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November 2016

West Retailer of the Year


The Shelby Report proudly honors Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions—three highly regarded grocery banners in Southern California that now operate as one—as its Retailer of the Year in the West for 2016. Weaving the brands together since the Albertsons/Safeway merger in January 2015 has been a huge undertaking, with company leadership striving to make sure that the 350-plus stores under the Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions banners retain their original flavor while also incorporating best practices from the other banners. Overseeing this process of making the banners better together is Lori Raya, president of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions. Her prowess in this project as well as her leadership abilities and the way she cares for her team members, customers, communities and her family are among the reasons she has been named the Woman Executive of the Year for the West this year. Turn to page 24 to learn about Raya’s rise to the top, followed by an examination of the creation of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions and what its community involvement means to several Southern California organizations.

2016 Woman Executive of the Year






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The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016


2016 West Woman Executive of the Year Raya Is Full Speed Ahead in Business and in Life Lori Raya was named president of the Southern California Division of Albertsons—now known as Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions—in January 2015. She had been named president of Vons, previously owned by Safeway, in 2012. A fast track for someone who started out in 1987 working part-time at a Safeway store in Aurora, Colorado, to satisfy her mom’s request that she find a summer job. She swiftly moved into management, first as head clerk, then as first assistant (assistant store director) and then store director, followed by assignments in the corporate office, district manager for Vons, VP of retail operations for Safeway’s Northern California Division, group VP of deli/foodservice and bakery, then SVP of dairy, frozen and deli before moving to the nonperishable team as SVP of beverages, snacks, meals and ingredients. Raya is both competitive and collaborative; fun but fiercely dedicated to winning at whatever she does. She cares about her team members, customers of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, the neighborhoods where the stores operate, and her family and friends, numerous people have told us. Raya is the consummate leader, and that’s why she is The Shelby Report of the West’s Woman Executive of the Year, although those same people also agree that she would be Executive of the Year, regardless of gender. Following are excerpts of an interview with Raya conducted by Bob Reeves, VP-West for The Shelby Report. When you think about your childhood, what do you think has helped you be so successful in the grocery industry? Raya: It’s a good question. My childhood was very active. We had a very active family, a family that was very engaged in outdoor sports. At 5 years old, I was learning how to water ski.

of time with my brother as my mom took on (multiple jobs). One of the things not a lot of people know is that from the time I was 13 until I went to college, our mom worked three jobs to make sure that we could participate and attend a very good high school in Colorado, Smoky Hill High School. They had a great athletic program, and she knew for my brother and myself, the way to go to college was going to be through athletics, and she wanted to make sure that was possible. Amazing, the sacrifices our parents make for us. Amazing sacrifices. So grateful for what she did for me, and now I do everything I can to give back to her. My father recently passed away, but I would say the same thing—that he gave a lot of his time to take me to softball practices, basketball practices; was at the game cheering me on all the time. But the sacrifices my mother made put a lot of pressure on my brother, quite frankly. He was a great pitcher, an All State pitcher, and an All State tight end himself at this high school. But he ended up having to take his little sister a lot of

A young Lori with her parents, getting ready to water-ski. We lived in Colorado, but I think I’ve snow skiied once or twice in my life and wasn’t very good at it. I rode motorcycles at a very young age; rode motocross with my brother. So, I think, just based on my family’s activities and being outdoors really led me to be active and competing and wanting to be very good. I have a brother and a sister; I’m the youngest. My sister Carrie is the oldest; my brother Dean; and then myself. My sister wasn’t very athletic, but she was really the toughest one of all three. If my brother got in trouble, she was always there to defend him, and if I got in trouble, he was there to defend me. But Carrie was “Mom” in school and protected both of us. My parents were divorced when I was 13, so I spent a lot

Lori’s brother, Dean Smith.

Competing Started Early for Raya Lori Raya is the youngest of three children in her family. Sister Carrie de Herrera is the oldest; brother Dean Smith is in the middle. Smith, who is in the electronic components business in Colorado, says that he and Lori were close growing up in Aurora, Colorado. They were both athletes, and because their mom worked a lot after their parents divorced when the kids were teenagers, Dean often had to drive Lori to school and practices. “She was in sports and I was in sports as well, and she was always with

me,” Dean says. “So she was always having to compete and keep up with boys, so to speak. It didn’t bother her at all; she’s a fierce competitor and loves to win and loves to play.” He adds that she balances her high career goals with her family life. “Obviously, she’s been incredibly driven, but she’s a supportive person for her family and friends,” he says. “When she was working her way up the ladder, I think she sacrificed a lot more than most of us did because of the scheduling and the commitment it takes to get to where she is. You just

don’t have a lot of extra free time to hang out and do some of the things people do...She’s done incredibly well for herself, but she put in the work and the sacrifice needed to get there.” He adds, “We’re involved in each other’s lives to a pretty large degree. Even though we have the separation of miles, it didn’t really slow us down.” Dean’s 26-year-old daughter is an event planner who moved to Southern California and hangs out with Aunt Lori when she can. He also has a 15-year-old son.

Lori Raya places, like my practices. I spent a lot of my weekend and evening time with my brother and his buddies, which meant playing tackle football, baseball and basketball with him. He said, “if you’re going to play, you’re going to play the way we play; we’re not going to baby you. You have to step up and be tough.” I think it taught me, one, about teamwork, and then a lot about family. My brother was loyal and helpful to me, but it taught me to compete and be a part of a team. I think you can do anything you want, no matter whether you’re male or female. You can be successful in what you want. Do you use sports clichés when you’re speaking to your team members? I do… In college, I was studying to teach high school biology (I don’t have my degree, I’m a few credits short of that). I wanted to be a biology teacher both to educate and so that in my afternoon time I could coach. I did a lot of coaching while I was in college at a Catholic high school in Colorado. For me, the business I’m in now is very similar. I have a lot of employees that maybe are a new hire or someone who is a little further along in their career and wants to do more, and I think it’s about coaching, training, teaching and educating. I teach my team about what works for me. When I was in high school, I would practice a skill in basketball until I was really good at it. If it meant shooting 100 free throws until I could make 85 of those or whatever my goal was, I would stay and do that. But I wanted to make sure I learned something every day and I taught something to someone every day, whether I was a coach or a participant myself. And I find myself now, as a business leader, that there isn’t a book that says “here’s everything you do when you’re a president of a very large division and you have a lot of employees that work for you.” So I still strive every day…I won’t leave, whether I’m in a store or in the office, wherever I’m at, unless I learn something every day and I teach something to someone every day that makes them better. And I live by that to this day. Tell me about your sports background. I started very young. I was actually a sprinter when I was 9 to 12 years old. I was a quartermiler, and I competed nationally as a 14- to 15-year old in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I was part of a YMCA program in Aurora, Colorado, and I took sixth in the nation as a 14-15-year-old girl in the quarter-mile. In Colorado, and I’ll date Lori was the first girl in myself a bit here, organized Aurora County to play boys Please see page 28 baseball.


The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016

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2016 West Woman Executive of the Year Rees a Big Reason Raya Stayed in the Business Lori Raya was working part-time in the floral department at a Safeway store in Aurora, Colorado, as a 21-year-old college student. It was 1992. Her store manager was Carolyn Rees, who had just become a store director for the first time. Raya had gone out and gotten a job at the request of her mother, who was single and working three jobs to take care of Raya and her two siblings. The Carolyn Rees store was across the street from the house the family was living in at the time. Raya worked parttime, only on weekdays, so she would be free to help coach sports at a local high school and to continue to participate in sports herself. She thought she’d become a high school biology teacher so she could continue to coach. Rees, a 38-year Safeway veteran who now is a Denver district manager, quickly noticed that Raya was “very energetic, very ambitious, very young, and she really didn’t have her direction set yet.” So Rees began to ask her what she wanted to do when she “grew up.” Raya didn’t have a solid answer, but she was open to learning about the business. She would go to other departments in the store and offer her help because there wasn’t a lot of floral business during the morning hours. Raya learned how to offload milk and crisp lettuce—grunt work that she didn’t mind doing because she was learning. Rees said, “She’d watch the things I’d do and she’d ask me questions. I’d build the displays and she’d watch and monitor and ask, ‘can I help you a little bit?’ Then we’d talk about moving up in the company because I’m very much into pushing females and helping them get to where they want to go. Because back then in our company there weren’t that many female store directors, and in our division, there wasn’t even a female district manager yet.” Eventually, according to Raya, there came a moment of reckoning, when Rees called her into her office to tell her that her hours were not conducive to selling flowers when most customers were in the store—evenings and weekends. Raya offered to look for another job. Instead, Rees asked if she would like to try her hand at management.

That job was head clerk, sometimes called the “third person,” as in the third person in line to run the store—the first rung on the management ladder that Raya would quickly ascend. She accepted the job and began working from 3 p.m. to midnight, as the sports she was coaching had finished up. Rees told her: “Now you’re full time, you’re a head clerk, you’re management, so now I expect you to go out there and do the job.” Raya observed and asked questions and, like anyone, made a few mistakes, one of which Rees still remembers. Raya built a display one day when Rees was out of the store. It was a round display of freezer pops, and “it looked great,” Rees said. The only problem was that she had cut the tops off all the freezer pop boxes. “She didn’t realize the product was sold 24 to a box and you couldn’t sell them separately. I laughed with her on that one; how are you going to sell all those? A penny apiece or what? That was her first faux pas, and it was pretty funny,” Rees says. Rees continued to train Raya until Rees moved on to another store. By that time, Raya had become a first assistant, the position directly under the store director. Eventually, they worked together at another location where Rees was director. It was at this store that the women had a tense Easter eve one year. The store had been very busy that Saturday as shoppers prepared for their Easter celebrations the next day. Rees headed home about 7 p.m. and told Raya to get the store in shape for the next day, a busy Easter Sunday, and jokingly told her, “don’t burn down the place.” Rees drove the 20 miles home and when she arrived, her answering machine was beeping incessantly. It was Raya, telling her she needed to get back to the store because “it’s on fire.” “I thought, ‘this has got to be a joke.’ But I couldn’t get hold of her, and then I started worrying,” Rees said. “I got back in my car and drove 20 miles. It’s like 8 o’clock. I’m driving down the street the store is located on and there are fire trucks and the street was closed. I ran in there. The roof had caught on fire from a balloon that the neighboring store had put on our side of the rooftop. The kerosene or something dripped in there and caught the roof on fire, so it burned down the deli and bakery and we had to shut down for the night. It was crazy

to think I had made that statement and then it catches on fire.” Rees had made such a foretelling statement once before with Raya. “When Lori and I first started working together, before I promoted her, she was…heavy into softball, so she needed a weekend off. It was the weekend before Mother’s Day, and in the floral department, Mother’s Day is your busiest weekend. She just had to have this weekend off, and I said, ‘I really don’t think you should have it off because you have to get all the plants out there for Mother’s Day. It’s going to be busy.’ She said, ‘I really need to go play softball; I’m in a tournament.’ I said, ‘OK, well, you’d better not come back on crutches.’ Sure as heck, she comes back on Monday and she’s on crutches. I said,is this a joke? She said, ‘no, I fractured my ankle.’ I made her sit outside in the heat of the day selling flowers on Mother’s Day weekend.”

