed to light, it turns rancid more quickly. “It’s a living thing,” asserts Carlow. “That’s why we don’t have lights on it.” The coffee department features on-site roasting, which imparts an irresistible aroma to the area. “All of our coffee that is loose is done by us,” notes Carlow. “One hundred percent of this selection is roasted either here or in our facility in Brooklyn.” The store additionally offers a curated assortment of conventional and specialty teas. “This has done really well for us here, so we’re actually going to build custom cases for our next store, because tea has to be vacuumsealed to keep its flavor,” she says, “so we’re going to build custom cases that you can actually see through to the tea, but they’re still vacuum-sealed.”

Cheese to Please For the Georgetown store’s cheese department — a standout at the chain’s other locations — Fairway decided to depart from its usual practice in an effort to add even more excitement. “Normally, we’ll make the fresh-handmade-daily mozzarella in the back and then bring it out to the front, but this particular location is the first store in which we have the fresh

June 2017 | |


Store of the Month

Fairway, Brooklyn, N.Y.

a Cut above the Georgetown meat department offers such items as corned beef made on site and dry-aged beef.

handmade mozzarella [being made] on the floor,” notes Carlow. “It is a destination item for us. People come just for that item, and we wanted to feature it.” Another departure was to bring down the height of the cheese case so that shoppers can “see what [associates] were doing or see what they were cutting,” as well as lean right in and take whatever items they want, even at the back, she adds. “We made the shopping experience more conducive to a person of any height.” In regard to the product offering, Carlow boasts that “we have the largest selection of imports, probably in the New York area,” along with an enticing array of domestic specialty and commodity cheeses, all of them hand-cut. One standout is a Kerrygold whiskey cheddar that tastes exactly how it sounds. As well as creating a cheese department, rather than just a counter, with shelves of packaged commodity items, the store offers some complementary items in the section. “Our private-brand ravioli are actually part of our cheese department, because … we believe good ravioli is made with exceptional cheeses,” says Carlow. “This is the first time where we’ve had the capability to merchandise our fresh pastas with our cheeses.” There’s sauce there, too, so shoppers can pick up the makings of a convenient meal all in one place. Nearby is a big olive and pickle bar that Fairway “actually completely redesigned … for this store to make it more user-friendly for the customer and to give them more variety and selection,” she says. “This is one of our growing categories, something people love, Fairway is famous for it, but it wasn’t


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

working as just one long island, so we totally redesigned it and put more specialty product and imported product in the more premium bins, and they’re doing really well for us.”

Center of Gravity From show-stopping perimeter departments, we next move into the center store — but even in this relatively less exciting department, Fairway has decided to depart from its usual practice. “This is the first time in the company’s history … that we opened a store that was 100 percent planograms,” says Carlow, explaining that prior to the Georgetown location, “we would have our VPs come in and set the departments as they wanted to, without planograms.” As a result of this change in thinking, she notes, “Every single product on every single shelf has been planogrammed out, so that we can guarantee our vendors that they have the space that we told them they would have and that we can show proof [of] our performance for that space, and if they’re not performing, then we can have a discussion with them about it. We know where the product is on the shelf.” According to the new system, explains Carlow: “We have set conventional, organics and specialty together. Before, conventional grocery was by itself. If you wanted Tide laundry detergent, you’d have to go to one section. Then, if you wanted Seventh Generation to clean your house with, you’d have to go to another section. Now, if you want to have Doritos because your daughter likes Doritos, but if

you want to eat organic tortilla chips, and your husband wants Utz potato chips, we have it all together. You only have to go to the chip aisle. There’s not three chip aisles, there’s one, to show the consumer a breadth of selection.” Indeed, that breadth of selection proves overwhelming for a shopper in the cereal aisle whom Carlow and PG pause to help find a suitable product for his diabetic wife. After the man has found an appropriately low-sugar item and moved on, Carlow says: “We are re-planogramming all of our stores. We just set four other stores with planograms, and what we have here is a turn from how the company normally did things.” Also new to Fairway is an end cap program. “These change out on a monthly basis,” observes Carlow. “The reason we have an end cap program is so that vendors will participate and give us deals so that we can pass those along to the consumer.” At the time of PG’s visit, there’s an end cap laden with items that are kosher for Passover, which is “definitely something that this particular neighborhood asks for, and they want it,” she adds, noting that “this store is a better representation of kosher product selection just because of the demographic” of Orthodox Jews in the area.

Seafood Roadshow “About six months ago … we rolled out a traveling seafood roadshow, and the idea was that we were going to have the freshest, best available, largest product that you could get from the sea, and it would change on a weekly basis,” recounts Carlow as we enter the seafood department. “We were going to move these units on a weekly basis from store to store to store, but the program was so successful … that we decided for all of our stores that we were going to put SOMe FOR The ROaD Fairway’s Seafood Roadshow concept, housed in a custom-made cooler, is a centerpiece of the Georgetown store’s seafood department.

in the seafood roadshow as a staple. These products change out on a weekly basis.” During PG’s visit, jumbo lump crab cakes, whole crabs and giant lobster tails — the biggest PG has ever seen — are on display as part of the roadshow in “a giant cooler that we purchased, and then our guys at our Bronx facility, there are people that make these, cabinetry people, they actually make the glass for it because you have to keep seafood on ice,” says Carlow, adding, “That was specifically designed for this store. Some are larger. The ones in [Manhattan] are a little smaller.” That’s not the only thing that sets the Georgetown store’s seafood department apart. “This is the first store where we’ve given seafood more square footage than our butcher,” explains Carlow. “The reason that we did that is because the demographic here, we found that there’s a lot of Caribbean influence in this particular neighborhood, and we wanted to serve the neighborhood well. We felt like what they wanted was more variety, more selection, more fresh seafood. We said, we’re going to lead with seafood in this store, which we’ve never done before, and we’re going to make it a destination department.”

