The board of Alliance Marketing LLC has unveiled a new lineup for the country’s largest self-negotiating grocery ad group, Alliance Retail Group (ARG). The executive team, which will continue to help independent operators succeed amid stiff competition in the grocery business, is as follows:
Greg Rush, chairman of the board, Alliance Marketing: Rush has been VP of merchandising and chief marketing officer for Houchens Food Group Inc. since October 2021, having joined the company back in 2009. He previously held roles of increasing responsibility in distribution, logistics, finance and merchandising with Dollar General Corp. from 1993 until he joined Houchens. Rush has been a member of the Alliance Marketing board of directors since 2018. He also serves on the boards of directors for International Grocers Alliance USA, the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bowling Green.
Jena Sowers, CEO, Alliance Marketing: Sowers’ most recent position was EVP of iPro Systems, an ARG service that delivers technical solutions for independent retailers, which she joined in 2020. With 20-plus years of experience in the grocery industry, she spent the majority of her career with Kraft Heinz serving independent retailers. Sowers has also served on various leadership committees, including at the National Grocers Association, with which she recently lobbied in Washington, D.C., for fair trade. The combination of her distinctive customer experience and her knowledge of the CPG industry enables her to think holistically and strategically about the solutions needed to level the playing field for indies.
Michael Donkin, president, ARG: Donkin has been with ARG for 12 years, most recently in the role of COO. He brings to his latest role 25-plus years in the independent grocery industry, much of it at the retail and wholesale levels. Donkin serves on the board of directors at the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association.
Mike Bokarae, president, Alliance Data Management and A2 Advertising: Bokarae has been with Alliance Marketing since 2020, most recently in the role of chief development officer. He has 30-plus years of experience working in the independent grocery industry, including 25 years with Kraft Heinz as a VP focused on serving independent grocers.
Earlier this month, ARG and data platform Skupos joined forces with Swiftly, a retail technology company that delivers omnichannel tools for enterprise retailers, on an easy-to-integrate, low-cost digital platform that will offer advertisers access to the largest network of stores in the country.
Hendersonville, Tenn.-based ARG is a retailer-owned limited-liability company that passes 100% of vendor trade funds to its members with a transparent fee-based business model. As a cooperative, it negotiates with trade partners. Working with retailers, CPG vendors and wholesalers in the independent grocery industry, Hendersonville,-based iPro Systems specializes in the management of scan-based promotions, data analytics and reporting. The mission of A2 Advertising is to help small businesses succeed using marketing and advertising through innovative technology and creative personnel. The ARG service has offices in Hendersonville and Kansas City, Mo.