Lori later played on the Safeway corporate softball team. Raya, she added, “was a hoot to work with, and really, she loved learning, and that was probably the thing I liked most. She asked a lot of questions, she wasn’t afraid to work if you worked alongside her and showed her what you wanted done. Once she started up the ladder, she took off.” She became a store director in Colorado Springs and then went to Safeway corporate in Pleasanton, California. After that, she held a number of operational jobs in various company divisions. Raya and Rees both, in fact, were promoted to district managers in 2000. Raya became Southern California Division president in January 2015 after the merger that brought together Albertsons with Safeway’s Vons and Pavilions banners. “It makes me very proud to know that she found a direction she liked and took to and really has gone up the ladder,” Rees said. “She’s now my inspiration, where I think I was her inspiration at one time. She’s also become an inspiration out there, I think, to other females in the business, knowing that you can move up. And you can start as a part-time clerk. You’re going to have obstacles that you have to go over once in a while and conquer, but it’s all well worth it in the end. “At the end of the day, it’s not always about the money,” said Rees, who still keeps in touch with Raya. “It’s about the accomplishments— what you’ve done for the day, who you’ve helped out there, whether it’s a customer or an employee.” Rees told Raya back when she got into the management ranks that the store director job was pretty hard but that it could be done if you “create a good team and surround yourself with good people.” Raya listened to her mentor’s advice. “People are the most important asset we have.”


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The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016


2016 West Woman Executive of the Year From page 24

softball was not in existence when I was 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, so I played in the same league as my brother. I was a pitcher on a boys baseball team. I always had a passion to play baseball or softball. My freshman year of high school, I ran track and I played on the softball team as centerfielder. And I played volleyball and basketball. Then I was fortunate enough through great coaching at my high school to receive a basketball scholarship to Mesa State College in Grand Junction where I played for four years. You can certainly see how competing in a “man’s world” is sort of second nature to you. You’ve been doing it since you were a kid. I had no idea your athleticism went as deep as it did. I knew you played baseball and basketball, but that’s pretty extraordinary. I also rode motocross, which was an absolute blast. I have a few wounds from that… I like to compete, I like to learn, I like to excel and I like to win. When and how did you realize that your first job could actually become a career? Funny story. I never anticipated the grocery industry would be my career. I think, much like others, it was a path to finishing college. I started a little bit older than some in the business, at 21. I went to college, was having a great time in college, and came home one summer and my mom said it would help if you got a job. So, at 21, I walked across the street—there was a Safeway. I applied for a job, and I was hired as a courtesy clerk. I spent about four days in that role, which was good, because I didn’t want to collect carts in the winter in Denver. Then I went into the floral department, which was really quite funny for my family because my grandfather had greenhouses in his backyard and he had a green thumb. He grew dahlias and cucumbers and tomatoes…I didn’t have that skill, nor was I a designer, nor did I really have that flair. So my family thought it was quite funny that I was a floral manager. I did that role because I started getting more hours and making more money and my own benefits. So I learned how to design flowers and arrange flowers. I was coaching at the same time, so I was working a 6 to 3 shift so I would have time to get to my high school to coach the events. I was working Monday to Friday in the grocery

Our job is, one, to take care of our employees and help them work safely and to pursue whatever career aspirations they have, to help them. We want to deliver great stores for our customers. We want to be fresh, friendly, full, clean for our customers each and every day and offer them quality products. Then certainly, we want to be a great partner to the community in everything we do. We want to be the favorite local supermarket, and that doesn’t just mean Southern California; that means down to Santa Barbara, Rancho Cucamonga, Tustin. Wherever the store is, we want to connect to that community.

—Lori Raya

business; that doesn’t exist a lot—to have that shift and weekends off. I spent a lot of time in other departments. I would get my work done very quickly and walk to the dairy and ask the dairy man or lady, “hey, do you need any help?” And they’re like, “yeah, the milk load just came in. Why don’t you take care of that for me?” I thought that was great; I didn’t realize it was the toughest job. Or crisping lettuce in the produce department. I was somewhere else helping all the time. Carolyn Rees came in, and it was her first store as a store director. She was observing the store and learning the people, which as a leader you do...She called me into her office one day and she said, “You know, you have a lot of spirit, a lot of spunk, but not many people have a schedule like you have and you’re never in your own department. Tell me a bit about yourself and what you want to do with your career.” I said, “It’s really not a career. I’m pursuing my college degree, I want to teach biology, I want to be able to coach.” At one time I had an aspiration to potentially be a physical therapist; I was very fascinated with kinesiology and all of those things. At some point I realized that probably wasn’t the path, but Carolyn Rees said to me, “I think you have some skills and you might be able to do something (here), but your schedule, it really doesn’t work for the grocery business.” I looked at her and said, “I understand that and I respect that; I don’t think this is my career, so if you need me to quit today or put in my two weeks’ notice, I can do that. I understand you have a business to run, but this is my passion.”

She said, “Aren’t you off season for a little bit at the high school where you’re coaching?” I said I was. She said, “Well, how would you like to try management?” I said, “Yeah, your job looks easy; I could give it a try” (laughing). She picked up the phone and called the district office and said, “Do we have any third-person or head clerk positions available?” They said yes, we have an opening. She said to me, “You’re working 3 to midnight now.” So she was motivated to be a mentor and saw a lot of potential in you. I think that’s the case. From that point, she mentored me… to become a leader and how to manage and run a grocery store. I became fascinated with it, and I did not return to coaching the next season. The “aha” moment really switched that…I liked what I was doing, I liked being around people, and I was learning things. As I said earlier, I love to learn, I love to better myself, and I also found there were things that I could help with a little bit of spirit, help other folks in the store. I truly am, to this day, appreciative of what Carolyn did for me personally and professionally. She was just a great leader, a very passionate leader, who really helped me through at least the next three steps of my career. There was a point when we were store directors at the same time, and then Carolyn was promoted to district manager. In 1998, I was offered a position in our corporate office in Pleasanton and then a district manager, so at some point we were peers— Carolyn in Colorado and myself in Vons in Southern California. That was my first district manager assignment. But she was the biggest supporter of me as I continued to grow in my career, and she continues to be a great district manager. She has cheered me on and I trust her. When through my career I needed advice, she was a person I would pick up the phone and call and say, “Friend, I need some advice; can you help me out here?” What does it mean to you to not only be a leader to your division and company but for the industry? And, as you reflect back on your career, what words of advice would you give as a woman leader to other women that are aspiring to grow their careers in the grocery industry? First, I am grateful to have the role that I have with our company and certainly am fortunate through, one, my time with Safeway, that I was able to run the Vons division, to be appointed as president, and certainly as we merged with Albertsons to be able to be provided the opportunity to run the largest division. It’s quite an honor and one Please see page 32


The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016

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2016 West Woman Executive of the Year

Parent Company COO Lauds Raya’s Approach to Integrating SoCal Banners No one would argue that it was a gargantuan undertaking to merge the Albertsons banner stores with Safeway’s Vons and Pavilions banners in the highly competitive Southern California marketplace. There was inherent complexity due to the number of stores—more than 350—but more than that, two proud companies that had been staunch competitors for many years were Wayne Denningham going to have to form a new team. Albertsons’ COO Wayne Denningham, who was the chain’s EVP and COO of the South Region when the merger became effective in January 2015, said Raya’s leadership style was instrumental in uniting the banners and setting the course for the new division. “She really approached it from not what was best for Vons, not what was best for Albertsons, not what was best for Pavilions, but what was best for Southern California as a team,” says Denningham, who has been with the Albertsons organization since 1977. “I think she did a phenomenal job of bringing the people together. Not just teams, but bringing the people together. She recognized that probably the single most important attribute of running a successful division there in Southern Cal was bringing the people together for one common cause—and that was to run great stores, improve the overall customer experience and work together as a team.” In fact, he says, “she simplified the business by continually coaching and working with the team to remember that the real mission is running great stores and taking care of our customers. Lori is passionate about running great stores and growing sales.” What Raya, whose history was on the Safeway (Vons and Pavilions) side, didn’t want to happen was for either company to lose what made them special in the marketplace. Albertsons had its strengths; Vons and Pavilions had their strengths. The mission was to spread those best practices around to all the stores so that all the banners—which remained intact—would

be better than before. “I think she did a phenomenal job of sharing and implementing best practices,” Denningham says. “She brought the best practices from Vons and Pavilions into Albertsons and then whatever Albertsons was doing really well, she brought into Vons and Pavilions. She was very quick at adapting to that and sharing that story and painting that picture of how good that could be for all our stores in Southern California.” The best practices extended to office-level functions like human resources as well as store-level practices like operations and marketing, he says.

Leading by example

Raya’s attitude is upbeat and positive—and she’s open to having fun, Denningham says. “Something that’s a little different about Lori is that she has fun with her team. Not all of us probably do that enough,” he says. “She leads with enthusiasm; that smile is contagious. She takes the business very seriously, she’s very competitive, but she also has a lot of fun with her team members.” He says when she opens meetings, she starts by giving her team “that beaming smile, and then she’ll paint the picture of where she wants to go, where she wants the team to go. Lori has a clear vision of what she wants for herself and for her team to accomplish and she communicates that on a very regular basis.” The result is a motivated team. “She’s very passionate about running great stores, committed to winning and determined to be the best at what she does. I think it’s a driving factor for her, and I think it’s contagious for the people around her. “I think something else she does as an executive very well is she empowers her team—empower your team to do their best work and then recognize their successes,” he continues. “She solicits information and ideas from everybody on the team, and then, with the help of her senior team, they put it together and get it back out to everybody out in the field in the division and the stores.” With a number of talented people in both organizations, it

was tough to form the management team, but “she recognized the talents from both teams and selected the best from both teams to build one great team,” Denningham says. “As far as developing the talent, I think she does that continually today with implementing the best practices from both companies and always striving to get better. She’s never satisfied with the status quo. Every day she’s looking at ways to get better inside the stores and with her people.” But she also leaves room to plan for the future. According to Denningham, Raya “focuses on long-term strategy as well as executing everyday basics. I think that is really something to note. Lori has broad vision, always looking further into the future about how Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions can be better. So she’s looking at long-term strategy but at the same time she’s very good at working with her team on a daily basis, being very involved in the business and executing the everyday basics of the business.”

Bill Shumard, President & CEO, Special Olympics Southern California “I’m a big believer that organizations are built on continuity, stability, longevity, and if you look at Lori, she is ‘homegrown’—she worked her way up through the organization. She was affected by that culture and now she is in a position to further affect and direct the culture of the organization. And by giving back, by being a responsible member of the community, that just sets a great example for commerce in Southern California and for the overall community responsibility of taking care of others who are less fortunate.”

Cynthia McCloud, Director, Food Industry Programs, USC Marshall School of Business “It is an honor to congratulate Lori Raya on being selected as the 2016 Woman Executive of the Year by The Shelby Report of the West. Lori and the Albertsons Cos. have been supporters of the Food Industry Management Programs at the USC Marshall School of Business for many years. Lori served as the USC Executivein-Residence in 2014, and her passion for learning has motivated and inspired many along the way. Lori has also been supportive in helping us build a legacy in the food industry to create a path for every single employee who wishes to pursue an education. Congratulations again, Lori, and thank you for all that you do.”