The idea of this store was to take the best of what Fairway had to offer and then also to modernize the brand for a new shop.” —Dorothy Carlow, Chief Merchandising Officer

From Meat to Beer In the adjacent meat department, which, like seafood and deli, features state-of-the-art, crystalclear cases that can be serviced from the front or the back, Carlow says, “We do our own barreling for corned beef. We’re the only store, I think, in the country that does it.” Along with that, she adds, “we’re dry-aging all our own beef, which I’m a huge proponent of, just because we can really control the quality and the environment for it.” Another landmark for Fairway is the “first backfeed dairy in the entire company,” asserts Carlow. “All of our dairy is freshly rotated, fed through a dairy cooler in the back.” The section, she notes, offers a “curated selection of yogurt [where] you can get conventional, specialty or organic all in one location. I think that we probably have one of the largest yogurt sections … of any grocery store.” Further, she points out: “If you look at our milk section, this is the first time we’ve gone good, better, best in milk, where you have your conventional milk, your organic milk, then your grass-fed. We do our own line of private-brand grass-fed, plus you have all your milk alternatives. So if you’re a mom, and you’re shopping for your family, but you also have someone who can’t have lactose, we have it right here for you, which is not the case in most of our stores.” Speaking of liquid refreshment, June 2017 | |


Store of the Month

Oven fReSh fairway’s new York-style — or, more properly, Brooklyn-style — pizza program has proved highly successful at its Georgetown location.

Fairway, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Carlow rather unexpectedly observes that “one of things we learned from our customers … is we didn’t have enough cold beer.” That being the case, for the Georgetown store, Fairway “expanded our selection to a variety of cold beer, plus our Pick Six program,” she says. “We have everything, from your conventional … all the way into the very special, local brands. Here, we’re leading with those because we want people to support your Coney Islands and your Brooklyn beers, because it is this neighborhood we’re in. We also want to say, you know what, if you want just a Bud Light, you can get that, too.” Georgetown’s Pick Six selection, she notes, “ is constantly shifting to what’s selling and what’s not, and what’s new and what’s local.” The mix-andmatch beer program offers six assorted brands for $11.99, or 12 for $20.

Bagels, Pizza and Relevance Then it’s off to the bakery, a true showplace where bagels and other items are made daily in front of cus-

tomers. “We have the best bagel in New York,” asserts Carlow, providing proof of her claim in the form of a hot, crusty sample. “We decided to pull this out of the back room. In all our other stores, it’s in the back room. Bring it to the floor, let us show that we have all of these fine people working so hard to deliver fresh bagels, fresh baguettes, fresh bread on a daily basis.” Shortly after PG’s visit, the Georgetown store’s bakery was certified fully kosher by Mehadrin Kosher and KOF-K Kosher Supervision, making it one of the largest in any supermarket in the New York metropolitan area, according to Fairway. Beyond the bakery is the deli/café. Carlow explains

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| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

that “prior to opening this store, our café and our deli were separate. … One of the things we did for labor savings and customer convenience, both at the same time, is we brought the two departments together.” The offerings include the now ubiquitous chopped salad, which Carlow contends that Fairway invented, along with “a handcrafted sandwich station. You can either get a wrap, just a regular wrap, or you can have a handcrafted sandwich. We put in an authentic New York-style pizza, which is [actually] Brooklyn-style. … This pizza program has been incredibly successful.” Discussing the traffic in the department, she notes that “for the most part, we see a huge move at lunch, and then the dinner crowd comes in and buys our meal for two. … You can just grab it and go, and heat it up at home, and it even has a dessert in it.” Also offered are rotisserie chicken meals, which Carlow describes as “more popular at night,” while “pizza’s definitely a destination during the day.” Once they’ve got what they want to eat, customers can go to the quiet café area in the front of the store to chow down as they enjoy the passing scene on the other side of the windows. The café is a short walk to checkout, where friendly cashiers (Fairway doesn’t

have self-checkout at any of its stores) send shoppers on their way with one last positive interaction. In creating this prototype store in Brooklyn, with possibly more on the way — Carlow notes that the grocer is “currently on the hunt in all five of the [New York City] boroughs for locations” — Fairway is aiming to build on its illustrious history while embracing the future of retailing. “We wanted to take all of the really amazing things that were done by the legacy team at Fairway and combine them with some of our experience with productivity and consumer-facing flow and adjacencies, and that was the whole point, to take the past and say here’s what’s amazing and iconic about this brand, but how do we combine it with what the new consumer wants so that we can stay relevant?” she muses. “That’s what we tried to do. Plus we wanted to say we are New York. I think we still have some opportunity there, but we are New York. We are the local brand to New York.” PG For more about the Georgetown Fairway store in Brooklyn, N.Y., visit

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2017 Retail Deli Review

Counter Intuitive

As prepared foods drive the deli, retailers rely on well-trained staff to create more shopper engagement and profitable results.

