As part of its full-store expansion plans, retail media network Grocery TV has acquired Mediaworks Advertising Solutions, a digital out-of-home network that works with grocers around the country. The Minneapolis, Minn.-based Mediaworks is unique in that it offers a sanitizing wipe-dispensing base with a 32-inch display on top, a cleanliness feature that is important to shoppers in a decade defined by the global pandemic.
Mediaworks’ solutions are in place at banners including Schnucks, Cub and Lunds & Byerlys. Going forward, the system will become part of Grocery TV’s Entrance product line. The company reports that it will be installing the stations in all of its network stores by the end of this year.
According to Marlow Nickell, co-founder and CEO of Austin, Texas-based Grocery TV, the sanitizer stations help stores and brands reach shoppers with dynamic video ads and enable grocers to update their stores and potentially boost incremental revenue. “The Mediaworks acquisition is part of our full-store product expansion, which gives retailers and brands an all-in-one platform to reach shoppers throughout the store and at all stages of the buying journey,” he remarked.
As part of the deal, Mediaworks’ president Brian Swanson will join Grocery TV in a new role to oversee the transition the business and focus on expanding its retailer network.
BJ’s Offers Employees Mental Health and Caregiving Resources
BJ’s Wholesale Club is stepping up to provide more mental health and wellness services to its employees. The warehouse club operator recently tapped holistic platform LifeSpeak Inc. to offer education and caregiver support to 30,000 team members and their dependents.
The on-demand solutions include a library of resources covering topics such as mindfulness, resilience, managing stress and other topics. Employees can also take advantage of LifeSpeak’s support offerings to help resolve various caregiving issues. Management staff and leadership at BJ’s can leverage the platform’s resources to help understand and support their team’s caregiving needs.
"LifeSpeak's digital mental health and caregiver support solutions allow us to support the unique needs of our team members across our footprint, many of whom are facing personal and caregiver challenges at home, while delivering exceptional support to our team members in the field," explained Mark Griffin, SVP and chief human resources officer at BJ's. "By providing our team members with 24/7 access to micro-learning videos, podcasts, guides and advising from hundreds of the world's leading well-being and caregiver support experts, we hope to destigmatize conversations about mental health in the workplace and expand our family-first culture."
Michael Held, LifeSpeak’s CEO and founder, cited a Mental Health America survey showing that four in five employees report workplace stress affects their relationships with friends, families and co-workers and Harvard Business School research indicating 80% of employees feel that caregiving affects their productivity. “This signals a clear need for workplace mental health and caregiving support," Held said. "By giving employees access to a diverse range of resources, personalized support, and learning opportunities, BJ's Wholesale Club is demonstrating its commitment to improving the mental health and quality of life for its employees."
Already, Stop & Shop estimates that it has diverted nearly 170,000 pounds of food from landfills through the program that connects consumers with discounted food close to its best-by date. About a third of the stores adding Flashfood Zones are located in the Cape Cod area of the state.
“We know that value and variety are important to our customers, and like Stop & Shop, many of our Massachusetts shoppers are focused on helping to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Holland Ricker, Stop & Shop's regional VP of operations. “We’re proud of this recent expansion of Flashfood to our Massachusetts customers, and hope that shopping the Flashfood marketplace at Stop & Shop will help offer them sustainable shopping options with ways to also save significantly on groceries.”
Added Josh Domingues, Flashfood’s founder and CEO: “With 16 to 18% of Massachusetts households struggling with food insecurity, it is rewarding to know that our expansion will help improve accessibility to affordable food in the region.”
At a time when consumers are seeking both value and sustainability, Stop & Shop plans to keep going with Flashfood. It announced it will roll out the digital marketplace to more stores in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey this year.
Canada’s Farm Boy has released plans for the Feb. 9 opening of its Sugar Wharf store in downtown Toronto. This marks the eighth location in Toronto for the The Empire Co. Ltd. banner.
Farm Boy currently operates 46 locations in Ontario and is widely known for its local farm-fresh produce as well as butcher-quality meats, artisan cheese, fresh dairy and an extensive grab-and-go section. It recently celebrated the grand opening of its Aurora storeon Jan. 19.
“We’re excited to welcome customers to our Sugar Wharf location to get a taste of the signature Farm Boy experience,” said Shawn Linton, president and general manager of Ottawa, Ontario-based Farm Boy. “We will continue to offer a wide range of freshly made grab-and-go options for customers looking for a quick and tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner, as well as the freshest seasonal produce and highest-quality meat options. Our team is focused on providing customers an exceptional in-store experience with outstanding service that is truly all about the food.”
Located on the second level of 100 Queens Quay East in the same building as the new Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) location, the new 29,600-square-foot location will employ 125 people in the community. Culinary options include a made-to-order burger station, fresh sushi and a juicer. Hundreds of Farm Boy private label products and plenty of fresh locally sourced foods will also be available.
Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Empire’s key businesses are food retailing, through wholly owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., and related real estate. With approximately CAD $30.5 billion in annual sales and CAD $16.3 billion in assets, Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 130,000 people. The company is No. 22 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Bowery Farming, the largest U.S. vertical-farming company, is continuing to expand its leadership team with the addition of Glenn Wells as SVP of sales.
Cincinnati-based Wells brings to his new role extensive produce industry experience in startup revenue generation, strategic account growth, go-to-market sales strategy, and customer development. He joins Bowery from Fifth Season, a Pittsburgh-based vertical-farming company, where he was SVP of sales. Before that, Wells was SVP of sales and marketing at Curation Foods; VP of sales, North America at Dole Food Co.; and director, grocery customer teams at Welch’s. He has a degree in business management from Texas A&M University.
“Bowery is growing fast, and I’m thrilled to join the team at such a pivotal moment,” said Wells. “As Bowery expands to new geographic farm locations in Georgia, Texas and beyond, and continues to grow its product portfolio with chef-inspired salad kits, I’m excited to support the company’s national retail expansion, bringing Bowery’s fresh flavors to more people in more places.”
These executive moves come at a time of accelerated growth for New York-based Bowery, which has doubled revenue for the second consecutive year and is now available at more than 1,400 stores and e-commerce partners. The company has also expanded beyond leafy greens and into new categories of pesticide-free produce, including strawberries and salad kits. Bowery currently has five farms in operation, including a state-of-the-art R&D and innovation farm for pioneering indoor agriculture science, and two commercial farms under development that will more than double the company’s total production by 2023.
Trader Joe’s is adding to its presence in Connecticut, readying its ninth store in that state. The specialty grocer will officially welcome shoppers to its latest store in the town of Glastonbury on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 8 a.m.
Located at 400 Hebron Avenue, this Trader Joe’s outpost spans about 9,500 square feet and will be staffed by more than 80 team members. The Glastonbury grand opening follows the early November debut of another New England store in Providence, R.I.
Trader Joe’s is setting its sights on other parts of the country, too. Earlier this month, the retailer announced that it is heading to Draper, Utah, for a location expected to open sometime this year.
In other news, Trader Joe’s stores in Colorado will begin carrying wine, following voter approval of Proposition 125 that was on the ballot in November. The retailer's popular Charles Shaw brand — fondly known for years as "Two-Buck Chuck" — will be in the lineup.