The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016

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2016 West Woman Executive of the Year From page 28

I take very seriously. But I think the key thing is I love what I do. For anyone, male or female, who wants to be in this industry, you have to love what you do and enjoy being with people, which I certainly do. I think that’s what drives me to be in that role. But I also think, for me, receiving this award means a lot as a female leader in the industry because it still is very unique. It’s an opportunity to show others what’s possible. In terms of mentorship, when I think of Carolyn and what she did for me, I hope I have done that for others in this business and reached out and showed them and helped them find their way in their career and what they were really passionate about. Did you ever find it a little bit odd when you were in the board room and being one of a couple, maybe, of women in there? I don’t know that “odd” is the word. But I think since the majority of shoppers are female, it’s great to have that female perspective and representation in the room. Although my husband would argue since he is our family shopper, he is the best shopper in our family! As female leaders, we need to take it very seriously in the way we communicate with all of our employees—men, women, anyone who wants to aspire to other levels—about how to do that, and we need to lead the path. And I do think there are those, in this division and across the company, that I have helped achieve their goals. They’ve seen the levels I have been able to achieve and said, “You know, I think I can do that.” I have had many folks reach out and ask for advice on how do I approach this interview for this job that I’m looking for? You’ve made it to that level and been able to accomplish it. I think we should always be available to help mentor individuals or help them with the questions they have about how to navigate the system. I’m curious, and I think our readers would be curious, to know how do you approach your day? Are you a list keeper or are you more improvisational in how you do things? I could start off with a list, but many times it doesn’t happen that way. But I am absolutely a list person and a calendar person. One of the things I always want to make sure of is I honor my commitments. If I tell a store I’m coming to a store to visit,

I try as hard as I can, and I think I’m pretty good at accomplishing it. Sometimes things happen that take you away, but if I commit that I’ll be attending a meeting or a luncheon or a store visit, I do drive myself by my calendar in making sure that I can balance all of those things. You can see the notepad on my desk; I have my graph paper and I have a to-do list that I follow. I don’t know that the list ever gets done, but I think it’s aspirational to have it. But you have to be flexible for things that come up day in, day out. This might seem trivial, but is it the kind notebook where you can tear the pages out or do you have to fold it over and keep the pages? And do you check off your list? I check off my list and I pull pages, and I feel good when I’m able to say this page is done. If I have to transfer it to the next page, I feel like I’m leaving not accomplishing something. But I also know I operate with a very open-door policy if I’m in the office or in my email or my phone. I’m available for individuals. So if sometimes someone wants to meet with me, that takes me off of getting something done. If I feel like I need to get it done, I’ll stay later or take it home. But I want to make sure that I’m available to support the team.

How do you recharge and make sure you’re bringing the best of you as a leader? I think it’s important as a leader to know when you’ve hit your limit and when it’s time to take a breather. I’m pretty good at gauging when I’ve pushed the throttle long enough that I need to ease up and take some time off. It’s important to do that, and it’s important for my team to do that. For me, if I don’t take time off, whether it’s a day or two or a vacation, I don’t think I’m showing my team that it’s important to spend time with family or doing what you like. For me, it’s about being with my family. I certainly enjoy spending time with my husband, Sam, and our two dogs, Diego and Maya. You and I both have Jack Russells, and I love my Jack Russells. I do have a stepdaughter, Sami. I love spending time with her and her husband Francisco. They live in Las Vegas. I really enjoy spending time with those two; they’re great travelers, someone you can travel with and spend time with. We love to travel. We spend time in Sedona, Arizona; it’s a great getaway, very quiet. You have a home in Sedona? We do. We have a four-wheeler, a Polaris, and I like to get out and go off-roading or just take it through town to go have a bite to eat. I like to play golf with my husband. I’m not very good, but it’s a good getaway for me, something I need. I haven’t mastered that sport yet; it’s one that I need to focus and concentrate on, so it helps me push work a bit out of the way and just get outside, get in the sun. I love to recharge in

Please see page 36

Lori and Sam Raya look on as daughter and son-in-law, Sami and Francisco Real, pose for wedding photos.

Nephew DJ, his wife Ann and children Taylor and McKinley (center).

Lori’s nephews and niece— DJ, Preston and Jessica.

Lori’s nephew, Spencer.

Lori’s niece Rachel Hooks and her husband Brad.


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The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016


2016 West Woman Executive of the Year Raya Recognizes the Value of Vendor Partners Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions form the largest account in Southern California, in terms of stores and total volume, for PepsiCo. And PepsiCo is the grocers’ top vendor. So when those banners were knitted together in January 2015, it was important for Chuck Waimon, VP and GM for PepsiCo Sales for Albertsons Cos., to get to know the new leader of that division, Lori Raya, and for them Chuck Waimon, to form a strong relationship. PepsiCo His role was to ensure a smooth transition of the Vons and Pavilions stores into the Albertsons Cos. family, and when he met Raya, he says he felt “immediately welcome. She picks up her own phone, she calls you back; there is no pretense and no ego…I could tell in the first 30 seconds that she wants to win and knows how to win and knows how to win the right way.” PepsiCo has “some of the best brands in the world—about 22 billion-dollar brands,” Waimon says. “We have great innovation, all those things a good CPG company and partner must have. But I have to tell you, what’s even more important is we’re a people company. People are what make us great at PepsiCo, and I’ll tell you that’s exactly how she (Raya) rolls. They have great stores, great merchandising and she leads

with her ‘grand opening look’—their gold standard—every day. It’s all about full, fresh and clean. “What she recognizes, from my perspective, and what makes her such a special leader and why she deserves every award under the sun, is that it’s all about her people. She leads from the front and recognizes that at the end of the day, it’s all about her people, it’s all about her community and her shoppers,” he adds. Waimon says Raya is in her stores more than in the office “because that’s where it happens. She’s all about her local communities, and she puts her time and her money where her mouth is. If we had more people like her in this world, we’d be a lot better off.” It’s no surprise that they also have “dynamic moments,” or conflicts, since there are times the two companies can’t do what each other wants. “But here’s the deal: we operate on a foundation of total trust, so if I miss something or she comes to me and asks me for something and I can’t do it, I feel zero issue with telling her that and the same with her, without fear of any retribution whatsoever because we’ll always make it right. If she asks me for a promotion or support and it doesn’t work out the way we thought, she will always make it right, and the same with me. If I miss something or I don’t meet a commitment…I pick up the phone and tell her the truth. No spin control; we deal with the facts and we treat each other with respect.

“My job is to grow her category sales; her job is to sell more stuff. But we do that in concert and in an environment of trust and collaboration. She is just a superb leader; inspirational,” he adds. Make no mistake, Waimon says; the bottom line is that Raya wants to win in the marketplace. “She is maniacally focused on winning; very competitive,” he says. “And she looks you in the eye; she doesn’t look to see who’s around her, she’s not distracted by her email. When you get Lori, you get 100 percent of Lori. “I want to do better than I did the day before, and she is cut from that same cloth,” he adds. “She takes the fiduciary responsibility of her team, of all the employees, and Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions very, very seriously. And I think she just really cares. The old adage, ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ is true, and she truly cares about her people and her community. That includes the people on her team, the people in her community and her vendor community. She has such a way of bringing people together to address a common cause. She cuts out all the bull, she doesn’t play politics, she’s the real deal and she knows how to win the right way. She transcends ethnicity, all the different marketplaces that she services. An exceptional leader. I can count on one hand how many people that I’ve run into who operate like her.”

Andy Barker, SVP of Operations, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions “Lori is a teacher…and she’s always challenging everybody to make sure that you teach somebody something—today. And the more we do that, the better our people become, the more our leaders grow. If they are, in turn, doing the same, the whole organization really gets stronger. “She also is an astute judge of character. Lori has worked in a lot of different geographies within the company…On the other hand, I started in Southern California, bagging groceries, and I’m still here. When Lori and I first met, there was a misperception about me and my leadership style with the company. Lori and I chatted

about that and she, being an astute judge of character, talent and people, saw and believed in me, which led to my success early upon her arrival and subsequently the role I have today with the new company. And she’s willing to go to bat for her people to help make sure they achieve the success they deserve. “We could not have a better division president or leader than Lori to really facilitate— and I choose that word by design—what this division has done over the last 20 months now.”

Wayne Denningham, COO, Albertsons Cos. “Lori is a positive, upbeat leader with a can-do attitude. That’s the No. 1 thing I see. Every day, she has a giant smile on her face, no matter what’s on her plate. She’s got a can-do attitude; they’re going to win. As I look at who Lori Raya is as a president, she is one of our most capable presidents out there. We have 14 divisions, so we have 14 very capable presidents. But all the attributes I just stated for Lori are independent of whether she was male or female. That’s who she is as a leader.”


The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016

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2016 West Woman Executive of the Year From page 32

the sun and I love being near the water. Spending time with my family when I can get that opportunity, and my nieces and nephews…I really enjoy that opportunity. What did you and your leadership team learn in the process of coming together—integrating and enhancing your three banners? As I step back and think about the first days and preparing for day one to come when it was announced that we were a company, in my head, I knew bringing together two, really three, very proud cultures into one office would be the biggest challenge. I knew the stores would come together, but for me, it was about culture and how do you build that open culture and the culture of trust and teamwork and idea sharing. We knew, and I knew, out of the gate that would be the most important accomplishment that we could make, because if we didn’t have the teamwork, the camaraderie, the trust, it would be very hard to accomplish any of our goals in our stores. Literally, you were fierce competitors until the switch was flipped. Absolutely. Fierce competitors. And I was very impressed with Albertsons as a competitor in the marketplace. I had always observed a lot of the great merchandising techniques and initiatives Albertsons had in place—how do they do that so well? So it was great to be able to finally be able to learn the secrets, and I think it was the same respect level for employees who had worked for Albertsons for the majority of their careers to learn what Vons and Pavilions did very well. How did you address that at the store level? It was interesting. When I built out the leadership structure, it was very important for me, first and foremost, to have the best talent in every role. And the way Bob Miller (Albertsons chairman and CEO) set up the opportunity for us to build the divisions is we…interviewed and selected the players we wanted on the team. I approached it much like I would athletics—who do I want on the team? Who is a good leader? Who’s passionate? Who’s a good listener? Who’s very smart and talented? And I built it with a great blend from the Albertsons Cos. in Southern California, the Vons Cos. in Southern California, and I was fortunate in my career to have spent a significant amount of time in our headquarters in Pleasanton, and therefore I also knew that there was talent there that could help make Southern California better. So I was really blending more than just the Southern California culture. It was the corporate Safeway culture that we integrated. I think we did a great job of bringing people together. But when we built the districts, very strategically, as we assigned and selected district managers, we built the districts with all three banners. So an Albertsons district manager might have been assigned 10 or 12 Vons stores, seven Albertsons stores and two Pavilions stores. Because we knew right away, having integrated, we would learn more, right out of the gate. So I think the key was how we built the structure of the districts and that leadership team as well as my area vice presidents. Very blended, but…you can always learn more by being inside the stores.

