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.
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.
UGA Plant Produces Blueberries Up To Four Times The Average
by Sharon Dowdy/UGA, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Special to The Shelby Report
When it comes to choosing fruit, most people reach for the biggest piece. Titan, a new blueberry variety bred by a University of Georgia scientist, makes that an easy task. It produces berries two to four times the size of average blueberries.
“People like big strawberries and big blackberries. Now they can get big blueberries,” says Scott NeSmith, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researcher who bred the new variety.
The UGA Research Foundation has applied for a plant patent for Titan.
For commercial and homeowner use
Titan was designed for both commercial and homeowner use. NeSmith says backyard growers will like the berry size and so will visitors at pick-your-own farms.
“Common sense tells you that picking blueberries by hand takes a long time. Not with Titan,” he says.
Average blueberries are usually a little smaller than a dime. NeSmith has seen Titan berries grow as large as a quarter. A rabbiteye blueberry, Titan is well suited for growing in Georgia and produces well in USDA hardiness zones 6a through 9a.
Released in 2012, Titan hasn’t been added to Georgia blueberry farmers’ fields yet, but it is available in limited supplies for homeowners.
“Right now, most nurseries have waiting lists for Titan plants. That’s how popular it is,” NeSmith says. “They have more orders than they do plants.”
Ask stores to stock Titan
He encourages homeowners to contact their local garden center and request the variety.
“If enough people ask for it, hopefully the big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot will start carrying it,” NeSmith says.
Titan is officially available through the following licensed nurseries: Ken James Greenhouses (www.jamesgreenhouses.com); Cornelius Farms (corneliusfarms.com/nurserydivision.html); and Oregon Blueberry (www.oreblueberry.com).
No matter which blueberry variety you add to your home landscape, NeSmith says to set aside the first year as a growing year for the plant.
“You may see a small amount of fruit the second year, but the third year will bring a good blueberry crop,” he says.
While some varieties are self-fruiting, NeSmith advises planting two or more varieties to ensure good pollination and fruit set. Two additional homeowner varieties that recently were released are Summer Sunset and Blue Suede.
Award-winning blueberry breeder
Based on the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga., NeSmith has been researching blueberries in Georgia since 1990. He recently was awarded the UGA Inventor’s Award for his research efforts that include the release of 10 new patented commercial blueberry varieties and two patented ornamental blueberry varieties. The award is presented each year by the UGA Research Foundation to recognize an inventor for a unique and innovative discovery that has impacted the community, state and/or world. UGA-developed blueberries are grown around the world on all continents except Antarctica.
Blueberry production has surpassed peaches as the No. 1 fruit crop in Georgia.
“Nationally, we may be close to No. 1 in acres now, and we are second or third in production,” NeSmith says. Georgia farmers use about 21,749 acres for blueberry production, and the farm gate value was more than $254 million in 2011, according to the Georgia Farm Gate Value Report.
In the featured photo at top: A Titan blueberry plant can produce berries ranging from two to four times the size of traditional blueberries. This photo shows two berries from the same Titan plant. One berry is so large it nearly covers the quarter it sits on. (Photos courtesy of Scott NeSmith)
- Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Lowes Foods Opens New Store In Hampstead, N.C.
Lowes Foods is hosting its grand opening festivities at a new store at 17230 U.S. Hwy. 17 in Hampstead, N.C., today. This is the most recent Lowes Foods store to open in the Carolinas and the first in the Topsail area. The new Lowes Foods design is based on research that indicates consumers are always looking for more and better ways to save money, save time and support their communities, according to Lowes.
Grand opening events began at 7 a.m., though a reception and ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday evening.
Lowes Foods features a number of signature products that are “the best of the best” in each department, including fried chicken, chicken grape salad, sweet tea, apple pie, pound cake, fresh ground sausage, fresh meat starter kits and more, the company says. These ready-made products help customers save time in the kitchen. Many products available in the store will be sourced locally, allowing a lower cost of distribution and fresher products for the customer while supporting other North Carolina-based businesses, according to Lowes.
The new store also will offer the exclusive Lowes Foods to Go personal shopping service to customers. Lowes Foods to Go shopping orders are placed either online or by telephone. The service is offered six days per week for a per-shop-fee of $4.95; discounted monthly and annual rates also are available.
