Robert Taylor announced Feb. 9 he will retire as CEO of Lubbock, Texas-based United Supermarkets on March 1, and will be succeeded in the role by Sidney Hopper, president of the company. Taylor will continue in an advisory role for the company as EVP – senior advisor.
“I have been working for, or with, this great company for 51 years, and I am ready to have a little more flexible time to spend with my wife, Jan, and our kids and grandkids,” Taylor said in a video released to team members. The footprint of the company more than doubled to 96 stores during Taylor’s tenure as CEO, with a large expansion of its self-distribution center and the acquisition of a manufacturing facility and ice plant.
In 1971, Taylor began operating his father’s wholesale tobacco and candy business, R.C Taylor Wholesale, after his father became seriously ill, and the company flourished under his leadership. In July 2007, Taylor sold R.C. Taylor Wholesale to one of his largest customers, United Supermarkets, and joined United’s leadership team as VP of logistics. In 2010, Taylor was named CEO of United Supermarkets, which was subsequently purchased by Albertson’s LLC in 2014.
In his new role, Taylor will continue spearheading the United Food & Beverage Services. The newest venture of United Supermarkets was recently formed to provide banquet services, concessions and operate the “Rave On” restaurant in Buddy Holly Hall, a $153 million privately-funded entertainment and education venue opening in Lubbock this month. He will continue to serve on the executive team with involvement in government relations, real estate, innovation and special projects.
“It is hard to quantify all Robert has brought to this company,” said Hopper, speaking of his friend and mentor. “Robert is an innovator, and he invests in developing people and communities. There are few things that have happened in our company over the last 13 years that don’t carry Robert’s fingerprints. He is an ardent community supporter and models that value for all the leadership in stores and facilities across the 54 communities we serve.”
Taylor also has been active in professional organizations. In 2018, The Shelby Report named him Innovator and Executive of the Year. He served as a board member and two terms as president of the Texas Association of Wholesale Distributors, earning multiple accolades including the Southwestern Community Service Award, Texas Wholesaler of the Year and the Texas Political Network award. Taylor also served on the board of directors for FMI (Food Marketing Institute).
Taylor provided leadership to the Lubbock Area United Way and is a past president of The Salvation Army, leading a capital campaign for a new building. In 2020, the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce tapped Taylor with the Champion for Business award, and he was the chamber’s 2013 Business Person of the Year. A past president of Southwest Rotary with a passion for growing young entrepreneurs, Taylor has taught in high school business classes and chaired the Lemonade Day board for several years. Third graders participating in the Lemonade Day curriculum learn financial literacy, draft a business plan and give away some of their profits to a community cause of their choosing through a one-day lemonade stand.
Taylor is currently serving as chairman of the Downtown TIF Committee, working to revitalize downtown Lubbock. He formerly served on the PlainsCapital Bank Board of Directors and is currently on the board of Hill Top Holdings, a publicly traded company.
An avid Texas Tech fan, Taylor and his family are scholarship donors in athletics, the graduate school and Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. He is a member of the Texas Tech University Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of the Texas Tech Alumni Association. Taylor has been a guest lecturer on the subject of entrepreneurism in the school of business and is a member of the Rawls College of Business Chief Executives’ Round Table. In 2011, he received the Rawls College of Business Distinguished Alumni Award. He is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he has served on the session.
Taylor is married to the former Jan Smith, also a Texas Tech University graduate. The Taylors have four children and nine grandchildren. In his spare time, Taylor enjoys fishing, golfing and traveling.
In its 105th year of operation, United Supermarkets LLC – d.b.a. The United Family – has stores in 54 communities in Texas and New Mexico. A self-distributing company with headquarters and distribution centers in Lubbock, The United Family currently operates 96 stores under five unique banners: United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos, Albertsons Market and United Express, along with ancillary operations R.C. Taylor Distributing, Praters, United Food and Beverage Services and Llano Logistics. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Albertsons Companies Inc. For more information, visit theunitedfamily.com.