Was there any resistance to that in the early stages? Interestingly, there wasn’t. I think there was this fascination…Certainly, there was a comfort zone that “I know how to manage an Albertsons store” or a Vons or a Pavilions store better because that was your career. But I think all of the leaders we selected were ones who wanted to learn, who wanted to be a part and admired something the other company did. I think everybody really reveled in the challenge. Do all three have their own distribution centers? To this day, yes. We currently have five distribution centers, but we are certainly on our path to migrating to two—Brea and Irvine. I know you have one more store to open in San Diego, which would be a total of 14. What has it been like to open 13 of the former Haggen stores since January? I think the greatest thing we accomplished by being able to open 13, and soon 14, stores was the number of employees we were able to hire back to our organization who were divested as part of the entire process. We were able to hire back over 2,000 employees. We were able to bring back 40-50 store directors and assistant store directors. Going to the stores and seeing the customers respond to seeing the checker that they had missed and were so happy they were back, and the employees’ gratitude to be able to be hired back to their company—that, in itself, was inspirational. But what was really fun was it was our great opportunity to very quickly implement the best practices from both companies into one store. The stores were four walls and had equipment, but we were able to modify some signage, some different programs, different fixtures. I think it really enabled us to show how we can leverage the best of both in one store but still really stay true to Albertsons, Vons or Pavilions, to what that store was, but to really leverage the best of both. Those stores are great stores that really reflect the best of both companies, and we’re very proud of that. Bringing in the best practices of the different banners, that was really one of your keys, right? Absolutely. Great companies, great heritage, great successes over the years. Fierce competitors over the years, and I admired a lot of the programs. And it was great to be able to see how they worked and test them. Can you give me an example of a best practice? There are so many, including the way we process things backstage, but staying at the store level, the “Fresh Made” program in Albertsons in produce was something we always admired. It’s just first-class, best-in-class in the produce department, with the fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, guacamole, salsa done in-store every day, and to be able to implement that into the Vons and Pavilions stores has been fun and very successful. Then, certainly, I would say the floral departments in the Vons stores as well as probably the liquor and wine assortment in the Vons stores. To be able to take those different strategies of the Vons floral program really is more out-of-refrigeration, really service-oriented. The Albertsons program was more self-serve, so now we have staffed the floral departments, which also has allowed us to hire more employees and give

Born and raised in Colorado, Raya and her family are still Broncos fans, but she also now roots for the Rams.

those employees more hours. But really to show the design ability that we have within the store was fun to implement into our Albertsons stores. In the Albertsons Culinary Innovation Center (in Northern California) we have chefs that work in there that create recipes for our signature café, for our deli and bakery products that they develop for the entire nation to leverage. I know people are a big priority for you and your division. How would you describe Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions today in terms of employee culture, how you serve your customers and your division’s work in the community? If I look back to the last 20 months or so that we’ve been a company, I think our greatest accomplishment would certainly be the culture and building the team. Because people are the most important asset we have, and making people feel good about what they do is very important. So I would say today, we are one team, and it’s not “I’m from Albertsons” or “I’m from Vons” or “I’m from Pavilions,” we are one team and we support each other as one team. We’re past trying to figure out what company someone came from and if anybody was better than the other. Our job is, one, to take care of our employees and help them work safely and to pursue whatever career aspirations they have, to help them. We want to deliver great stores for our customers. We want to be fresh, friendly, full, clean for our customers each and every day and offer them quality products. Then certainly, we want to be a great partner to the community in everything we do. We want to be the favorite local supermarket, and that doesn’t just mean Southern California; that means down to Santa Barbara, Rancho Cucamonga, Tustin. Wherever the store is, we want to connect to that community. Are you using social media and things like that to make that happen? One of the great additions to our staff here is we have a social media employee (who) definitely knows a lot more about Facebook than I do. As a matter of fact, yesterday at a kickoff event with one of our newest partners, the L.A. Rams—we’re certainly excited to have the L.A. Rams back and we were thrilled to be able to be selected to partner as their official grocery partner—at our Albertsons in Tujunga, they asked me to conduct a Facebook live session. After I asked them what that meant, we did this live in the store and the video is now on Facebook on our Albertsons and Vons pages. Connecting with social media certainly is important, but I think it really comes down to each and every store and what’s important to that store within the community, whether it’s Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, whatever. Hunger certainly is a big cause for us. We’re in the food business; we certainly should help out. We partner with ABC7 for Feed SoCal. It’s a very big initiative we have, certainly one we’ll continue in the years to come to help children who are out of school for summer be able to have that meal during the day. Let’s talk a little more about the partnerships, starting with your work for Habitat for Humanity. When you first became president of SoCal, what prompted you to get involved and serve on the board of Habitat for Humanity? Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A. was certainly a personal mission for me. As I mentioned before, my family had a great childhood, did a lot of activities, but when my parents were divorced, things became a bit tighter. We moved a lot. I think there was one year that I attended six different schools, and we didn’t always live in the best houses. Sometimes it was bouncing around a little bit between relatives’ houses and friends’ houses as we found our way. Not a lot of people know that, but for me, for anyone, one of the biggest things you can do to instill pride in someone is to be able to put a roof over their head. Not everyone can do that. So for me, it was personal to be able to help others have that pride so that they could then feel good about going out, getting great employment. As I met Erin Rank, the CEO of the organization, her passion, her leadership as we talked about the opportunity and what she was doing in Southern California, in L.A. specifically, in areas that really needed someone to commit to helping, the passion was there for me to join and be part of that. The division has rallied behind that, and we support many builds. We support a veterans build, participate in that. We also support a woman’s build day, which is fun for networking; a lot of the women employees join me and we put on our hard hats and go pound nails for a day together, and it’s fun. Please see page 38

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NOVEMBER 2016 • The Shelby Report of the West


2016 West Woman Executive of the Year

Marketing Focuses on How Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions Are ‘Just Better’ Earlier this year, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions launched “It’s Just Better,” a marketing campaign to tell shoppers all the reasons they should be shopping their stores. Jim Beauvais, SVP of marketing and merchandising for Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, says the goal of the campaign is to “shout what we do better than our competitors. It was a lot of ‘ers’—we had a fresher store, Jim Beauvais we had a fuller store, friendlier store and provided better service than our competition.” The program was developed by Kelly Mullin, marketing director, and then Beauvais and Mullin presented it to Lori Raya and “she loved it,” Beauvais says. Albertsons corporate has a similar program, “but we wanted to make it special to Southern California and our Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions shoppers.” The “It’s Just Better” theme is carried out in print ads as well as in-store signage. The Vons and Albertsons banners, the division’s traditional store formats, were featured in TV commercials as part of the campaign as well. “A big piece of our job (in marketing and merchandising) is making sure we have a great invitation to our customers,” Beauvais says. That invitation is crafted with the “writing the ads, putting together our plan for the ads, making sure we have the right item, the right price and the right message for our customers to come into our stores.” Beauvais, a 25-year veteran of the company whose career

began in Chicago, says much attention is paid to how merchandising and promotions will actually be carried out at store level. “How we bring programs to life—to get the execution we’re looking for—is we get the operations team and put together a store walk, where they can see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, etc., live in a store. Then we communicate the expectations of the program via the district managers of the operations team. Then they take it to their specific districts to bring it to life,” Beauvais says. Vendor partners also are critical to a campaign’s success. “We meet with vendors and go over where we have strengths, opportunities, how we compare to the rest of market, how we compare to national numbers,” he says. Beauvais and his team also meet with store department managers to “ensure we are all on board with trying to drive sales and make it efficient and easy for our stores to execute the expectations of our programs.” Beauvais has been in California for about 30 years, joining Albertsons as a meat supervisor. He relocated with the chain to New Mexico and Arizona before “deciding to try something different” and joining Roundy’s in Milwaukee, where he would spend nine years. He came back to Southern California to become a sales manager for Albertsons and later was promoted to VP of the Western Region. He filled that role for just a couple of months

before Raya and the corporate team promoted him to his current role as SVP of marketing and merchandising in January 2016. He lauds Raya for merging the Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions banners in a way that brings out the best in each. “Lori has taken the best of our Albertsons, the best of our Vons, the best of our Pavilions and brought those strengths of all to one. So when we open a store or when we remodel a store, there are the best fixtures of all the brands, the best merchandising techniques, the best pricing rationale, the best ad rationale. We’ve really brought the best of our companies together as one.”

Kevin Demoff, COO, Los Angeles Rams “Well, we got off to a rocky start when she admitted she was a Broncos fan…but she was very upfront about it from the beginning, so I give her some leeway. But the thing I think was paramount is that she’s a massive NFL fan. And she is very collaborative and committed.”

PepsiCo congratulates Lori Raya and the entire Team at Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions on a great year!


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The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016


2016 West Woman Executive of the Year From page 36

Why are the hunger relief programs so important to you (Feed SoCal and School’s Out, Hunger’s Not)? They both are very important because children many times have unfortunate circumstances that are certainly out of their control. They’re not able to have a nutritious meal; it’s very hard for those individuals to be in school and study. What compelled me, working with our great partners, is the understanding that when children are out of school for the summer, summer is really when the food banks need food. That’s when they’re at their lowest point. I think during holiday times, a lot of us give to the food banks; we’re in that giving season and we want to help. But the time the food banks really need the support is in the summer, so we took that opportunity to really help fill that void for the food banks. Really, the mantra “school’s out, hunger’s not” is very true. A lot of these children are on school programs. So when they’re in school, they receive their breakfast and lunch at school. During summer they don’t have that program and there isn’t food at the home. These children go hungry. Tell me more about your summer food drive. Our store directors are amazingly passionate at getting behind helping communities. We’ve set up a great program with our own brands in a bag. A customer can simply come in and purchase and donate a $5 bag. We make it very easy. The customer comes in during the month of June, donates the bag of food and it goes to the food banks that we work. They identify the items they need; the proteins for the basic meals, the other foods they need, and that’s what we put in the bags. Our customers rally and really support the cause. But it really is our store directors—their passion to bring it to life and understand the cause. They’re doing something great for children. It’s a big deal. And yesterday at the Rams event, our partners from the Special Olympics and LA’s Best were there with their athletes participating.

Jim Beauvais, SVP-Marketing & Merchandising, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions

(Above) Raya holds up bags of food that Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores offer to their customers to support Feed SoCal.

Raya speaks with ABC7 Los Angeles at the grocery chain’s community tailgate with the Rams to kick off the Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions “Game On” sweepstakes.

CONGRATULATIONS! Lori Raya and everyone at Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions on your great achievement. Mike’s Hard Lemonade portfolio of brands is proud to be a partner in your success.


“Lori is a fantastic leader. She brings energy every day; she brings enthusiasm every day. She certainly brings high expectations for her team members, but she motivates us with her dynamic personality. Lori is just an outgoing, passionate, driven leader with a fantastic attitude that we all feel very proud to work for and with every day. She says ‘hi’ to everybody, she smiles every day—walking in and walking out. She’s just outstanding. “I understand that it’s Woman Executive of the Year, but it could be Executive of the Year, regardless of the man/woman title. She is just a fantastic leader.”

