Phoenix, Arizona-based 4Front Holdings LLC, a leading retail and brand development company in the U.S. cannabis sector, has tapped Glenn Backus to serve as president of Mission, the company’s network of branded retail operations. He will report directly to CEO Josh Rosen.
Backus brings a unique combination of operations as well as product development experience to his new role. He served as VP of buying at Trader Joe’s, where he led buying teams across national and regional categories and worked with category leaders to create, develop and bring to market 600 new items a year. He also previously served as Trader Joe’s VP of store operations for New York, New Jersey and Ohio.
After his time at Trader Joe’s, Backus was appointed president of Sunflower Markets (a subsidiary of Supervalu), where he successfully grew the company’s profitability by increasing sales, right-sizing underlying cost structures, optimizing product mix, driving innovation, building the brand and increasing customer and employee engagement. Following Sunflower’s acquisition by Albertson’s, Backus served as director of marketing and strategy at H-E-B, a Texas-based grocery chain, and then as SVP of brand, innovation and retail strategy at Topco, which at roughly $12 billion in sales is the country’s largest retail food group purchasing organization.
Most recently, Backus served as principle for a boutique consulting company that provides innovative solutions to persistent problems in the areas of customer experience, product, merchandising and marketing. He’s also founder of Revolution Brands, which creates and launches innovative new food and beverage brands.
Backus is a faculty member at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management in Chicago, where he teaches MBA-level classes on innovation, business strategy and leadership.
“Glenn brings a unique combination of experience and capabilities to both 4Front and Mission, particularly with his formative years supporting the rapid growth of Trader Joe’s, a specialty retailer that operates in an environment that in many ways closely resembles the frequently vertically integrated cannabis retail ecosystem,” Rosen said. “There are not many people in this industry with his mix of operations and product development experience, not to mention the entrepreneurial drive that led him to form his own product development company. We’re looking forward to applying Glenn’s entrepreneurial spirit, operational acumen and natural leadership as we seek to grow Mission into one of the country’s leading cannabis retailers.”
Mission currently operates five legal cannabis retail operations in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. In 2019, it expects to open several more stores within existing and new markets.