Delhaize Names Food Lion’s Inman 2012 Store Manager Of The Year
Food Lion Store Manager Charles Inman, who leads the Food Lion located at 238 Pritchard Rd. in Clayton, N.C., has been named Delhaize Group’s Store Manager of the Year. Inman was selected from 3,400 store managers across the globe. He received the award during a surprise ceremony at his store on Monday.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this distinguished award,” Inman said. “I want to thank the entire team of store associates who make our store great for customers every day.”
In February, Inman was named Food Lion’s Store Manager of the Year. As a result, he became eligible for the Delhaize Group award, joining 11 other store managers representing the best from across the company.
“Charles is an excellent leader in his store, in the community and across our company,” said Beth Newlands Campbell, president of Food Lion. “He is an incredibly humble leader who inspires his team to deliver outstanding service to our customers, ensuring they are top of mind with everyone who works in his store. Charles continuously helps shoppers and praises associates for a job well done. He is also highly regarded as a strong developer of talent across the organization.”
Delhaize Group’s Store Manager Excellence Award is based on a number of areas, including financial performance, operational excellence, people management and Delhaize Group values, including integrity, determination, courage, humility and humor.
Inman joined Food Lion in 2002 as a cashier, and has held positions of increasing responsibility, including produce manager, office manager and assistant store manager. He resides in Cary, N.C.
Georgia Grocery Veteran Slocum Passes Away
Mr. Carlton Slocum, a former Georgia Food Industry Association board member and former owner of Giant Foods in Warner Robins, Ga., passed away Saturday at the age of 76.
Mr. Slocum was born in Ararat Township, Pa., on Dec. 27, 1936, to Harold and Vera Slocum. He was member of Christ United Methodist Church, where he served as finance chairman. He also was a Mason and Shriner, a 29-year perfect attendance member of the Warner Robins Rotary Club and a member of the Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sister Eudora Potter.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sylvia Slocum; children, Denise Fortenberry (Bill) and Diane Ryan (Pat); grandchildren, Billy and Brett Fortenberry; great-grandchildren, James and David Fortenberry; and siblings, Marilyn Laurer (George) and Gary Slocum.
Visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at McCullough Funeral Home in Warner Robins. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Christ United Methodist Church with burial following in Magnolia Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Christ United Methodist Church Building Fund, 511 Russell Pkwy., Warner Robins, GA 31088; or the American Diabetes Association, One Corporate Square, Atlanta, GA 30329.
Unified’s Neal Details Co-Op’s Loan Services For Members
Christine Neal has an important job at Unified Grocers. As SVP of finance and treasurer for the company, part of her job is managing loans for the co-op’s members so as to allow them to grow and remodel stores.
“We’re trying to broaden how we look at that and actually help them find financial solutions,” she told The Shelby Report during Unified’s Expo 2013 this week. “Sometimes if a retailer wants to sell, they’ve never done that before. They’ve owned their business, they’ve run their business for 30 or 40 years and now there’s no succession plans in place, so what do they do? We try to help facilitate that. One, find a buyer, and also help them go through the process—how they might consider valuing the business, how the buyer might find financing. If we can play a role in that we will…”
Grocers Capital Co., a Unified subsidiary, handles this side of the business. Neal said that, while she knows of some other wholesalers who offer this type of service, she’d be hard pressed to find one that does so to the extent Unified does.
“Our subsidiary Grocers Capital Co. has a loan portfolio of over $25 million, and that’s low (for us),” she says. “It’s actually been higher than that in the past.”
The financial and loan services offered by Unified facilitates a great partnership between the wholesaler and its members, according to Neal.
“I was talking to one of the retailers here at the show that we had helped with a buy/sell arrangement, and he said to me, let me know if you guys have any stores that I might be interested in, and I said, ‘You’re always on our radar.’ And he said, ‘That’s the partnership. We can run the stores, you can help us find them and help us finance them…’”
Neal understands the importance of such partnerships. She’s considered a food industry veteran.