Carole Christianson, COO, Western Association of Food Chains “On behalf of the WAFC, it is a pleasure to congratulate Lori Raya on being named the 2016 Woman Executive of the Year. Lori is a past director of the WAFC and served as education chair in 2015. Her advocacy and support of the education initiatives of the WAFC has benefited her associates and our industry. We wish her much continued success.”

On behalf our valued clients congratulations Albertsons Vons and Pavilions for earning the 2016 West Retailer of the Year honor. Thanks to Division President Lori Raya, 2016 West Woman Executive of the Year Award Winner and her team for helping to bring to life the “Smarter Way to Faster Growth.� Looking forward to continued success and a great future.

Congratulations Associated Wholesale Grocer on 9 0 y ears of Excellence! Keep it Growing


2016 West Retailer of the Year


Lori Raya 2016 West Woman Executive of the Year

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The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016

2016 West Retailer of the Year

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Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions: Three Proud Histories Writing One New Chapter Albertsons Cos.’ Southern California division, known as Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions (AVP), was chosen as The Shelby Report of the West’s Retailer of the Year in recognition of its most recent achievement—successfully merging two proud brands into one tough competitor in the Southern California grocery market—as well as the chains’ longevity (the first Vons opened in 1906; Albertsons’ origins go back to 1939). Albertsons and Safeway, which owned Vons and Pavilions in Southern California, completed their merger on Jan. 30, 2015, creating what is now a company with more than 2,300 stores under 19 banners in 35 states. Their combined annual sales at the time of the merger were $57 billion, making the company the second largest supermarket retailer in the U.S. In Southern California, the two companies operated 343 stores after having to divest 83 locations to satisfy Federal Trade Commission requirements for the merger to go through. Haggen, a Pacific Northwest grocer, bought the Southern California stores (plus some in other areas), creating a new competitor in the market for Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions. Haggen’s Pacific Southwest division only lasted a few months, however, before the company declared bankruptcy and its stores were distributed among several competitors. Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions picked up 14 stores it had formerly owned—13 of which have opened. The 14th is set to reopen in San Diego before the end of the year. As of September 2016, the Southern California division—the largest of the chain’s 14— operated 352 stores. Lori Raya, former president of Vons who was named to lead the Southern California division, said of the Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions combination: “It’s a new day in Southern California.” She noted the rationale for the merger: “We will be better positioned for long-term growth

At a vendor meeting about a month after the Albertsons and Safeway merger was completed at the end of January 2015. From left: Andy Barker, SVP of operations; Lori Raya, Southern California Division president; and Greg McNiff, SVP of merchandising and marketing (now president of the company’s Portland, Oregon, division).

and stronger in the marketplaces in which we operate.” Raya was speaking at a vendor meeting in Fullerton—where the combined company would be headquartered—in early March 2015. “Our purpose is to be the favorite local supermarket,” Raya said. “We’re a national chain of local supermarkets, and we will leverage our size to provide the best offering to our customers, but the key is we will be making decisions locally, closest to the customer, to anticipate and respond quickly to the unique and evolving needs.” The way “to run really good stores,” she said, is to have the best fresh departments; the most friendly employees; full (in-stock) conditions every day; sparkling clean stores; and connecting to our communities by supporting local causes. “It does seem simple, but it’s about connecting to the communities and having great employees in each and every store. To do this, we need to know, listen and delight our customers and provide the right products at a compelling value,” Raya said. “And we want to make sure every time a customer visits our store it’s better than the last time they visited it. That’s the goal—to never disappoint a customer.”

Making two into one

Of the 352 in the Southern California division, slightly more than a third are Albertsons; the rest are Vons and Pavilions, according to Andy Barker, SVP of operations for the division. The division is spread over 500 miles and contains 18 districts. The district managers typically oversee a mix of the three banners, Barker said, which has made it imperative that the two cultures were blended as smoothly as possible. “Quite frankly, that was the biggest opportunity—taking two proud cultures (Albertsons and Vons/Pavilions), people that had worked for two proud companies for decades. The leadership of the division—Lori, myself and others—checked our personalities at the door and really tried to understand what’s worked well for the Albertsons stores, what’s worked well for the Vons or Safeway portfolio, and really helping our front-line leaders understand the value of adopting those best practices. “And we are doing that extraordinarily successfully,” he added. Wayne Denningham, COO of parent company Albertsons, agrees with that assessment. “The SoCal team has successfully led one of the largest integration efforts in the industry, and through all of the changes, they successfully brought two great companies together. At the same time, they continued to improve the in-store experience for our customers,” he said. He credited Raya’s “upbeat, positive, can-do attitude” for helping make that happen, as well as the entire team’s recognition that “the people in Southern California—in the stores, the division office, the distribution centers—they are what makes Southern California. Lori has told me on many occasions that she’s the happiest president I have…that just kind of paints who she is. She has a great team of associates down there, and I would tell you if you talk to her, she’d tell you it’s not about her, it’s about her people. She’s got wonderful people with long tenure in Southern California, and they are very proud of what they’ve built there and they look forward to growing it bigger and stronger as they go forward.” Jim Beauvais, SVP of marketing and merchandising for Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, spoke about some of the nuts-and-bolts ways the Albertsons/Safeway merger has played out in Southern California. “Every sales manager, every person that ties into our vendors and our community, has two computers on their desk, two keyboards, two mouses,” he said. “It’s very intricate, very complex, but what Lori really has motivated our teams to do is take the best of our Vons, best of our Albertsons, best of our Pavilions and brought those strengths of all to one. “So when we open a store or when we remodel a store, there are the best fixtures of all brands, the best merchandising techniques, the best pricing rationale, the best ad rationale,” Beauvais said. “We’ve really brought the best of our companies together as one. And it’s very difficult to do, especially with the different cultures and histories that both companies really have…but we have a fantastic culture here in the office that Lori has brought together.”

Empowering the people

Barker said in an interview in September 2016 that the division recognizes that people are key to fulfilling the mission. “At every leadership level in this division, we truly believe in our people, and we know our job is to help our people achieve the success that any business needs but also the success that our people deserve,” he said. Team members are empowered to think and act like owners—a sign of leadership’s belief in its people. The decentralized decisionPlease see page 44


The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016

2016 West Retailer of the Year

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From page 42

making comes from the Albertsons culture, he added. “I think one of the biggest benefits for the Vons brand is we gave our Vons store directors more autonomy to operate their stores from a merchandising standpoint and those types of things,” Barker said. “Before, as a centralized company (Safeway), a lot of the decisions and a lot of the direction was given from corporate down to the stores. Now, in a decentralized environment, which our company is, the decisions are made at division level and there is a lot more autonomy for our store directors.” In the customer service arena, the company developed a hybrid of the programs of Albertsons and Vons, “the best of both,” according to Barker, who explained, “the Albertsons store count was conducive to a certain program and it would work, but when you grow your store count by three (times), those programs don’t work quite as well. So we’ve taken a blended approach and we’ve learned from both brands. “And we’re still working on it, by the way,” he added. “We still work on a day-in, day-out, week-in, week-out basis to streamline those. It really makes it easy for the management team to help oversee the process when we’re managing one way of doing things rather than a couple.” Barker said the division also was very pleased this year when it was able to hire back some of the employees from stores that had been divested to Haggen. “We’ve sought out and hired back virtually every employee that did not have a job someplace else,” Barker said.

Helping communities

As Raya said, one of the pillars of the Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions organization is serving the communities around the stores. Barker said, “One of the first things we did when we blended the two teams is create our mission statement: We want to be the favorite local supermarket. What does that mean? It’s not just about prices and what’s in the ad. It’s how do we serve the communities that our stores are in?” Barker himself serves on the board of the Special Olympics of Southern California, and the first event the division undertook after the merger was the Special Olympics World Games in Southern California in the summer of 2015.

The Albertsons Companies Foundation and The Vons Foundation were the official sponsor of the games, which was the largest sporting event in the world last year, according to Barker—larger than the Super Bowl. This year, the banners held their first joint checkstand fundraising event, during which customers were asked at the register if they wanted to support the cause. “We did that at all of our stores here in SoCal and we raised $1.4 million for Special Olympics Southern California,” Barker said. “There are certain things we have to do to sell cans of green beans and stuff like that, but when we really start digging deep and we let our people know not only do we care about them but we care about the communities and the things that are special to them, i.e., Special Olympics, I think it just helped the whole process of, once again, taking two very proud yet different cultures and blending them into one extraordinary team.” Being recently selected Official Grocery Partner of the Los Angeles Rams also will yield benefits for both Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions and communities. A new “Game On” contest has been launched, offering in-store prizes, and it is expected that the two organizations will partner on turkey donations during the holidays and other such events. Barker said the Rams partnership is “just another example of how we really believe in the community and doing the right thing.”


The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016

2016 West Retailer of the Year Three Proud Histories Albertsons

In 1939, Joe Albertson opened his first 10,000-s.f. store at the corner of 16th and State in Boise, Idaho. The first store employed about 30 people, with department managers on salary at $40 per week. First year sales were more than $170,000, with a net profit of nearly $10,000. In 1966, Joe and his wife, Kathryn, established the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation as a way to administer their own charitable giving. The foundation focused its giving primarily on education, which was important to Joe and Kathryn because neither was able to finish college during Joe Albertson the Great Depression. Since its early beginnings, the foundation has given more than $240 million to Idaho’s communities and education systems. The foundation continues to give to charities, primarily in areas where Joe and Kathryn lived or worked in Idaho. Fast-forward to 2006, when Albertson’s Inc. accepted an offer from Supervalu for 1,110 stores and from CVS for 700-plus standalone drugstores. Bob Miller formed Albertson’s LLC for the remaining 661 stores, backed by Cerberus Capital Management. In 2007, Albertson’s LLC sold the Northern California division to Save Mart and began the pattern of making strategic sales and acquisitions with the purchase of 10 Raley’s stores in New Mexico. In 2012, Albertsons began making money and continued to seek deals to strengthen the company. In 2013, Albertsons announced its acquisition of Supervalu, which put all the original Albertsons stores back under one company. The company also purchased United Supermarkets, a 51-store chain based in Lubbock, Texas. In 2014, Albertsons and Safeway announced a definitive merger agreement that would create what is now a company with more than 2,300 stores under 19 banners in 35 states. Their combined annual sales at the time of the merger were $57 billion, making the company the second-largest supermarket retailer in the U.S.

Woman Executive of the Year




Los Angeles was a small town when Charles Von der Ahe opened his 20-foot-wide Groceteria on the corner of 7th and Figueroa in 1906 with $1,200 in savings. It was a neighborhood store that catered to the needs of local families, where Von der Ahe pioneered “cash and carry” as an alternative to “charge and delivery.” His formula proved so successful that by 1928 Vons had expanded to 87 stores. Von der Ahe sold his chain the following year, but four years later, despite the Depression, two of his sons, Ted and Will, restarted Vons. The next 70 years were marked by growth and innovation. In 1948, the brothers opened their most ambitious store at the corner of Santa Barbara and Crenshaw. Thanks to the introduction of

pre-packaged perishables, they were able to offer some of the first self-service produce, meat and deli departments, much like today’s stores. The most explosive growth occurred during the 1970s, when Vons reached 159 stores with 16,000 employees, cementing its spot as the No. 1 grocery retailer in Southern California. In 1996, Safeway Inc. acquired a 35 percent stake in Vons, and the two companies fully merged in 1997. Vons stretches from San Diego to Fresno, from Clark County, Nevada, to the Pacific.


