‘Forward thinking’ president embraces innovation
Nicholas Bertram loves retail. The president of The GIANT Co., who has spent his entire career in retail – working his way from the bottom up – knows retail from the inside out. Bertram is a 2021 inductee to The Shelby Report’s Industry Hall of Fame.
“My first job was at a very small JC Penney in Kentucky where I got to do everything,” Bertram said.
He moved on to Walmart as a stock boy, then took a position as a store manager after college.
“As a manager at Walmart, you work in every single department. There’s so much variety in retail. Whether it was operations, human resources, merchandising or trade relations, I had a lot of different experiences, so I have a good appreciation for retail,” he said.
Bertram spent 12 years at Walmart, worked at Jewel Osco running store operations, moved to Ahold Delhaize and was ultimately appointed president of The GIANT Co. in June 2017.
His “from the ground up” retail experience has informed his leadership philosophy – that no one is too good to do any task. Bertram’s in-store tenure keeps the company creative and consumer-centric.
“Innovation starts at the top. We have a very innovative and inspiring president who has an army of people behind him who are just as talented and innovative and are empowered to be creative and bring ideas to the table in order to make change,” said Kathy Sweigert, regional director
Kelli Whittington, human resources business partner for The GIANT Co.’s perishable distribution center, praised Bertram’s leadership qualities.
“Nick is a young, hungry, intelligent, motivated, forward-thinking leader,” she said. “We are a team and collaboration, conversation, communication and ideation are a result of the environment he has built.”
The company’s new Riverwalk GIANT in Center City Philadelphia is the culmination of Bertram’s retail passion.
“I’m really proud of what the team has done. It’s been fun to get to dream with them throughout the last three years,” he said.
Like a true retail pro, Bertram believes competition keeps the company sharp.
“One of the things I love about retail is that it’s very competitive,” he said. “But at the same time, when you go to FMI gatherings you can grab a drink together and laugh about life.
“It’s like professional sports. You’re going to give it all on Monday nights, but you can still hang out and appreciate the uniqueness and talent of those that you compete with.”
Under Bertram’s leadership, competitiveness and compassion exist happily together at The GIANT Co.
“You can still show up in the community in a very authentic, helpful way and still be very competitive and focused on winning every single day,” he said.
This Hall of Famer takes a long view of his work at the company.
“Legacy is something that is typically not thought about until it’s too late,” he said. “I want to create a culture that lasts long beyond me.”
The following industry professionals provided testimonies on Bertram.
Dedicated to his team, communities
“My fellow Kentuckian Nick Bertram is a stellar example of what can happen with recognition of young talent and equipping those of promise to realize their leadership potential.
“Nick’s dedication to his team and the communities they serve, coupled with his commitment to innovation, set him apart as a forward-thinking leader – positioning The Giant Co. for a strong future.”
president and CEO of FMI – The Food Industry Association
‘An outstanding leader who inspires his brand’
“On behalf of all Ahold Delhaize USA companies, it is our honor to congratulate Nick Bertram on his induction into the Food Industry Hall of Fame. As president of The GIANT Co., Nick is an outstanding leader who inspires his brand to always put the customer first, and he has an incredible passion for people.
“Under his leadership, GIANT is the leading grocery retailer in Pennsylvania and has grown its omnichannel presence significantly through new formats, existing stores and expansion markets like Philadelphia.
“His passion for diversity, equity and inclusion and sustainability are demonstrated through his team’s efforts to attract and retain diverse talent and build strong, winning teams who are committed to making a difference in their local communities.
“Congratulations Nick, and thank you for all you do.”
– Kevin Holt,
CEO of Ahold Delhaize US
‘We’re lucky to have a leader like Nick’
“Nick is a true pioneer for the future of our food system. His support of Rodale Institute and our regenerative organic mission has made a difference for not only consumers, but farmers as well. We’re lucky to have a leader like Nick at the forefront of our food supply.”
– Jeff Moyer,
CEO of the Rodale Institute
Chamber grateful for Bertram’s involvement
“It is no surprise to those of us at the Pennsylvania Chamber that Nick Bertram is receiving recognition from his peers for his vision, energy, passion and creativity. Nick has brought those same qualities to his work as the chairman of our board to help make the chamber a more dynamic organization.”
– Gene Barr,
president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
Industry pace-setter pushes for the best
“Nick is well respected and a pace-setter in our industry. He balances partnership, collaboration, and innovating while pushing us all to be, as he says, ‘productively discontent.’ “We know where we stand, we know what’s expected and we’re inspired by the path ahead. Supplying The GIANT Co. requires us to elevate our game, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to do just that.”
– Mike Pierson,
chief customer officer for Campbell Snacks