By Jim Dudlicek


he deli department is booming, and along with it, sales of prepared foods. That’s according to the results of Progressive Grocer’s most recent exclusive annual survey of grocery retail executives, store managers and deli department leaders, who say that the biggest investment they’re continuing to make in their deli and prepared food operations is in their people. Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents told PG that their overall deli department sales, including prepared food offerings, grew last year. Just under 9 percent reported a decrease in sales for the period, while just over one-fifth said that their deli sales stayed the same. Of those reporting an increase, the average boost in deli sales was 4.7 percent. Food retailers appear to be even more bullish on deli in 2017. A whopping 87 percent of survey respondents said that they expect deli department sales to continue to grow this year, by up to 4 percent. None foresee a decrease, with the remainder projecting no change. A majority of respondents (nearly 58 percent) reported that their deli department profits were up over the prior year. Those reporting a decrease were predominantly operators of five or more stores, while unchanged profits dominated among smaller retailers. Driving this continued success is the convenience being offered by deli operators; the many fresh selections being displayed and, in many cases, actively sampled to shoppers; and a growing demand for high-quality, cost-effective meal solutions sought by time-pressed consumers. Among the factors most important to deli success in the coming year will be “giving the customer what they want, and keeping it

June 2017 | |


2017 Retail Deli Review Deli SaleS Change 2015-16 Increased


Stayed the Same




4.7% net Change

expeCteD Deli Same-Store SaleS Change total 2017 Increase


prepareD FooD program perFormanCe (Compared With a Year Ago)

Stay the Same




3.9% net Change


Stayed the Same

Dollar SaleS 11.1%



Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2017

simple and easy for them to grab and go,” says Tami Ehnis, general manager of Belgrade, Mont.-based grocer Town & Country Foods. Effective ways to deliver solutions range from offering meal deals from the hot case to creating innovative crossmerchandising matchups with other store departments. For example, Ehnis notes “big family salads using our produce, and also we use our meat from our meat department for our meatloaf.” And Jonnie Rybicki, bakery/deli manager at Food World, in Statesboro, Ga., notes, “When a good ad comes along, we often put drinks or fresh fruit and vegetables near my hot food case for cross-merchandising.” Other cross-merchandising success stories noted by survey respondents: fresh-baked brownies to complete meal deals; sandwich-chips-and-drink combos; chips, crackers and bakery bread with cheese (called out as a “growing category” by one respondent); and feta cheese and hummus from the deli with bagged salads and baby carrots in produce.



Unit SaleS


Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2017

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017


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2017 Retail Deli Review is Your Deli area separateD from Your fresh prepareD fooD selling area?

Deli Department profits Increased


Stayed the Same


Year ago


22.2% Yes



7.3% Do Your stores have a DeDiCateD Dining area for shoppers to eat Your fresh prepareD offerings?

Current 26.3%


77.8% no

22.2% Yes


Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2017

have You DeDiCateD more selling spaCe to fresh prepareD fooDs in Your average store in the past Year?

“High-end salami pairs very well with craft beers, and also baked goods such as French bread,” remarked one unidentified survey respondent, while others noted great success with pre-packed salads and grab-and-go items.

Service a Priority Prepared foods are definitely growing in importance for retail deli departments. More than three-quarters of survey respondents reported increases in both dollar sales and unit volume in their prepared food programs. To accommodate this growing demand, half of respondents said that they significantly (27.8 percent) or modestly (22.2 percent) added to the selling space devoted to prepared foods, with the rest maintaining their existing footprints. But despite the rise of the “grocerant” — broadly defined as any restaurant-quality prepared foods at a grocery store, with many pushing the concept into on-site dining — more than three-quarters of respondents said



Yes, significantly


no, Kept the same amount of space


Yes, modestly

Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2017

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Which of the folloWing do you consider to be most influential to securing strong everyday deli department sales?

engaged associates signature items active sampling/events in-store specials premium brands product samples merchandising/experience advertising/promotions increased on-ad specials cross-promotions extended hours of operation incentive-based discounts pos coupons/discounts social media special offers executive chef

What areas of your deli operations Will you concentrate on enhancing during 2017?

staff training rotisserie programs sandWiches hot/cold bars meal deals (bundled meals) daily specials private label sushi lunch catering breakfast soup stations dinner beverage bars premium brands concept food stations

(i.e., asian kitchens, pasta, carving stations)

category management side dishes antipasto bars other


year ago

58.8% 47.1 47.1 41.2 41.2 41.2 17.6 17.6 17.6 17.6 11.8 11.8 11.8 5.9 5.9

19.2% n/a 60.3 26.9 20.5 n/a n/a 9.0 47.4 20.5 23.1 32.1 24.4 6.4 33.3

5.9 5.9 5.9 0.0 5.9

Multiple Responses Accepted Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2017

11.5 7.7 14.1 11.5 n/a


year ago

76.5% 47.1 35.3 29.4 23.5 23.5 23.5 17.6 17.6 5.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

