ROFDA Conference Starts With Retailer Focus
J. H. “Jay” Campbell Jr., president and CEO of Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge and ROFDA chairman, kicked off the Retailer Owned Food Distributors & Associates (ROFDA) Spring Conference earlier this month by reminding attendees what ROFDA is all about: “Our Independent Retail Grocers.”
Held May 18-21 at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Amelia, Fla., the conference, Campbell said, is “about business, but it’s also about the relationships we nurture due to our commonality of purpose; serving the independent retail grocer in the best way possible…together.
“To that end, I would like to introduce ROFDA’s new purpose statement and a mission statement, which were both approved at this particular conference during our board meeting. It better reflects what ROFDA’s all about,” Campbell told attendees.
• Purpose statement: A cooperative formed to facilitate and enhance the success of independent retail grocers.
• Mission statement: “Cooperatively united to utilize and leverage all available resources, industry best practices and business relationships to provide added value to our independent retail grocers.”
“Our mission is meant to connect our members in ways to better serve our independent retailers,” said Campbell, noting that ROFDA’s mission is crucial, since the marketplace remains tough for independents.
“The challenges for (independent retailer grocers) are not going to get any easier. Competition in the marketplace is not going to give anyone a pass. In fact, the competition is going to make us work every minute of every day,” warned Campbell, adding that ROFDA has renewed its commitment to those very retailers.
“We will commit hardily,” he said, “and we will fight valiantly for them.”
In the featured photo at top is Jay Campbell with Gary Millard and Francis Cameron. (Find more photos from the ROFDA Spring Conference here.)
IGA Partners With Wounded Warrior Project In Annual IGA Donation Drive
IGA has joined forces again with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) in its third annual IGA Exclusive Brand donation initiative. During this national campaign—running in participating IGA stores from Memorial Day weekend (May 27) through Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3)—a number of WWP co-branded IGA Exclusive Brand products will be available for purchase in participating IGA stores. By fall of this year, IGA plans to donate up to $200,000 to WWP.
For 2013, IGA will again make available specially marked cases of WWP-branded IGA bottled spring and drinking water, as well as WWP-branded IGA hot dog and hamburger buns. New for 2013, IGA also has added WWP-branded IGA ice cream.
As in years past, IGA Red Oval Partner Kraft Foods Group will be joining in with a contribution from displays placed in IGA stores. Kraft-featured beverage enhancers include MiO, Crystal Light and Kool-Aid and, new through a partnership with Hershey and Nabisco, IGA retailers also will be offered S’mores shippers.
“Over the past two years we have been overwhelmed with the support our independent IGA retailers and their IGA shoppers gave this WWP event, and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with our IGA retailers, licensed distribution center partners, Exclusive Brand suppliers and Red Oval Partners Kraft Foods Group, Nabisco and Hershey to raise funds and awareness for WWP again in 2013,” said Dave Bennett, IGA SVP of procurement and Exclusive Brands. “We look forward to seeing how IGA’s innovative retailers will use this event to benefit WWP’s important mission to honor and empower our nation’s wounded service members.”
More than $385,000 has been donated to Wounded Warrior Project in the name of IGA retailers since 2011.
According to WWP, nearly 50,000 of the nation’s servicemen and women have been physically wounded during the current military conflicts, with hundreds of thousands more estimated to be recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and brain injuries. WWP assists injured service members and their families through a holistic approach to their recovery, providing programs and services to aid their physical rehabilitation and improving their mental health and wellbeing.
The Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) is the world’s largest voluntary supermarket network with aggregate worldwide retail sales of more than $31 billion per year. The Alliance includes more than 5,000 Hometown Proud Supermarkets worldwide, supported by 36 distribution companies and more than 50 major manufacturers, vendors and suppliers known as IGA’s Red Oval Family partners. IGA has operations in 46 of the United States and more than 30 countries, commonwealths and territories.
Publix Raising Funds For Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
Beginning Saturday, more than a thousand Publix Super Markets will encourage customers and associates to make a donation at the register for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a charity raising funds and awareness for local children’s hospitals.
The three-week campaign will help provide needed treatment, services, equipment and charitable care to sick and injured children in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.
2013 marks 21 years that Publix associates and customers will rally to help hospitals through the purchase of $1, $3 and $5 icons at store checkouts. In addition to helping fund a variety of life-saving treatments and services, Publix customers can receive in-store coupons up to $20 in value as an incentive for their donation.
The donation coupon book includes discounts on products from Del Monte Foods, Kellogg’s, Mars Chocolate, Pepsi and Frito-Lay (Lay’s), Wrigley, Mars Petcare, Cat’s Pride and Georgia Pacific paper products.
“No one understands the importance of local giving and impact better than Publix customers and employees, and no one is more deserving than children who enter a hospital for critical treatment,” says John Lauck, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals president and CEO. “We’re thrilled that with new supermarket openings over the past year Publix is now able to help 21 of our member hospitals provide the absolute best in pediatric care.”
Tops Acquires Four Additional Big M Stores
Tops Friendly Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont, said Thursday that the company has completed the acquisition of four Big M supermarkets.
In March, Tops entered into an agreement with the Bonisteel family to acquire four Big Supermarkets located in Boonville, Watertown, Sandy Creek and Adams, N.Y. The acquisition expands Tops’ footprint further into areas of northern and central New York State and follows Tops’ acquisition of three Big M supermarkets located in Elbridge, Mexico and Jordan, N.Y., earlier this year.