A sister concept to Vons, Pavilions was created in the mid-1980s as “a new attitude towards food and shopping was stirring in the U.S., beginning as these trends often do, in California,” according to the chain’s

Albertsons’ first store.

Lori Raya

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Retailer of the Year

website. “Families were paying more attention to what they were eating, to freshness and nutrition, looking for more diverse shopping choices.” In October 1985, the first Pavilions in Garden Grove, California, opened. “Pavilions was not just a reinvention of shopping. It was a reinvention of how supermarkets operate,” the company says. “Pavilions brings its customers the new, the unusual, the best of everything—the richest peach salsa from a Texas family recipe, a gold medal beer from San Diego, heavenly sweet berries from Oregon. It was an idea whose time had come. Shoppers welcomed it enthusiastically.” There currently are 26 Pavilions now operating in Southern California.

The Combined Company: Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions

• Parent company: The Albertsons Cos., Boise, Idaho • One of 14 divisions of Albertsons •  Division office in Fullerton, California • 352 stores in a 500-mile area • 18 districts • More than 36,000 employees • 219 pharmacies


The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016

2016 West Retailer of the Year

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Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions Assists Kids and Families Through LA’s BEST Program LA’s Best is an after school education, enrichment and recreation program that was founded in 1988 by Tom Bradley, who was the city’s mayor at the time. According to Eric Gurna, president and CEO of LA’s Best, Bradley saw “the problems with our more impoverished communities and felt that it was the city’s responsibility to do some things for young kids after school.” The solution he came up with was a program funded by the state, the city, the federal government and the private sector, including corporate partnerships and private donations, “which was a pretty new and innovative thing to do at the time,” Gurna said. Since public schools are by nature public spaces, the thought was that “they should be used not just during school hours to support the community and to support kids and families,” he added. The program started in 10 Los Angeles Unified School District schools in 1988. Today, the program is in 193 schools and serves 25,000 kids every day after school—“from the time the school bell rings until 6 o’clock,” Gurna said. “Every kid every day gets a nutritious supper and help with their homework, and then they participate in a wide array of enrichment activities, everything from sports to arts to gardening to digital learning and robotics and chess and drill team. Almost everything you Eric Gurna, president and CEO of can think of, kids get access to in the after school LA’s Best. hours and also in summer through LA’s Best.” One of LA’s Best’s key corporate partners, he said, is The Albertsons Companies Foundation and The Vons Foundation. Gurna said the grocery chain began supporting LA’s Best about 10 years ago. The support takes various forms, but does include more than $180,000 in donations in the past decade. “What they have done with us over the years is support LA’s Best in a number of ways, all centering around health and nutrition and fitness of our kids, families and communities,” he said. “What we found is that our two organizations have a real nexus in our missions—around family health and community health.” For the past five years, The Albertsons Companies Foundation and The Vons Foundation have supported LA’s Best’s Annual Health Festival, an L.A.-wide event featuring healthy food demonstrations, free eye exams, free dental exams—for both kids and families—and “all kinds of physical activity, information about gardening and water conservation. Just all kinds of cool stuff at the health festival,” he said. The grocer’s foundation also has helped install native and edible gardens on the school campuses where the LA’s Best program is in place. The help at both the festival and in the gardens is both financial and physical.

the drought and water conservation. The really cool thing about the gardens, too, is that it’s a real benefit to the entire school community, not just the kids who are enrolled in LA’s Best, because everybody gets to enjoy it at the school and even in the community. “We are also doing a little bit toward helping with the drought because we’re often replacing turf that needs to be watered with a garden, which requires less watering, or even jacking up blacktop to install the garden,” he added. The LA’s Best program serves schools that have, on average, 90 percent free and reduced lunch eligibility, said Gurna, who took the helm of LA’s Best in 2015, succeeding Carla Sanger, who had led the program since it began. Gurna had worked at LA’s Best earlier in his career and spent the next 15 years working with after school programs all over the country before returning. “We’re in schools in the most economically distressed neighborhoods of the city, and enrollment is open to the entire school population. We do have to limit the number of kids who can participate because we have a 20-to-1 student-to-staff ratio, and obviously, limited budgets. So, most schools do have waiting lists. But, he added, “we make every effort to make sure the kids who especially need the program because of their personal or home circumstances do get the program.” While some companies give to programs like LA’s Best based on “the PR value and tax writeoff that the companies get, this partnership with Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions is definitely one of our more heartfelt ones, one of our more long-term partnerships, and they’re always there for us,” Gurna said. “We have occasionally called them with last-minute asks.” One instance of that occurred prior to LA’s Best’s annual spring fundraiser—called the Family Dinner—this year. Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions had been the corporate honoree at the fundraiser in 2015 and this year was a sponsor of the event, which honored entertainer and celebrated digital learning. At the last minute, the organization that was going to provide the centerpieces for the tables bailed out, and LA’s Best ended up calling Lori Raya, president of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, to see if the company could help. “They came through with beautiful floral centerpieces to donate to us,” Gurna said. “That’s just one example of them being there as a friend and partner and supporting us in so many different dimensions. And that really means a lot to us.”

The donated centerpieces.

Lori Raya and Eric Gurna of LA’s Best at the 2015 Family Dinner, where LA’s Best honors partner organizations. Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions volunteers get their hands dirty installing a garden at an elementary school served by LA’s Best. “I’m really happy to work with Albertsons and Vons because it goes beyond just the financial support; they send teams of volunteers to help install the gardens right alongside our staff and the kids,” Gurna said. “They volunteer at events, volunteer in the ongoing maintenance of the gardens, and then they involve us at their events. Just a few months ago, I got to attend a grand reopening of a newly renovated store and really show how Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions is really substantially contributing to the community. It’s not just a PR effort; they’re really out there throughout the year connecting with our kids and families.” The gardens have several purposes, he added. “These gardens are really amazing outdoor teaching spaces,” Gurna said. “Kids learn about nutrition, ecology,

Lori Raya, with LA City Council member Nury Martinez, accepted the Community Partner Award from LA’s Best in 2015 on behalf of The Albertsons Companies Foundation and The Vons Foundation for “their commitment to our children and building a healthier community.”




Acosta and its Clients Congratulate Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions 2016 West Retailer of the Year

We also pay tribute to

Lori Raya

2016 West Woman Executive of the Year

Lori Raya, President of the Albertsons/Vons/Pavilion Division

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NOVEMBER 2016 • The Shelby Report of the West


2016 West Retailer of the Year

Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions Supports Habitat for Humanity with Money, Food and Sweat The Albertsons Companies and The Vons Foundation donated more than $200,000 to Habitat for Humanity Greater Los Angeles since 2012. Over the next five years, the chain has committed to $175,000 plus 200 volunteer hours. Erin Rank, president and CEO of the organization, which serves a “significant” portion of Los Angeles County, says that the grocer and its division president, Lori Raya, have “a passionate interest in working with Habitat for Humanity. Over the years they’ve donated funds, they’ve come out to volunteer and they’ve also donated food and beverages for our volunteers for different events we’ve had.” Habitat’s mission is “revitalizing neighborhoods by building new homes and rehabilitating existing homes,” Rank explains. “Our model heavily utilizes donated funds and volunteers to help build and renovate homes. Erin Rank Our homes are built in partnership with the families who will live in them; the homes are sold to the families with an affordable mortgage; and many of our families are able to move out of sub-standard living conditions into decent housing that’s within their ability to afford their payment.” Of special interest to Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions are those builds linked to those who have served in the military. “They have a special interest in building homes for veterans, so in the past, their employees who are veterans and some activeduty personnel who work for Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions have helped us build homes. And, many times, those homes will be inhabited by veterans as well,” Rank says. For the second year in a row, The Albertsons Companies Foundation and The Vons Foundation is the title sponsor of Habitat’s Veterans Build, which is in November this year around Veterans Day, Nov. 11 (the grocer’s foundation also is the 2017 sponsor). Rank says Raya’s support for Habitat likely stems back to her teenage years in a single-parent household and starting at the bottom in the grocery business, as a courtesy clerk. “She started out bagging groceries, and she has a very keen heart for people in the community who work hard and are just trying to raise their families and make ends meet.” Rank also says working with Habitat is satisfying on another level because it’s “very tangible. Once you go out and build, you see that house standing for years to come. You work alongside the family that will be living in the home, and I know (Raya) has been inspired by many of the family stories she’s heard over the years as well.” Habitat for Humanity is a worldwide organization that operates in 70 countries and in communities throughout the U.S., according to Rank. Rank has been with Habitat for 18 years, starting out as the only staff member of the Greater Los Angeles office. She has a master’s degree in education and psychology from Pepperdine University, “so I was on a bit of a different career path than construction, but

I started out as a volunteer and I really enjoyed the organization and had the ability in the early years when there were no staff to help them fund-raise and bring resources together.” She started as a board member, and when the board decided to hire the first paid staff, Rank was it. Since then, “we’ve grown from an organization that had a budget of $200,000 a year to now our budget is about $30 million a year,” she says. “One of the goals of Habitat for Humanity going forward is to concentrate our efforts in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Los Angeles, those that have kind of fallen by the wayside. We call it our Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, where we do deep investment in about a 10-block square area where we’re building new homes, revitalizing existing homes, fixing up community neighborhood buildings and things like that. Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions has really gotten behind us, and the chain’s foundations have really gotten behind us and helped us Please see page 57


The Shelby Report of the West • NOVEMBER 2016

2016 West Retailer of the Year Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions Aids Special Olympics with Both Money and Time A big step toward reaching Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions’ goal to be the favorite local supermarket in Southern California is actively serving the communities around the stores. When the division launched in 2014, its first joint community venture was with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC), according to Andy Barker, SVP of operations for the division, who also serves on the local Special Olympics board. The Albertsons Companies and the Vons Foundation is the official grocery sponsor of Special Olympics Southern California, and this past July all of the 340-plus stores raised money at the checkstand for Special Olympics, resulting in about $1.35 million in donations. Bill Shumard, president and CEO of SOSC, was ecstatic about those results. “This latest campaign is off the charts,” he said. “Record-setting.” Bill Shumard Prior to the formation of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, Vons had been a major corporate sponsor of Special Olympics for three decades, annually raising $200,000-$300,000 in donations. This year, during the 31-day effort in Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores, customers were asked at the checkstand if they wanted to round up their purchase total to the next dollar to benefit Special Olympics’ athletes, resulting in the milliondollar-plus donation. SOSC also helped bring visibility to the effort, sending its athletes to virtually every store location—wearing their medals—to thank store leadership and checkers as well as customers for their support. Year-round, “Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions is a very enthusiastic employer of people with intellectual disabilities, so not only do they hire our athletes, but they encourage our athletes to

Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions’ many Special Olympics volunteers.