84.8% 41.8 34.2 40.5 32.9 64.6 29.1 27.8 24.1 11.4 10.1 8.9 31.6 15.2 5.1

Multiple Responses Accepted



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2017 Retail Deli Review that their deli and fresh prepared Top Deli Challenges Which OperatiOnal issue dO foods share a common selling area. Overall, labor, training and YOu cOnsider tO be the single The same number tell PG that shrink were named as the top MOst challenging With regard they don’t have a dedicated dining three challenges for service deli tO YOur service deli prOgraM? area for consumers to enjoy prepared operations. foods on site. “Engaged associates” was the rank In any case, service is a top priortop factor most respondents (76.5 ity in grocery prepared foods, with percent) named as most influential labOr 58.8% nearly 60 percent of survey responto securing strong everyday deli training 17.6 dents planning more staff training department sales. Or, as Rybicki this year. Other leading areas of put it, “Hands-on and face-toshrink 11.8 concentration: rotisserie programs, face, sincere conversation with pricing 5.9 sandwiches, hot and cold bars, meal customers, instead of just shuffling equipMent deals, and daily specials. along. Consistency, real customer prOductivitY/Maintenance 5.9 “Consumers are very priceservice, and sincerity when speakconscious. They watch sales and ing to or helping customers.” sOurcing 0.0 competitors’ ads,” Rybicki says. Meanwhile, effective shopper enOther 0.0 “Consumers want more ‘homegagement at Ehnis’ store includes cooked’ hot foods for a good value.” “sampling and just being friendly Which OperatiOnal issue dO YOu Consumers also have a greater and listening to their needs.” desire for free-from foods and Gullo says having the manager cOnsider tO be the single MOst product transparency. “In the past on the floor during demos is the challenging fOr YOur fresh year, we have moved into more most effective way to get customer prepared fOOd prOgraM? no-antibiotic-ever foods and have feedback. “In-store events such as heard more requests for products a gluten-free fair or a ‘backpack rank with cleaner labels,” says Charles through Europe’ day also are great Gullo, director of deli operations ways to have customers and staff labOr 50.0% for Highland Park, Ill.-based connect,” he observes. inventOrY ManageMent 16.7 Sunset Foods, which operates Other key factors reported shrink 11.1 five stores in Chicago’s northwest in our survey: signature items, suburbs. “We are now offering sampling events, in-store specials pricing 5.6 more organic products, such as (more significant for smaller prOduct qualitY levels 5.6 organic grass-fed roast beef, and operators), premium brands, merprOduct Mix 5.6 are also working some organic roast chandising/experience, advertischicken into our deli set. We have ing, and cross-promotions. equipMent been offering more reduced-carb To be sure, the deli offers a prOductivitY/Maintenance 5.6 options, such as our wildly successgreat opportunity for retailers to packaging 0.0 ful rice-less stir-fry with shrimp build an in-store destination for Other 0.0 that utilizes cauliflower rice.” shoppers, because fresh categoGullo further notes that Sunries like meat and prepared foods Source: Progressive Grocer Market set’s deli offerings are becoming haven’t yet reached a tipping point Research, 2017 cleaner through the introduction of for online sales, as noted by Sue ingredients that don’t change the Toy, senior director of shopper and total store solutions for Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson integrity or flavor of the products. “We recently switched to an organic non-GMO rice bran oil for frying, without any Foods, in her presentation at the Category Management Association’s recent annual Category Managechange in quality or flavor,” he says. ment and Supplier Insights Conference, in Las Vegas. For 2017, retailers of different sizes had varying prioriA best-in-class deli destination can be a differentiaties as well. For example, respondents with five or more tor and mitigate online sales leakage, she asserted, so stores said that they planned to invest more in private label prepared foods and sushi programs, while smaller operators retailers must “maximize the convenience and elevate the experience” of their deli departments. reported more interest in lunch programs and soup stations. Deli/prepared foods is the fastest-growing cateAmong operational issues in prepared foods, half of gory in the store (up 6 percent, according to Nielsen respondents named labor as the most challenging, although data cited by Tyson), so grocers can drive quick trips significantly more so for larger operators (63.6 percent) than smaller ones (28.6 percent), while smaller operators saw inby building their delis into destinations for mealtime solutions, Toy said. “We’ve got to make the deli ventory management as a bigger challenge than their larger ‘prepared foods on steroids,’” she quipped, “whatever brethren. Shrink, pricing and product quality rounded out we can do to help our retail partners.” PG the top five challenges noted by respondents.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017



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Fresh Food


Fresh Frenzy Strategic merchandising and dazzling displays position grocers for a profitable summer in produce. By Jennifer Strailey

F The opportunity to get local Bibb lettuce in the middle of winter was really exciting.” —Robbie Sigona, Sigona’s Farmers Market

A heAd FoR BuSineSS Robbie Sigona promotes Pescadero Growers lettuce in the Sigona’s Farmers Market newsletter.


rom family-owned operations to national chains, grocers from coast to coast are heading into summer armed with merchandising strategies and new products designed to spur record sales of fresh produce. Through attention-grabbing displays, informative signage, colorful packaging, tempting recipes and an emphasis on locally grown, grocers and suppliers alike are creating new excitement for summertime meals and snacks featuring fruits and veggies. At Harps Foods, an 87-store supermarket chain based in Springfield, Ark., signage plays a critical role in all produce promotions, including the Produce for Kids campaign. Produce for Kids is an Orlando, Fla.-based cause marketing organization that partners with produce suppliers to raise money for charities that support children and their families. In January, Harps became the first retailer to commit to a year-long Produce for Kids campaign. “The Produce for Kids promotion has been very successful, and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback,” says Mike Roberts, produce merchandiser for Harps. In addition to large in-store signage, the grocer uses wobblers provided by the organization to designate items that give back to kids. Harps also devotes a section in each of its ads to Produce for Kidssponsored items. Last month marked the kickoff of Produce for Kids retail campaigns in more than 2,000 stores across 28 states. The campaign includes the addition of more than 50 seasonal recipes to Locally grown produce promotions, touted through

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

in-store signage, are also tremendously successful at Harps Foods. “We do a big month-long promotion with Arkansas tomatoes and build huge displays,” Roberts says. “It really kind of sells itself.” From May through the end of August, Harps offers 20 percent off locally grown produce on Saturdays. “We started the promotion to combat the farmers’ markets, and we’ve had a great response, he says. Where possible, Harps builds secondary Locally Grown Saturday displays under tents on “the front porch” of its stores. Additionally, Harps runs one or two completely locally grown ads each summer.

“Locally grown is a huge part of our sales in the summer,” adds Roberts. “It’s a big draw to many customers, especially the younger Millennial generation.”