She worked for Gelson’s as a controller for seven years and spent several years as the CFO for the California Restaurant Association. She later began working with Certified Grocers and she stayed on board when it merged with United in 1999; the merged company later became Unified Grocers. Neal has a passion for the independent grocer, and so does Unified.
“This is a big global economy and to the extent that we can help keep these local and family-owned businesses alive in America and help them compete, that’s what we do,” she said. “And we need to keep doing that and not let this ‘localness’ die out.”
Kraft Foods Group Creates Two New Business Units
Kraft Foods Group plans to create two new standalone business units: Meals and Desserts, and Enhancers and Snack Nuts. With the creation of these new business units, the company says it will be able to place even greater focus on brand building while reducing the complexity of managing a portfolio with many distinct brands and product categories. The new business structures become effective July 1.
The business units are being created by dividing the brands in the company’s grocery segment into two standalone business units. Categories and brands that have natural synergies like Cool Whip and Jell-O will remain together. The Planters brand will benefit from having the snack nuts and peanut butter categories managed under one leadership structure, Kraft says.
The business units will include many of Kraft’s leading brands:
• Meals and Desserts—Cool Whip whipped topping, Jet-Puffed marshmallows, Jell-O dry packaged and ready-to-eat desserts, Kraft Mac & Cheese dinner, Shake ‘N Bake coatings, Stove Top stuffing mix and Velveeta dinners and meal kits.
• Enhancers and Snack Nuts—A.1. steak sauce, Grey Poupon premium mustards, Kraft and Bulls-Eye barbecue sauces, Kraft and Good Seasons dressings, Kraft and Miracle Whip spoonable dressings and Planters nuts, trail mixes and peanut butters.
Kraft will begin reporting the financial results of these business units as separate segments at the end of its third fiscal quarter 2013. The company also will make historical results for these new segments available by the end of its third quarter.
“Since we launched the new Kraft, we’ve focused heavily on turbocharging our iconic brands. And we’ve made a lot of progress thanks to great marketing and innovation,” said Tony Vernon, Kraft CEO. “With the creation of our two newest business units and great leaders in place, we’re taking an important step to strengthen our focus on some of the most beloved brands in North America.”
Michael Osanloo will be EVP and president of Meals and Desserts. Currently EVP and president of Kraft’s grocery business unit, Osanloo spearheaded the reinvigoration of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Velveeta dinners, Kraft says. His team also launched one of Kraft’s most recent new product successes, Velveeta Cheesy Skillets.
Jane Hilk will be EVP and president of Enhancers and Snack Nuts. Hilk is a 22-year veteran at Kraft who currently serves as SVP of marketing for Oscar Mayer. Under her leadership, the business launched ground-breaking new advertising campaigns for its flagship brands and introduced Oscar Mayer Selects, one of Kraft’s newest $100 million product lines, the company says.
The leaders of the new business units will report directly to Vernon.
“These businesses have many of Kraft’s most well-known and celebrated brands,” said Vernon. “I’m excited to have two of our most seasoned and strategic leaders bringing their considerable talents to these brand franchises.”
A Q&A Session With Brookshire’s Rick Rayford
‘We look forward to growing in Louisiana’
Rick Rayford, president and CEO of Brookshire Grocery Co., recently chatted with The Shelby Report about business and more.
Tyler, Texas-based Brookshire’s currently operates 26 Brookshire’s and 19 Super 1 Foods stores in Louisiana, between Shreveport and Lafayette.
Rayford joined Brookshire Grocery Co. in 1972 and spent 20 years in various areas of warehouse and distribution leadership. He became president and CEO in 2007 after serving as EVP of distribution/manufacturing and EVP of corporate development. He has two daughters and seven grandchildren.
Q: Give us a snapshot of the types/sizes/banners you operate in Louisiana.