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wear their medals—gold, silver and bronze—when they come to work. Can you get better exposure than that? “We are are on a tremendous growth trajectory in reaching significantly more people and changing their lives,” continued Shumard, who has been at the helm of Special Olympics Southern California for the past 10 years. “What Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions has done for us here is going to make us rapidly accelerate our growth pattern.” Special Olympics Southern California (there also is a Northern California branch, making California the only state with two chapters) covers the area from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Southern California comprises 28,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities, Shumard said. The average age is 18, and “we Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions team members pack lunches for do that on a budget of the Summer Games. about $20 million a year—a combination of cash and in-kind donations,” he said, adding that hundreds of competitive and fundraising events take place throughout the year. Twelve sports are part of the Special Olympics—six summer and six fall events. The athletes train for local competitions first. Winners then move on to regional contests and the top finishers ultimately meet at the Summer and Fall Championship events, which are held, respectively, at Long Beach State in June and in Orange County in November. The “summer games” at Long Beach State is the nonprofit organization’s largest competitive event each year. Store employees volunteer their time to various Special Olympics events, including the summer games. According to Shumard, “The grocery chain’s employees for three decades have been coming to Long Beach State in the wee hours of the morning to make literally thousands of sack lunches for the Saturday and Sunday competition.” The chain’s foundation donates the food for the lunches. Shumard, who was a volunteer on the SOSC board of directors prior to taking the president/CEO position, shared interesting insights about the Special Olympics program. It is the world’s largest sports organization, serving nearly 5 million people in 170 countries around the world. It originated nearly 50 years ago in the backyard of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Her sister Rosemary had intellectual disabilities, and Eunice was angered by the way Rosemary and her friends who also had these disabilities were treated. “Eunice had this really simple, ingenious plan of using sports to change their lives,” Shumard said. And lives continue to be changed by Special Olympics. “People with intellectual disabilities that participate in our movement make more friends, they gain more self-confidence, they learn how to be a member of a team, they learn how to win, they learn how to lose, they learn how to communicate and they are twice as likely to have a job than the typical person with intellectual disabilities,” he said.

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ere res oo Montana. In In g in, epen uttin ns, wh a clerk. Rosauers in Libby, 11 sto ighborh for ind movin ly sh joined Albertsons as ed in close nent other towalmart saved an . Montana, where he art Ne t open Bozeman, will e od W ies. In despite e closing for go Walmart e Walm had jus trip to th , s. Th time) -mile arket” fight town, th shuttering kansas ess 10 dM mascu s Ar Texa ay from state of re in Da (after pr nimum borhoo HV. aw igh art . 28 ve a mi KT me y sto Ne day Jan alm te ho er art affilia ha W In its only groc ut down w will s Walm ever S e are ll sh ents no mascu ts CB its first- 11. Thos resithe wi or e at ing ed rep on Da e 20 ette, et th as . Residave our d town, ler open n is Mark ry 2015 in Jun and Grav Arkans un tai seaso ara Alleny A “S ove 54 rb Janua st store. lating aro mega-reairie Gr Decatur rthwest tmas Bu The page see few details thus far, Chris ident Ba a, a.k .a. 19. ry, e No circu le-based and Pr neare Though there are Please Gent res past re, th vil ry ion is Sant on Dec. or g its Quality Food petit e Benton in Gent close. In er y sto This a City forget. do Kroger Co. is rebrandin me n, to a om res ted to t a groc Th Harbor, Washingto front ver w ho more Center (QFC) in Gig Oklah will ne her a ne y to the sla ou ess sto Syca Main & Vine. Expr g stores left with likely ss, gave nning ke ated in new concept called m, on be a am ll ly m. For Le ld the wi house loc a. wi The store’s website, s is tru he website, dent lahom d this -s.f. 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Buy of in fresh, en rea Binko more…right where After total ch of $$ and drawn & Vine will specialize Please see page 62 r ara All Hank s m ea r Le to a The website says Main a wide selecof ou Barb ss CEO up alist fro Buy Fo ations wa and meat as well as each inted ty For Le affordable local produce po s in er. o loc a fin oma Ci guest o was ap rtantly, 54 ercad Decemb lah al ge rm Ok Supe pa of r loy impo use r, wh see end as ou Taylo . “Most ily, beca be Le$$ st week Please well Robert 10 , as in 20 Snell fam wouldn’t d the fir e d years es,” sai Family ylor to th the rt Ta Unite d uniti United bute rship, as Robe Unite .14 year, y. commof The ” is a tri d leade fit The Paul, McNiff, Whitmore-p toric ar today. vice, bene Kevin Konkel-p.10 CEO lebration ion an it is ser s a his nivers lue es to ce Witt, Clark, Verleur-p.6 eir vis rmarket ntur y of initiativ core va tt mark 0th an lahoma, this 10 a pe wi ce d 2016 out th of Ok ves, nr y De raTom Woo with loved su orate a e year mily, rates its Sayre, xas-base ser Fa dmansee it tir ited celeb Store in er, Te . by He celeb , 16 the be commem d an en unities e Un arkets nded yearlong away a bann unities ne Shawn To ited mm Cash fou sig ltid co s Lyons, 18 For ThSuperm Un e ing de e comm tes it wa ted th , giv Unite o a mu e th d and mily Carey Otw opera Market ess Fa d improv any since kick-star 66 stores Unite began as own int res in 36 Shelby Publishin ge 54 53 p pa , ly t ell, 22 s sto gr all pr y an mp see mi on Ex 66 g Since 1967 Wha 16 has Walsh e co mpan y party at berts ited Please d Fa xas, with Lisa of th The co da in 19 y chain e Unite Street, Al ll as Un West Te th . ell 44 bir er we Sn ut et ,p Th th a groc Call our Circ y, le s, as rougho ico. ckson Mark n wi e Ja Toda arkets, location , th w Mex remarkab rd tio bri ulat res Ma ion rm Dep artm ent er y e ha h ce sto stern Ne y is a Supe s groc 19 ar Toll Free at to th ug Ea enien ell, p Otw Amigo d conv th and annivers tament ers thro 888 -498 -077 1 or an Carey fuel s-Fort W r 100th true tes m memb for Sub scri n 12 UNION, SAFE ou d a our tea ptio n Info rma x, p at io WAY IRON Dalla ching t, an eneau PACT TO SAVE OUT tion “Rea lishmen on of all y Arc fo rm Mike Bourgo 700 MARYLAND ati Rand mp ine, long-time WORKERS n In acco and dedic England (AGNE leader of Associ p ti o ) of Pembroke, ated Grocer Teamsters Union work July 3. sc ri s of New New Hampshire leaders, Marylan we have also representatives will retire effecti Sub d officials and thrived, and Bourgoine, presid ich of Safeway have ve we care it is because fo r , wh d ment to stop reached an agreeent and CEO, 1 about an the 7 the m our transit ar will continue 7 customers, ion plan air Bo communities distribution center closure of Safeway’s Collingt the the of ch we live in, Bourgoine joinedwith EVP and COO, Mike to work on finalizing on 9 8 -0 in Prince George’ role man of and other. -4 agreem Violett e AGNE each s ent 8 I County. e. will will th in March of 2001 save more than to COO in 2003 certainly miss The dis. 88 cept Chair emeritu s of de 700 house jobs and every day with as working to ac rrent add an addition Teamster wareCEO, in additio and president in early 2004. EVP and was promoted you as you year an nities ee at center. al 25 make AG even more succes n to He took on page d himay 3. Cu e chairm Ed’s 42 commu enly at the _01-2jobs ll Fr the role of In making the president, later in 2004. 0-60.indd sful.” for d the ke m s aske M 1 While he may The agreement t To der ts beco grateful d ha ective Bourgoine said, retirement announceme also paves the be stepping arke g lea will boar tes an nt to AGNE in a little “My 15 years expansion in the tm en way for possible down be eff kins Jr. ectors is associa a stron d new m our more than ’s associates, years of my pefuture as Safeway working with 67 of will five months, working life. ep ar Bourgoine was Albertsons, continu ’s parent you have been tail ex of dir blix, our e’s been rrent an otion ustry, lie Jen We have accom together. We es to grow its footprin company, clear about nce 19 the best nD in re father’s Char board PM plished much Pu s Jr. “H th in cu d prom r ind have 1/6/16 Coast. taken5:32 t on the East to to ga his little old AG in those years to the future. “Continued AG’s key ing Si many, much la ti o “The rvice to . But ow kin t an ts to ou ward was en join sh from a small gr les cu n larger en expans Jen of li se our Sa C&S ed for wholes m ion ir product offerin wholesaler Wholesale Grocers ub alers to a compa ’s pla and th Nova admired in C year cated rve,” said continu develop le insighd looks g and territo , the firm that New Englan me s, shaw ny that is respec among reach to genera ar by P Safeway distribu ” r rial our operates the ar d and nation aluab the te growth and Cren e for a ye busines ly the sa e Publix blix. as a front tion ted and ity we se d on ou Shel ally. We not e a d inv The bo of Pu prospe originally planned center and employs its workers for our custom C al l se ed to en ak only survive rienc brokerag sudd mitt ’s provide boards. success s of age, rked in focu mPM ers. The vision rd, but to m d 1 d tions to Pennsyl to move its warehouse opera-, ar co e wo ager in for tail 4:03 ye d He th us vania, food hepage_01-62.ind r die decided . re 6 He e an 15 which would 1/1 more than 700 have displace ciates numero continu 80, at Florida. re man gional ed 1/2 ty of Please see page workers, most his fat enshaw d to varie s promot e asso ing on in 19 ach, a sto 97, re of whom live in George’s County. Cr 11 Ed a er Mike Bourgo d ing th Be re th Prince rv 19 in an wa ca se ine wi na com er in reer. rking s, he ations for , he e be ag 50 Smyr rking gan his his ca wo sition er page 1990 ion wo Jones be in New ions befor trict man see After ort po tail op rk . In Key Food Stores dis sit Please see page re Please 1984 d Divis aw supp of Staten Island, ice cle re po 9 ed to York, a superm and ector of ion in itor New ensh . serv ty of sto promot FANCY FOO kelan arket cooper O of ith/ed ative with 217 primarily memb to dir d Divis the La 1991, Crision VP varie He was d, as CE Griff CELEBRATES DS er-owned and in kelan VP of tors. In as div tire Lakelan rrie 88. re La nt grocer Lo 19 corpor ll 35TH y e stores, has ide ec by ate lus m ion brand in the acquired The ANNIVERSAR ts in a 40-p aw wi beca ard of dir ta Divis d to pres New York marke Emporium banner nes Food ensh Marke ing an exciting Y an dd Jo t. lan bo by his Cr name ain e low r To At and time 94 ed lectual related intelth Ed e for our compa This is pe fol property assets integrate The to rem, the d to start th tail in 19 found ny as we x Su ril 30 from A&P. In Food Empor tion, The Gala re to plans electe ion aw Publi a, on Ap the chain Jenkins. Todd addiium and other stores acquir Fresh banner was Atlanta to EVP- 2008. . ensh shaw In addit ed from A&P Key Food. and has joined Florid reer at orge W le will be nt of Ed Cr Cren O in into our superrs. market family. s oted ed to ca ide ” mov s prom med CE as CEO, directo sines Currently, Key year. year ather, Ge CEO ro as pres of na a bu Key Food plans df d this on s, operating under Food has four stores He wa He was down board th his gran ding the s served tting odele banner Emporium banner to expand The Food l Texa and ge ssion wi being The Food 96. pping Publix ha rem ra Ad 19 banner o ay ste nt Empor by rebranding are e in New York. ium few 08. existing stores s, wh in ce rt Worth a discuess—and else in selected d they After r of th e Sa that Jone x since 20 ew up Key Food recent sh an when ilize th new store acquis fit this model and with embe e fre in Fo ty. After busin anyone Publix gr ly m m bli purcha ut to ol a stores, adding ily sed 24 A&P rsi Pu itions. ho as d w na , will shaw ted approximatel Key Food also 15 be devo Cren high sc r Univeg the fam rtunity he joine Florida. t a ne y $400 in annual retail announced ll ge uary 20 will ll be po ing s, Baylo opening of ; nin rk— the grand sales and bringin million a wi itor Jan its first Gala ace wi ch store. es alike our new finish from out joi same op rd wo ke Wale billion. bally g total annua 1 Florid ay in ion. ith/ed e sp ye Fresh ee at 2485 Grand ab s glo dd the with ha in La l retail sales Griff res in Safew ton Divis els. Mor on in ea d emplo mplete, degr ather Avenue in Baldw location store Dean Janewa to $2.3 50 have rrie e_0 th s sto ati df York, on Dec. 2 od us 269 an y, pag “The Gala Fresh in, New uld succeed, ice clerk n co page by Lo gran rtson erged wi its Ho the rem 18. The Food EmporKey Food’s CEO, said, see y’s 10 cks loc tomers s. Whe close banner is a rv to he wo “Key Food is in m arbu e Albe us ium name and will in very welcom mpan en in Please told mpany front-se excited to own Food family of superm thre s, which included ested for a St said, “C ese store be e addition to at it e co to be associa arkets,” said t co business. “The The inv e th had e th the Key ted with this on 15 th er John Durante, ade the 74 as a heas Jorge family storied Jan. U.S. berts which ar will be ll be m y Hopp nsform includ s, which e Sout Key Food’s VP 19 id Al has se worke on sa e in tra d so hard to of o wi Sidne res, art ll clo Expres are in th milli in th create a shoppi s, ing to om alsesident the stoarly $10 Walm em are s that wi almart nter res ng e go s; ro re Pr W perce ess Ne of th we ar the sto Please see page food 154 e U.S. sto stores, vision how its Su e busin e of 9 ialty erc spec uston Di they see Th t format Fifty-nin s on m cu . om fo es Ho when 11 tead ing its e-c stomers. Markets, small since 20 ed d ll ins cu excit rhoo ubs. pilot ge 50). id it wi and growices for -p.12 pa ighbo Sam’s Cl r way. sa kets Taylor (see r p serv 23 Ne art de Mar Ellie Walm rhood ing picku res are s and fou o was un 50 bo nd closu t center portfoli page Neigh ll as expa in the see coun .40 ed store Please hill-p as we includ , six dis w of its Berry Also to Rico e revie bee, tiv Ogles Puer llon s in an ac McMi store ber that Doug ven 6 s, se in Octo hn-p. nter id la Ko perce any sa me Su Pa 12 e comp Th