Local Success Story Locally grown produce is also essential to the bottom line at Sigona’s Farmers Market, so much so that the two-store, family-owned grocer in Northern California recently created a marketing team to better promote locally grown produce and other products throughout its stores. “We were buying from local farms back in the ’70s. It’s something we’ve always done, but now we realize we need to do a better job of marketing it,” says Store Director and Produce Buyer Robbie Sigona, whose father and uncle founded the store in 1975. “It’s the best way to do business, and it’s extremely important to our customers who come here specifically to buy local produce in the spring, summer and fall.” The marketing team eliminated the grocer’s paper circular in favor of an enewsletter that’s sent to 10,000 customers weekly. Each week the email promotes a different giveaway to customers who spend $30 or more in the store. A recent giveaway of local Pescadero Growers lettuce elicited a phenomenal response. “We went through 90 cases in seven days,” recalls Sigona, who typically sees a 20 percent sales lift on products that were giveaway items. Pescadero Growers is the first certified grower for the Seattle-based hydroponic technology company Suncrest USA Inc. In response to the growing demand for local produce, Suncrest Founder and CEO Jim Day recently launched Suncrest in parallel with the Pescadero Growers brand. “The opportunity to get local Bibb lettuce in the middle of winter was really exciting,” Sigona says of the Pescadero Growers brand lettuce. “The objective is to create a local brand in every single market,” notes Day. Suncrest offers a turnkey program that licenses its hydroponic technology to growers, who then become the exclusive growers in their respective regions. Recently, Suncrest developed a second dual brand, Whidbey Growers, with its certified grower in the Seattle market. “We hope to be in two more major markets with new brands in the next one to two years,” adds Day.

Recipe for Success According to market researchers at Chicago-based Mintel, 45 percent of Americans over the age of 18 are now considered “Cooking Enthusiasts,” or adults who cook from scratch multiple times a week. With nearly half of the adult population ripe for the recipe pitching, industry organizations, suppliers and grocers are embarking on innovative campaigns

ARE YOU IN? A thrilling red potato culinary experience that wins hearts by daring to go above and beyond for plates, communities and the world. Work with the Red Potato Experts on your REDVENTURE. Contact Leah Halverson at 701-772-2620,

June 2017 | |


Fresh Food

Locally grown is a huge part of our sales in the summer.” —Mike Roberts, Harps Foods



designed to entice Americans to consume more produce in new and exciting ways. The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), which funds national promotions to drive consumer demand, launched “The Blueberry Life” summer campaign last month. The campaign, which runs through mid-September, focuses on recipes that deliver simplicity, convenience and nutrition. Recipes can provide a theme for secondary displays and cross-merchandising. “In recent years, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Ahold, Wegmans, Safeway and a number of other, smaller retailers have added rolling refrigerated cases as secondary displays for berries, which has increased space allocation,” observes Mark Villata, executive director of Folsom, Calif.-based USHBC. “The trend among those looking to capture additional sales has been toward adding refrigerated displays, both inside the produce department and in other sections of the store, to take advantage of crossmerchandising opportunities.” It’s also important to encourage trial of blueber-

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

ries with in-store demos, adds Villata. “According to a recent report, 81 percent of shoppers have purchased an item on impulse after experiencing a product demo,” he adds. The National Mango Board (NMB), in Orlando, Fla., is also hoping to romance consumers with recipes. It recently teamed with new spokeswoman Ayesha Curry, star of the Food Network’s “Ayesha’s Home Kitchen” and author of The New York Times bestselling cookbook “The Seasoned Life.” Grocers are invited to use Curry’s recipes through their websites and social channels. “Retailers can also create more engagement by calling out the recipe at the store and grouping ingredients together,” urges NMB spokeswoman Angela Serna. Recipes and cross-merchandising are also top of mind with the table grape suppliers at Columbine Vineyards, in Delano, Calif. “Columbine Vineyards is always willing to work with retailers to optimize their grape display in the produce department through additional displays and point-of-purchase materials like display bins and recipe cards,” says Lauren McNinch, sales support lead. Offering attractive recipe cards for dishes like apple pie with CoVi grapes, the supplier works with

retailers to cross-merchandise its product with other produce items featured on the cards.

Packaged Trends As convenience remains king in produce, suppliers continue to innovate and grocers seek fresh ways to promote meal-ready and on-the-go packaged fruits and veggies. “One of the biggest trends in packaged produce is the idea of convenient, portable fresh fruit and vegetables as a snack option,” asserts Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications for the Dole Food Co., in Westlake Village, Calif. “According to research, fresh fruit remains America’s top snack choice during the day, and consumers are looking for ways to enjoy fresh fruit on the go.” To meet the growing demand for convenient fresh-produce snacks, Dole launched Go Berries!, a proprietary snack pack featuring three snap-off clamshells, each containing 4 ounces of fresh Dole Strawberries. The clamshells are ventilated for freshness and easy rinsing. This summer, Dole is appealing to kids and their families through its collaboration with Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. The multiyear

collaboration, which began May 25, features a FuelUp with Dole summer campaign tie-in with Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3,” in theaters June 16. The four-month program will feature on-product and in-store messaging, character-inspired recipes, digital integrations, events, and promotions. “Beyond marketing campaigns and in-store events, a lot of summer produce sales can be driven by instore merchandising, and often outside of the produce section,” notes Goldfield. “We continually encourage our retailers to place secondary displays near checkout, offering items like single-serve bananas.” “Today’s consumers are looking for convenient, innovative packaging that satisfies their snacking needs and fits into their busy lifestyles,” agrees Dionysios Christou, VP of marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc., in Coral Gables, Fla. In response to this recent trend, Del Monte Fresh Produce has developed nonspill containers, resealable bags and packaging that fits in cars’ cup holders. The company also recently developed new packaging for its Del Monte Fresh Cut Grab-N-Go and Smoothie Kit lines. The products come in tamperevident packaging with large, clear nutritional panels that show off the contents inside. Further, Del Monte