The sizes vary, but our Super 1 Foods stores are typically larger because they are a warehouse-type store, focused on value. Our Brookshire’s stores focus more on customer service.
Q: Update us on store growth your company has experienced over the last year.
Over the last year we have been very busy opening new stores and remodeling others. During 2013 we have celebrated nine remodels in Louisiana, with one more in progress. We also acquired four Louisiana Kaye’s Food Stores and have converted three of those to Brookshire’s and one to Super 1 Foods.
Q: What plans have you announced for store growth/remodeling in the upcoming year?
We have many projects and initiatives under way that will allow us to improve facilities. We will continue to update our stores and systems using technology and other resources to improve our operations.
Q: Update us on the services you are focusing on in newer stores—expanded produce, bulk items, prepared foods, health and wellness, etc. Are you offering your customers anything new/different because of the recession?
In certain stores we are offering more chef-prepared foods, as well as sushi, salad bars and gourmet olive bars. We recently remodeled a store in Shreveport to include his and her wellness pods, a bulk section providing oats, granola, nuts, quinoa and more, an expanded wine section and a juice/fresh-cut fruit bar. We have specific marketing programs in both brands to help our customers save money.
Q: How do you gauge interest in your concept? Is your concept built around a particular demographic; tailored to each neighborhood? If so, how?
Decision in brand is based on many factors, including location, available land, socio-economic makeup of the area, population density, consumer research, consumer demand and other factors.
Q: What accomplishment by your company over the past year are you most proud of?
We have accomplished a lot over the past year that we are very proud of. We recently established a women’s leadership group to help increase visibility for our female employees/partners. We have also partnered with the Western Association of Food Chains to offer the Retail Management Certificate to all of our employees, and have more than 100 currently enrolled in the program. In addition, we have had numerous store upgrades and new store openings. It has been a great year, and as more projects roll out, we anticipate continued growth and success.
Q: How do you deliver on customer service? Is employee turnover a concern? How do you keep employees engaged?
We’re more of a neighborhood market and we’re able to respond quickly by being involved in the community and listening to the needs of our customers. We have a customer feedback program called “We’re Listening” with phone lines answered by real people rather than an automated system. We provide outstanding service that we call “legendary customer service” to let our shoppers know they are appreciated and valued. We also recently initiated a points program where customers are rewarded with fuel or grocery discounts based on their purchases. We have great loyalty from our employee/partners. We train them well, provide great benefits and we’re focused on being the best we can be. A few of our benefits include opportunities for better health and wellness as well as the ability to attend college. We have many employees who have worked here for more than 40 years.
Q: What do you see as the biggest opportunity in this market? What about the biggest challenge? Are they one and the same?
As an industry, we are seeing some efforts to regulate behavior, both legislative and through regulatory means. All of these regulations make it difficult for grocers to maintain compliance, and they create additional costs and challenges through training and process changes in our stores. These challenges are exacerbated when local communities/municipalities have varied regulatory requirements, in addition to others we work with to stay in compliance with on a state and federal level. The challenges are present in Louisiana just like our other market areas. We have been operating in Shreveport for more than 50 years now, and we have strong customer support in this area. We look forward to growing in Louisiana and carrying out our mission of providing a great food and shopping experience.
Q: Are there issues—from legislative moves to consumer spending habits—that particularly concern or please you? (Taxes, plastic bag issues, health and wellness, cherry picking, etc.)
Government interference, excessive fees for credit cards and rising healthcare costs present challenges along with availability of qualified people to work in our stores and support areas.
Q: What issue or trend facing the entire retail grocery industry do you see as most important today?
One of the most important issues facing the retail grocery industry is customer-specific marketing. I can see additional opportunities for online ordering, store pickup and other customer conveniences. The customer is always changing, so we should also.
Q: How would you characterize the mindset of the company in terms of expected market growth and marketing?
We are optimistic about the future of BGC. We have a lot of new things happening within our company that are setting us up for a very successful future.
