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MODESTO, Calif. - Rick Smith, former v.p. of corporate produce for Safeway, has been named director of produce and floral for Save Mart Supermarkets based here.
Smith, who will assume his duties on Nov. 1, began his career as a produce clerk with Safeway in 1967. He went on to become a produce department manager and assistant store manager for the Pleasanton, Calif.-based retailer's Arizona division; and in 1980, was promoted to produce buyer at the Phoenix division, to later be named senior buyer.
In 1990, Smith joined Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper Supermarkets as v.p. of produce, where he was responsible for sales and merchandising of the produce and floral operation for 84 stores across four states generating $120 million in sales.
Smith returned to Safeway and the West Coast in 1996 as director of produce operations for the chain's Seattle division. In that post, Smith directed the sales and merchandising activities of 175 produce/floral departments across four states. In 2001, Smith became Safeway's v.p. of corporate produce, responsible for over 1,750 stores across 11 divisions, including Canada.
Smith told Progressive Grocer his new post at Save Mart returns him to "a homegrown grocery company. Save Mart has a great name in [California's] Central Valley. I certainly enjoyed my time at Safeway, but thought it was time to get back to the basics with a company like Save Mart."
Smith replaces Steve Junqueiro, who in August was promoted to v.p. of operations.
The privately owned Save Mart operates 119 stores throughout California -- eight of which operate under the banner S-Mart Foods in Stockton and Lodi, and 71 stores under the Save Mart banner. The company's 40 price impact stores operate under the FoodMaxx banner, and are located from Bakersfield, in the South, throughout the Central Valley to Redding in the North, and West to Santa Maria and Salinas.
-- Meg Major