June 2017 | |


Fresh Food

It’s no secret that colors evoke emotions and influence purchasing decisions.” —Jacob Shafer, Mann Packing Co.



has introduced new packaging for its Bon Bon grape tomatoes, which now come in a grab-andgo 5.5-ounce cup and a patented resealable snacking bag. “We have seen tremendous growth for our pre-cut, conveniently packed fruit and vegetable products,” observes Christou. “Portability and convenience continue to be important attributes for consumers when it comes to packaging,” agrees Krista Jones, director of brand marketing and product innovation for Cashmere, Wash.-based Crunch Pak. “Shoppers want to see fresh produce clearly and understand how to use the contents.” With this in mind, Crunch Pak recently launched Apple Rings, slices of round circles of fresh apples with the cores removed. Available in three varieties, the apples come in innovative breathable packaging. Crunch Pak also recently introduced pre-sliced, portioned apple snacks in 10-ounce breathable standup film bags with characters from “Star Wars” and “Dory.” Additional multipack bags will be available for the back-to-school season.

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

PSF Prog Groc - SUSTAINABLE 1/2 pg horizontal Ad.indd 1

Colorful Creations “It’s no secret that colors evoke emotions and influence purchasing decisions,” says Jacob Shafer, senior marketing and communications specialist for Mann Packing Co., in Salinas, Calif. “Color has always been one of the most important choices when designing packaging, and it seems that, especially in summer, bright colors and vibrant graphics are showing up on store shelves.” In keeping with that observation, Mann’s will introduce new Summer Fun seasonal graphics for iits 16.5-ounce and 40-ounce vegetable trays. Mann’s uses color to differentiate variations within its product families. “A consumer may not remember the name of their favorite flavor,” Shafer says, “but they are usually able to recall the color of the packaging.” PG For more about summer produce, visit

3/13/17 3:32 PM



The Right

Atmosphere Efficient HVAC systems make for a comfortable shopping experience. By Bob Ingram

H advancEd traInInG Emerson’s advanced rooftop-Unit controls (arc) help save energy and reduce maintenance.


VAC energy usage plays a large role in supermarket budgets, and today’s systems are significantly reducing that usage while maintaining an inviting store environment. “We look for a system that excels at dehumidification, or reducing the amount of humidity in the store,” says Karen O’Shea, of Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp. “Our refrigeration cases are designed to operate at very specific temperatures and relative-humidity environments, so it’s important for us to control humidity in stores.” The primary system in Wakefern’s ShopRite stores employs a regenerative drying technology that’s “very efficient when it comes to heating and cooling the store,” O’Shea notes. “The secondary systems we choose are high-efficiency units specifically designed for humidity control. ShopRite works

| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

hard to apply sustainable solutions in an effort to shrink our environmental footprint.” ShopRite stores usually upgrade their HVAC systems at the end of a typical 15-year life cycle, according to O’Shea. Including variable-speed fan control as a standard would help improve HVAC efficiency, O’Shea asserts. “Tuning the speed of the fan while heating or cooling, and slowing the fan when not heating or cooling, can significantly reduce energy consumption when combined with other technologies to ensure proper ventilations,” she says. Save More Food Markets Inc., in Minocqua, Wis., looks for a return on investment in an HVAC system to be as short as possible for “a noticeable savings on the monthly energy cost,” says President Jim Gauden. Save More has been updating its HVAC by “adding newer units to better control the

front of the store,” he observes. “This conditions the air getting into the store better, to keep the older unit on the back half from running hard.” With the older units next on the upgrade list, Gauden notes that Save More evaluates its system twice yearly and has regularly scheduled maintenance to uncover potential problems before they happen. “This also helps us better determine the life of existing units,” he says, “but overall upgrades usually happen when absolutely needed or the old unit is simply costing too much to operate.” Better air circulation and more efficient fans would improve today’s systems, Gauden suggests.

Working Together According to Danny Miller, president of Transformative Wave at Kennesaw, Ga.-based Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions, there are new HVAC controls that allow grocers to retrofit an existing system quickly, easily and cost-effectively. “These new advanced rooftop-unit controls help save energy, reduce maintenance costs, ensure indoor air quality and maintain proper buildingpressure control, all without compromising customer comfort,” he says. Miller adds that Emerson’s recent investment in a minority interest in Transformative Wave brings to customers the latest ARC technology in the Catalyst product line, a packaged system with unique algorithms that’s a HVAC energy-efficiency upgrade. “Refrigeration often takes priority over HVAC for many supermarket operators,” he notes. “Replacement is often determined based on the age of the assets or increased repair expenses.” This belief is being challenged, according to Miller, by the advanced fault detection and diagnostic capabilities of Catalyst solutions. This knowledge helps prevention of critical breakdowns and lets systems run less, allowing supermarkets to extend the life of current HVAC systems and saving thousands of dollars in capital costs. The Catalyst Lite product, he continues, is a lowcost path to HVAC energy savings and an intelligent variable-frequency drive (VFD) that includes a supply air sensor that goes much further than a typical VFD. “Emerson has recently introduced the ProAct Alerts Mobile App that works with the company’s ProAct Services,” Miller adds, “assisting retail facility managers, store managers and contractors in quickly and effectively responding to critical HVAC, refrigeration and building alerts.” LED lighting upgrades and enclosed refrigeration cases are changing HVAC needs to require variable-speed compressor control and variablespeed fans, he says. At Source Refrigeration and HVAC, in Anaheim, Calif., VP and Chief Engineer Bryan