“We are excited about this growth opportunity for Tops, as we bring these new stores into the Tops family,” said Frank Curci, Tops Markets’ president and CEO. “These stores are a natural addition to our current footprint and we look forward to meeting the needs of our new neighbors and customers, providing them with a positive shopping experience that focuses on variety, freshness, convenience and exceptional value.”
Curci added that Tops will pursue a capital improvement program and each of the four stores will be remodeled and will transition to the Tops banner by late June. There are 280 associates employed at these locations, and Tops has offered all associates at each of the four locations continued employment with Tops. The company will continue to operate all stores without any interruption in service.
Tops Markets operates 159 full-service supermarkets—154 company owned and five franchise locations—under the Tops, Grand Union and Bryant’s banners. The company has more than 15,000 associates.
Sweetbay, Harveys On The Sale Block?
Sweetbay, which has its corporate offices in Tampa, Fla., had 105 stores in the Sunshine State at the end of 2012. The chain closed 33 Sweetbay locations between Homosassa and Naples earlier this year. Harveys operates in North Florida and South Georgia.
Delhaize CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers, who is set to retire later this year, told Reuters that the company was looking at options but declined to comment directly on the possible sale of Sweetbay and Harveys.
Cerberus Said To Be Mulling Bid For Harris Teeter, Other Chains
Cerberus Capital Management LP, which earlier this year acquired several chains from Supervalu, is considering about half a dozen grocery chains for potential bids—including Harris Teeter Supermarkets—as it weighs whether to further expand its grocery business, The Wall Street Journal reports.
As The Shelby Report previously reported, Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter is said to be considering a sale. The grocery chain operates approximately 200 stores in eight states and the District of Columbia.
On May 8, the company said in a securities filing that it is in discussions with “certain parties” about strategic alternatives but that it is unknown whether the talks will result in a deal, the paper says.
Another private-equity firm, Bain Capital LLC, also has been eyeing a potential bid for the chain, people familiar with the situation told the Journal.
“Harris Teeter would be a departure for Cerberus,” the Journal reports. “The grocer offers higher-end goods compared with Cerberus’s mostly down-market chains. Also, it has a veteran management team and is seen as better-run and less of a turnaround candidate relative to some of the other businesses the firm is looking at, said (a) person familiar with the matter, who added that Cerberus at this point hasn’t decided whether to seriously pursue a bid.”
Cerberus is mostly focused on small, lower-margin businesses that are closely held, a person told the Journal.
Kroger’s Mid-South Division President Hackett To Retire After 50 Years
The Kroger Co.’s Mid-South Division President John Hackett is set to retire after 50 years of service. His last day with the company will be June 28.
Hackett began his career with Kroger in 1963 as a store clerk in London, Ohio, working his way through college at The Ohio State University. Following graduation he entered the Kroger management training program in 1968, which led to a variety of marketing and operations roles in the Columbus and Indianapolis divisions. In 1984, Hackett was promoted to director of merchandising of the Louisville division. In 1990 he was promoted to division president where he oversaw the merger of the Louisville and Nashville divisions to create the Mid-South division.
According to Kroger President and COO Rodney McMullen, “During his 50-year career, John has consistently demonstrated his passion for and commitment to our associates, our customers and our local communities. In addition to being a great executive, John is a first-class human being and person. When you define a gentleman the definition is John Hackett. We thank John and his wife Kay for their many years of dedicated service and wish them the best in retirement. I am sure John will remain involved in serving the Kroger family through his community service, passionately advocating for the causes that matter deeply to John and his family.”
Hackett has served as the division’s president for 23 of his 50 years at Kroger. Through his entire career, he has always welcomed change and been passionate about growing the business, according to Kroger. During his 29 years in Louisville, the division grew from 55 stores to 161 and sales increased more than 10-fold. Under his watch the Mid-South Division pioneered self-checkout, opened the company’s first Kroger fuel station and the first Little Clinic. Hackett also led an associate safety initiative that reduced accidents by 70 percent and became a model for the entire Kroger company.
Hackett is known for his compassionate leadership and the development of those who work with him. He serves on the Board of Overseers for the University of Louisville and is Board Emeritus for the Dare to Care Food Bank. He served as a trustee for the Louisville Urban League and is a former board member of Bellarmine University, the Louisville Economic Development Association and the Metropolitan College Steering Committee. He also served as president, chairman and director of the Kentucky Retail Federation.
Hackett has been married to his wife Kay for 45 years. They are the proud parents of two adult children, Ann and John, and have six grandchildren.
Kroger’s Mid-South Division is based in Louisville. The division employs 22,000 associates and operates 161 stores in Kentucky, Tennessee, southern Indiana and southern Illinois.
Tennessee Food Tax Reduction Goes Into Effect July 1
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation earlier this week to reduce the state sales tax on groceries by .25 percent at a ceremony at Sloan’s Grocery in Vonore, Tenn.
The Memphis Business Journal reports that the state portion of the sales tax on groceries was 5.25 percent, now it is 5 percent.
“We’re lowering taxes and balancing the state budget by managing conservatively, making strategic investments in our priorities and finding new ways to make government more efficient and effective,” Haslam said.
The bill was introduced by the governor. Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) co-sponsored the bill.
The reduction goes into effect July 1. The reduced tax rate does not apply to restaurant meals, candy, alcoholic beverages or tobacco.