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Ribbon” Creek Road. Baseline Road and Day northwest corner of et is being develfull-service supermark The new 44,000-s.f. Creek Marketplace. U.S. Sen. Ted Centers in the Day Jan. 8 Cruz (R-T at a oped by Lewis Retail . store will be a co-anchor a se eve Casey’s Generalexas) made a dining and The A full-service drug campaig Store as friendly aisles, indoor country nts bring mem n stop et will With wider, customerpart , offering bers in Stater Bros. supermark new indu “this them the of congres of the NACS Manly, Iowa, and an exten- stry and new décor scheme, s into con In Stor on shopping experience This eve local operati opportunity e program give customers an exciting healthy products,” the chain said. to gain venience stor ons nt mar . and es firsthan ks the first . in ing ts found Dur sive assortment of fresh d knowle across the in 201 the full-service departmen counter NACS In Stor dge of saving It also will include all energy and e events, 6 with a pres many the interact New York ets and incorporate s with peo the member idential can added. its newer supermark Times, dida practices, Stater Bros. thecity ple of friendly the con ntally in cou senator the loca gress wor te. et in the nter, whe and environme l com Stater Bros. supermark ks custom re he offe ’s 45-minut ers. This will be the third e visit did munity. Acc behind the red to ord get gas, include ing Please see page 62 Powerba some tim to The ll tickets e and Slus behind hies for



Griffin Report RT Y Fem Executive of the ale Year

. 12 le–p



fi et Pro Mark


See pg. 30


0 6 3:3



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2016 West Retailer of the Year

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Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions Chosen as Rams’ Grocery Partner on Team’s Return to L.A. The National Football League’s Rams announced in January 2016 that the team would return to Los Angeles after spending two decades in St. Louis. In August, the Los Angeles Rams chose Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions as its official grocery partner. Kevin Demoff, COO of the Rams, said, “When the team announced the relocation in January, we set about trying to identify partners that we thought made sense for the Rams, in size and scope; (that was) best in class; and had a passion for the return of football to the Los Angeles market. Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions and Lori (Raya, division president) checked all of those boxes. Kevin Demoff “They provide us a great platform as the largest retailer in Southern California,” Demoff continued. “Lori is a passionate football fan and the entire staff really wowed us with their passion around the NFL and how they can activate around the NFL… they are best-in-class partners for us to team up with on a homecoming partnership.” Raya said, “When we heard the Rams were coming back to Southern California, we knew it would be a great partnership. We knew it was going to be great to have them back for their 50th season and their inaugural season.” The Rams will play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for three seasons, according to Demoff. The Coliseum also is where the USC Trojans play football, so that affects the amount of signage about the new partnership that can be placed around the stadium. So the link between the Rams and Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions will get the most activation at the store level. As the Official Grocer of the Rams, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores will sell clear bags feature the Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions logos as well as the Rams logo. These tote bags are compliant with the NFL’s Clear Bag Policy, which is in effect at all Rams games this fall. In honor of the Rams 50th season in Los Angeles, 50 cents from each bag purchased will benefit the Rams Foundation. Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions also will have the opportunity to use in-store product displays that inform customers about the stores’ partnership with the Rams. The goal is to make it “so that when people think of the Rams, they think of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions; when they walk through those doors they realize their deep connection with the NFL and the Rams,” Demoff said. The fact that the grocer has stores throughout Southern California is in line with the returning Rams’ desire to connect with sports fans all over the region. “We have a practice headquarters in Thousand Oaks; we’re doing training camp in Orange County. We’ll play our games downtown at the Coliseum,” Demoff said. “We want to have great geographical breadth throughout the region, and I think their coverage of stores gives us that.” Different customer demographics also are reached by the different banners. “As you go through the Albertsons,

Vons and Pavilions chain, you move up and down through different communities, through different opportunities to touch people. There is a store right near our training camp; in Orange County there is one right near our practice facility; and another in Thousand Oaks. They seem to be everywhere,” Demoff said. “I think for us that’s key because we want to reintegrate the NFL and the Los Angeles Rams into our fans’ daily lives. What better way to do that than with a partner who is ubiquitous in the region?” The Rams/Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions partnership already has yielded plans for community events, and Demoff anticipates more collaborative efforts to grow from it. “How do we partner up with Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions to find their passion and help use the resources of the Los Angeles Rams to help contribute to their causes, and how do we bring them into our causes?” is the question, Demoff said. The Rams historically have participated in turkey drives around Thanksgiving, and he said the Rams will use its “star power”—its players—to hand out turkeys to those who need them this holiday season. “We talk all the time about using the power of the NFL to make this a better community, whether on the field or off the field,” Demoff said. “When I look at Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, I think they have used their platform as one of the largest grocers to help those in the Southern California region in need, and I think that alignment, what we can tackle together given our scope and size, is really wonderful. Everywhere we’ve been in the community we’ve been fortunate throughout each step that they’ve been right next to us, whether it’s providing food for playground builds or other things. They’re always asking, ‘where are you going to be today and how can we help?’ And I think we ask the same question; how can we contribute to your efforts and your awareness? I think there is a lot of synergy between the two, and we’re just starting to explore that.” Raya concurred. Over multiple meetings between the grocer and the team, “we talked about who we were as a company, our heritage to Southern California,” she said. “The first Vons store was opened in 1906 on the corner of 7th and Figueroa—that’s Los Angeles. We’re very proud to still be part of Los Angeles. But really what drew myself personally and I think the Rams organization to Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions is both of our passions for the community and giving back.” Raya even took to social media at a partnership kickoff event in September that was held at the Albertsons store in Tujunga. She went live on Facebook to talk about being the official grocery partner of the Rams while inside the store. The event actually brought in another of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions’ partners, Special Olympics. Special Olympics athletes were there participating with the Rams. And the grocery chain certainly hopes Rams fans will keep its stores in mind when planning their trips to the Rams games. “We are ready to be the pregame destination for them and all their tailgating needs,” Raya said.

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NOVEMBER 2016 • The Shelby Report of the West

2016 West Retailer of the Year

From page 53

finance some of that neighborhood revitalization work. There’s some nice synchronicity with some of the other community investments they make with food banks or education, schools, things like that. So we’re looking at broader partnerships to where we might be revitalizing old neighborhoods together.” As far Raya being named Woman Executive of the Year, Rank says, “we’re big fans of Lori. I think she has a great personal story and she has proven herself to be a great leader. Well deserved.”

Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions and ABC7 Partner to Fight Hunger Cheryl Fair, president and GM of ABC7 in Los Angeles, spoke about the station’s partnership with Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions on programs that fight hunger in Southern California communities. Q: How does the partnership between Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions and ABC7 benefit the community? The partnership between ABC7 and Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions harnesses the power of two strong community-facing brands to make a difference in our community. The campaign raises awareness of a serious issue and makes a real impact in addressing it. The result is an ever-growing success in generating food donations for our local food banks. The first year that we partnered in this campaign, we raised a little over a million pounds of food. This year, we raised a record 5.6 million pounds of food—the equivalent of nearly 5 million meals. Q: How has Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions supported the ABC7 Feed SoCal Food Drive? Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions is an essential partner. They make $5 bags of nonperishable food items available for their customers to donate. The bags, which provide a meal to a family of four, have been a simple and effective way to allow the community to participate in helping those in need. They also graciously host our daylong StuffA-Truck events where the public can come out to show their support by donating food at three of their store locations. Additionally, they donate $10,000 to each of our community food bank partners, which they support with product donations and volunteer support year round. They are “all in,” and we really appreciate their commitment to this important cause.

Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions support a “Power Women Power Tools” build day, where employees join Raya in putting on their hard hats and pounding nails for a day.

Congratulations Albertsons, Vons, & Pavilions on being named Retailer of the Year

Congratulations Lori Raya for being voted Woman Executive of the Year

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Albertsons-Vons-Pavilions 2016 West Retailor of the Year  

Albertsons-Vons-Pavilions 2016 West Retailor of the Year

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