Q: What effect is Walmart having on the market and what steps are you taking to offset that?
Our business plan allows us to compete with large retailers, and we’re very confident we can be successful with our plans. We have great people and fresh products.
Former A&P CFO Takes On Role At Diamond Foods
Diamond Foods Inc. has appointed Raymond P. Silcock as EVP and CFO. Silcock, who previously served as CFO for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., replaces Michael Murphy, who had served as interim CFO since February 2012.
“We are pleased to have Ray join the Diamond team,” said Brian Driscoll, president and CEO of Diamond Foods. “He brings us extensive food and beverage industry, financial operations and capital structure experience. We look forward to leveraging his expertise, which includes a strong track record of managing and improving finance and accounting functions, as well as improving balance sheets, as we continue to focus on the company’s strategy to drive long-term, profitable growth for our shareholders.”
“I am delighted to be joining Diamond Foods and look forward to working with senior management and the finance and accounting teams as we seek to provide continued strong financial oversight and enhanced financial performance as the company executes on its key initiatives, including driving margin expansion and more sustainable topline growth,” Silcock said. “I look forward to taking part in and contributing to Diamond’s future.”
“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Mike Murphy for his contributions to the company over the past 16 months, during which Diamond has made tremendous strides,” said Robert J. Zollars, chairman of the Diamond Foods board. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Before joining A&P, Silcock, 62, served as the CFO of several publicly and privately-held companies in the food and beverage industry, including UST Inc., Swift & Co. and Delimex Holdings. Silcock also was CFO of Cott Corp. for seven years, where he was instrumental in driving the restructuring and turnaround of that business. Silcock began his career with Campbell Soup Co. in 1979 and spent the next 18 years advancing through financial management roles, culminating in his promotion to VP of finance for the bakery and confectionery division. Silcock is a member of the board of directors of Pinnacle Foods Corp. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Cost & Management Accountants (U.K.).
Former Raley’s Exec Dies At 87
The Raley’s family is remembering former president and CEO Charles “Chuck” Collings, who died over the weekend. Mr. Collings passed away of natural causes Saturday at the age of 87.
In a posting on its Facebook page, Raley’s calls Mr. Collings “an inspiring leader to our Raley’s family of employees for nearly 50 years as our company’s former president, CEO and board member. He will be remembered for his commitment to our company, our employees and the customers and communities we serve.”
Collings also was past chairman of the California Grocers Association (CGA) and the CGA’s Educational Foundation. In 1998, he was inducted into the CGA Educational Hall of Achievement.
Funeral arrangements are being finalized.
Read more about Mr. Collings here.
No One Hurt In Office Fire At Associated Grocers Headquarters
No injuries were reported following a fire at Associated Grocers’ Politz office building, adjacent to its distribution center, in Baton Rouge, La., last week. The fire broke out just after noon June 5.
“It appears that the fire was properly contained by our fire suppression system and sprinkler,” according to a posting on the company’s Facebook page. “…The fire was significant enough to warrant evacuation of the building and the stoppage of work in the distribution center.”
The St. George Fire Department responded to the blaze. The cause of the fire has not been released.
Associated Grocers has set up a page on its website dedicated to updates about the incident. In a June 5 posting on the page, the company said, “This office area was severely damaged. However, the main administration building and all product and business systems, including the phone system and e-mail, remain intact.
“The priority for Associated Grocers Inc. is to resume the order selection process today (June 5) and deliver orders to customers on their normal delivery schedule. New computers will be assigned to those employees who typically work in the damaged office building so that normal operations can resume as quickly as possible.”
The company instructed employees to come to work on their normal schedules unless otherwise directed.
Jay Campbell, president and CEO of Associated Grocers, told The Shelby Report Monday that the incident was “challenging” and that “we’re going to be struggling with this for quite some time, but we’ll deal with it.”
He called it a “blessing” that there were no injuries.
- Kristen Cloud