Beitler observes, “Many retailers moved away from central air handlers to package equipment years ago, and it seems they are now fine-tuning and refining this process.” Still, he points out that HVAC infrastructure doesn’t get updated with the same frequency as refrigerated cases, and that, typically, upgrades occur when there’s a remodel or there’s an end of life of HVAC equipment. For HVAC systems, upgrades occur between 10 and 20 years, while refrigeration remodels may occur in the seven-to-10-year range, Beitler notes. He says that, as a contractor, Source’s “products” would include items such as controls upgrades and commissioning of the HVAC system, and “we also offer HVAC-specific preventative-maintenance programs that are focused on ensuring the HVAC system is fully functional and efficient.” Beitler adds that side benefits might be the uncovering of the need for upgrading outdated or inefficient systems, or correcting system design flaws. “The cost of utilities continues to be a challenge for the HVAC designer and the retailer,” Beitler admits, “spurring additional innovation in developing a more energy-efficient total environment. The importance of the HVAC designer, working hand in hand with the refrigeration designer and building architect to achieve a unified design, cannot be underscored enough.”

New Day Dawning With supermarkets using four to five times more energy per square foot than any other type of commercial building, solar energy is starting to play a major role in offsetting grocery store energy loads, says Robert W. Martin, director of field operations at Siemens Building Technologies Division, in Buffalo Grove, Ill. “Federal tax incentives and local utility rebates are making it very attractive for grocery chains to purchase solar to help offset the large energy demand loads that grocery stores have today,” he notes. Siemens works with HVAC manufacturers in controlling and monitoring their installed items in grocery stores. Currently, the company has energy management systems (EMS) in more than 1,600 grocery stores. Refrigeration, which accounts for 53 percent to 65 percent of a store’s energy load, is the priority, Martin stresses, and issues surrounding HVAC equipment, which accounts for 9 percent to 20 percent, are handled in a reactive manner. “Properly maintained rooftop units tend to last 15 to 17 years, which should allow ample time for the facility team to have a plan for replacements and upgrades,” he says. Several refrigeration control companies are teaming with EMS companies to merge the best cloudbased solutions with analytics and years of experience in managing energy, Martin adds, identifying it as a trend that will eventually migrate to HVAC. PG

The importance of the HVAC designer, working hand in hand with the refrigeration designer and building architect to achieve a unified design, cannot be underscored enough.” —Bryan Beitler, Source Refrigeration and HVAC

June 2017 | |


Food, Beverage & Nonfood Products

You Don’t Know Jack Meat alternatives are hotter than ever, so Upton’s Naturals has added two more flavors to its lineup of jackfruit-based varieties: Sweet & Smoky and Sriracha. Sweet & Smoky features a sweet flavor combined with a kick of liquid smoke, working as an alternative filling for pulled-pork sandwiches, or to top tacos and nachos. Upton’s Sriracha Jackfruit, made with chili peppers, garlic, sea salt, vinegar and tamarind, can be battered and fried up as vegan “wings,” or tossed into a wok with stir-fry vegetable and rice dishes. Both are 100 percent vegan and a good source of fiber, while also free from cholesterol, gluten, oil, GMOs and artificial flavors. The SRP for either is $4.99 per 10.6-ounce box.

Easy Bakes Consumers still enjoy a comforting, convenient indulgence from time to time, and Pinnacle Foods is answering this desire with Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1, a broad line of indulgent treats. The pre-measured mixes are combined with water or any other liquid, along with any preferred mix-ins, in a coffee mug and baked for about a minute in the microwave. All varieties are made with real, simple ingredients and contain no added flavors or artificial preservatives. Breakfast varieties are made with 18 grams of whole grains. The line consists of 18 flavors under four types – from Decadent options such as Chocolate Lover’s Cake to Sunrise options such as Blueberry Muffin. The SRP is $2.99 per four-packet box.

It’s in the Bag Consumers love cold-brew coffee more than ever, but aren’t as enamored of paying coffeehouse prices for their fix. Addressing this, Limitless Coffee & Tea has introduced Brew-It-Yourself Cold Brew Coffee Buzz Bags, which take the mess and guess out of home or travel cold brew, allowing people to make a week’s worth of cold-brew coffee in their fridges. The bags contain ground beans sourced directly from farms with organic farming practices in Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Bali. The wet-washed, low-toxin beans are air-roasted to eliminate all remaining contaminants, providing the cleanest coffee possible. Users immerse the bag in a pitcher containing 16 ounces of cold water, and then place it in the refrigerator for eight hours. Afterward, they remove the bag, squeeze out the excess liquid and discard it. The remaining cold-brew concentrate can be poured over equal parts water or milk and enjoyed. Each bag has an SRP of $4.99.

Mighty Mac & Cheese Macaroni and cheese has long been a staple among comfort foods, but it isn’t exactly known for its ability to keep fans full for too long. Jumping on the high-protein trend, Modern Table Meals now offers a more satiating line of mac and cheese: Classic Cheddar Mac and Cheese, comprising elbows and cheddar cheese sauce, with 16 grams of protein; Three Cheese Mac and Cheese, comprising penne and three-cheese sauce, with 17 grams of protein; and Jalapeño Cheddar Mac and Cheese, comprising elbows and jalapeño cheddar cheese sauce, with 16 grams of protein. The products are GMO-, gluten-, soy- and nut-free; serve two people each; and have an SRP range of $2.49-$2.99.


| Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | June 2017

Something to Sneeze At With Americans busier than ever, Kimberly-Clark is now offering two Kleenex brand products designed to extend care for multitasking consumers. Kleenex Ultra Soft Go-Anywhere tissues are packed in a slim format, available in four designs, with a snap strap and a sealable lid that dispenses easily. The item also has protected packaging that’s more mobile, accessible and convenient. Kleenex Multicare offers a different take on the company’s flagship product: 75 percent larger and 50 percent stronger than Kleenex Trusted Care. The products’ SRPs are $2.19 per single pack and $7.29 per four-pack bundle.