Additionally, Lowes Foods offers Gas Rewards and NuVal nutritional scoring. Gas Rewards is a partnership with WilcoHess that allows customers to earn 5 cents off per gallon of gas for every $100 they spend in groceries at Lowes Foods. These discounts are available in Hampstead where the store features a fuel location. NuVal is a nutritional scoring system that rates foods from one to 100 based on their nutritional content. This number is displayed on the product’s shelf tag so that customers can tell the overall nutrition of an item at a glance.
Lowes Hampstead Store Manager Kirby Bolin has lived in the Pender County area for a number of years and says he excited about the opportunity for both he and his staff to serve the community.
Tuesday’s reception also served as the kick off to Lowes Foods 2013 Campaign to “Bag Childhood Hunger.” This annual food drive helps to feed Lowes’ neighbors in need right in the company’s local communities. A $1,000 product donation was presented to Livingstone Tabernacle Food Pantry, an affiliate of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina at Wilmington at the ceremony.
Lowe’s Food Stores Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alex Lee Inc. Founded in 1954, Lowe’s Food Stores employs nearly 9,000 people and operates 100 stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Evol Foods Announces Retail Partnership With Target
Evol Foods, Boulder, Colo.-based maker of made-from-scratch natural and organic frozen meals and snacks, will have a number of its burritos and entrees available at Target stores nationwide. By expanding distribution to a wider audience, Evol is continuing to share its mission to provide convenient, great-tasting, nutritious frozen food options that focus on using organic, all-natural ingredients, the company says.
To kick off Evol’s product distribution at Target, the company says it will be offering limited-time price deals.
Through June 15, customers will be able to purchase two of the frozen entree bowls for $7 and two of the frozen burritos for $4.
“Our partnership with Target marks an exciting time for Evol Foods as we expand and grow,” says Phil Anson, COO and founder. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share our love of food with the Target community and provide shoppers with real food that is not only all-natural and healthy, but convenient and perhaps most important, delicious.”
Evol Foods started with burritos and has recently expanded its burrito product line to include a number of healthy options. Earlier this year, the company expanded its Classic line of burritos, including its best selling Bean & Cheddar and Cilantro Lime Chicken flavors, to include two new lines—”Plus” Burritos with Guacamole and Gluten Free Burritos.
Evol’s products have no artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives or fillers.
Shop And Save Market Opens In Downers Grove, Ill.
A new 45,000-s.f. Shop and Save Market opened earlier this month in Downers Grover, Ill., outside Chicago. The store is located at 7241 Lemont Rd. in the Downers Park Plaza.
“This is a very special store, for all of us,” said Ed Dubek, store director. “We are putting a lot of thought in tailoring our offering in a way which will resonate with the community. Exceeding expectation is our goal and we are ready to take it on with this store.”
The store features a European-style deli, offering a variety of deli cuts, many of them home-smoked and uniquely European. In addition, the store boasts many natural, soy, gluten- and nitrate-free deli choices as well as a variety of global items. The store’s bakery offers homemade cakes and cookies and more than than 20 kinds of breads and rolls baked fresh in store each day. The department also includes pastry chefs.
A full-service meat counter offers a selection of ready-to-cook items and unique cuts of meat, including fresh lamb and seafood.
The store’s “fresh to go” area features a variety of homemade Mediterranean delicacies like cured olives, hummus, tabbule, baba ganoush as well as sandwiches and salads, Greek yogurt and fruit cups. The soup counter offers more than 25 soup choices. In addition, Shop and Save Market in Downers Grove includes a number of “heat and serve” homemade dinners and sides.
“This new store is the working mother’s dream come true,” said Eva Jakubowski, president of Shop and Save Market. “Thanks to us, getting a nutritious, home-cooked meal on a table takes just a few minutes—our kitchen does all the work.”
Okla. Grocers Association CEO: Worst Tornado Disaster In State History
Ron Edgmon, president and CEO of the Oklahoma Grocers Association, is telling The Shelby Report that the deadly storms that roared through the state Monday resulted in what he calls the worst tornado disaster in Oklahoma history. The F5 tornado that struck the city of Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City where Edgmon’s association is based, has—at this writing—claimed 24 lives, including nine children.
Three of those fatalities were at a 7-Eleven store, a member of the Oklahoma Grocers Association. The store, Edgmon says, was destroyed.
Additionally, “three of our supermarket members experienced power outages but had no property damage or casualties,” Edgmon says
“All of our members are coming together,” he adds, “to provide aid in whatever way needed to help our fellow Oklahomans.”
Check back here for updates.