Mike Rand, COO of Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers, plans to retire at the end of this year. He has served the company in a variety of roles during his 34-year tenure.
“Seeing the company grow from two divisions and $1 billion in sales in 1980 to seven divisions, nine DCs and almost $9 billion in sales, including VMC (Valu Merchandisers Co.) and Always Fresh, in my time here makes me very proud of the continuous growth pattern AWG has achieved,” Rand said. “There have been many success stories over the years and they will continue to be written as AWG moves forward.”
Along with Rand’s retirement, AWG announced two promotions.
Effective Sept. 7, David Smith, SVP and division manager of the Gulf Coast Division, will be placed on special assignment reporting to Rand. Smith joined AWG in 2003 as director of real estate for the Nashville Division and was promoted to director of member services in 2007. In 2009, he was promoted to VP of merchandising for the Memphis Division. When AWG decided to open the Gulf Coast Division, Smith was chosen as SVP and division manager and was instrumental in the successful launch of AWG’s newest division.
Smith has been in the grocery industry for many years, starting as a teen in a family-owned business. He spent 17 years with Fleming in positions ranging from retail development manager to GM of the Nashville Division.
Also effective Sept. 7, Bob Durand, VP of merchandising for the Gulf Coast Division, will be promoted to SVP and division manager of the Gulf Coast Division, also reporting to Rand. In 2012, Durand was promoted to VP of merchandising and worked alongside Smith in opening the new Gulf Coast Division.
Durand has held numerous management positions in the grocery industry, beginning as a store manager in 1977. His work history includes time with Mega Market, Fleming and S&C Foods. He came to AWG as a group sales manager for the Nashville Division in 2008 and was promoted to member services director in 2009.
AWG is an 88-year-old retailer-owned grocery cooperative with annual sales of $8.38 billion. AWG’s existing full-line distribution centers are located in Kansas City, Springfield, Mo., Oklahoma City, Okla., Southhaven, Miss., Goodlettsville, Tenn., Fort Worth, Texas, and Pearl River, La. The VMC facilities are located in Ft. Scott, Kan., and Memphis, Tenn. AWG currently has more than 600 member-owners and services more than 3,000 retail outlets in 31 states.