Better Bouillon Amateur chefs and foodies have long kept bouillon on hand for everything from gravies to soups and stews, but many now are concerned about the amount of sodium and preservatives in today’s offerings. Enter Bou, a “better-for-you bouillon cube” that comes in three flavors: Beef, Chicken and Vegetable. It has no added preservatives or MSG, contains 30 percent less salt than leading brands, and is free from GMOs. The SRP is $2.99 per 2.53-ounce jar.

Cultured Chips Consumers are increasingly looking for better ways to work probiotics into their diets. Responding to this, Farmhouse Culture has introduced Kraut Krisps, a twist on tortilla chips that offers the benefit of fiber and nutrient-rich cabbage, plus a serving of probiotics. Sauerkraut and masa serve as the base for the chips. After cooking, the light, crispy snack is seasoned with natural herbs and other flavorings, along with a plant-based probiotic strain that’s been shown to support digestive and immune health. Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, the snack line is available in five flavors – Dill Pickle, Sea Salt, Smoked Jalapeño, White Cheddar and Zesty Garden Veggie – with an SRP of $3.79 per 5-ounce pouch.

Snack on a Stick Sometimes on-the-go snacks are a bit boring and could benefit from a touch of exotic flair. Expresco Foods’ latest creations, ProSticks, are street-food-inspired skewers of chicken that are handmade and grilled to perfection. Packed with 23 grams of protein, the refrigerated skewers come in three flavors: Mediterranean, Sweet Sriracha and Chipotle, and are sold in portable 3.5-ounce packets. Each packet has an SRP of $2.99. June 2017 | |


Index Advantage Solutions




Airius 570 Lake Cook Rd, Suite 310, Deerfield, IL 60015 Phone: 224 632-8200 Fax: 224 632-8266 United StateS MarketS Convenience • Grocery/Drug/Mass Store Brands • Specialty Gourmet Technology • Hospitality • Apparel

Canadian MarketS • Convenience • Pharmacy • Foodservice

advertiSing SaleS & BUSineSS Staff Peter Hoyt President & CEO 773-992-4456 Richard Rivera Chief Operating Officer 973-264-4380 Jeff Greisch Chief Brand Officer 224-337-4029 Ned Bardic Chief Customer Officer/President of Strategic Platforms 224-632-8224 Katie Brennan Senior Vice President/Brand Director 201-855-7609 • Cell: 917-859-3619

88, 24-25

Albertson’s LLC


Anchor Packaging




Beiersdorf USA


Biro Manufacturing


Black Gold Farms


Blount Fine Foods

3, Back Cover

28-29 117

Mars Chocolate NA/ Wrigley


MasonWays Indestructible Plastics









Mondelez National

Inside Front Cover


New Hope Network


C&S Wholesale Grocers California Olive Committee


Campbell Soup Company


Celsius, Inc.




Clif Bar & Company


Coca Cola NA







Peri & Sons Farms Pernod Ricard

148 Inside Back Cover

Pfizer Consumer Health


Creekstone Farms


Pompeian Olive Oil

Creekstone Farms


Post Consumer Brands






Pro Food Systems - Champs Chicken

CSM Bakery Products


Procter & Gamble Distributing Company 50

Daymon Worldwide Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc. Diva International Inc Domino Foods E&J Gallo

148 75 109 14-15 7

Food Lion, LLC


Forte Products


| Progressive grocer | June 2017

Kroger Maple Leaf Farms

Butterball, LLC

Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC Fareway Ferrero USA, Inc.

General Mills Inc.

139 21 122 81


Godshalls Quality Meats Inc.


Gordon Food Service


Goya Foods, Inc.


Heineken USA Inc.






Angela Flatland (AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MI, MO, NE, Midwest, Marketing Manager ND, OK, SD, TN, WI) 224-229-0547 Cell: 608-320-4421

Jackie Batson Advertising Manager 224-632-8183

Koelnmesse GMBH


Emmi Roth USA

Mike Shaw Northeast, Marketing Manager 201-855-7631 • Cell 201-281-9100


Bragg Live Foods

Larry Cornick Southeast Account Executive 224-632-8248

Rick Neigher Western Regional Sales Manager (CA, OR, WA) 818-597-9029

Kimberly-Clark Co.


Sato of America


Schwan Food Company


Siggi’s Dairy

Cover Tip

Simple Mills


Smart & Final Stores LLC


Smithfield Fresh




Stemilt Growers, Inc. Supervalu Inc. TH Foods Transcontinental Robbie Truly Good Foods Tyson - IBP Trusted Excellence Tyson Foods

146 65 114-115 96 135 87 10-11 55


Unilever North America



USA Bouquet Company


John Wm Macy’s Cheesesticks Inc. Kelloggs Company


Tyson TFM Brand Portfolio

Inline Plastics Corp JTM Foods



Volk Enterprises

90 101

Progressive Grocer (ISSN 0033-0787, USPS 920-600) is published monthly by EnsembleIQ, 570 Lake Cook Rd. Deerfield IL 60015. Single copy price $10, except selected special issues. Subscription: $135 a year; Canada $164 (Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40031729. Foreign $270 (call for air mail rates). Periodicals postage paid at Deerfield, IL 60015 and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to Progressive Grocer, P.O. Box 1842 Lowell, MA 01853. Copyright ©2017 EnsembleIQ All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce in whole or in part. All letters to the editors of this magazine will be treated as having been submitted for publication. The magazine reserves the right to edit and abridge them. The publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.


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