News Briefs


H Mart Expands Presence in New Jersey

H Mart, Humana Battle Food Insecurity Healthy Food Card

Asian retailer H Mart is growing, this time with the opening of a new location at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, N.J. Grand-opening festivities on Feb. 17 will include face painting, balloon twisting, special performances of Korean percussion music, a Chinese lion dance, and more.

The new store will offer produce, seafood, meat, dairy and ready-to-cook sections, as well as standard Asian grocery and housewares aisles. A food hall is also under construction.

H Mart currently has locations in Little Ferry, Paramus, Cherry Hill, Edison, Fort Lee, Leonia and Ridgefield, N.J. A new outpost in Irvine, Calif., opened Jan. 11, and another store opened its doors in Long Island City, N.Y., last November.

Operated by the Hanahreum Corp., H Mart opened its first store in the New York City borough of Queens in 1982, and now has more than 90 stores across the United States in Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.


Sprouts on Pace for Several Store Openings

Sprouts market interior

Sprouts stores are, well, sprouting up in different markets around the United States. The retailer, which raised its full-year outlook in November following a solid third quarter, is in hiring mode for locations on opposite sides of the country, and at earlier stages of rolling out other new stores.

Hiring events are taking place virtually and online in March for a new Sprouts store at 8431 Sudley Road in Manassas, Va. The store is set to open on May 12 with a planned staff of 90 full- and part-time associates.

Likewise, Sprouts is holding similar hiring events next month ahead of another opening at 43668 15th Street in Lancaster, Calif. Welcoming shoppers on April 12, the Lancaster store is aiming for 100 full- and part-time employees.

As the grocer readies those latest outposts, it’s also planning to open a site in San Jose, Calif., in the second quarter of this year and another location in Pittsburg, Calif., sometime in 2024. Next up: the unveiling of a store in Merced, Calif., on March 24.

The flurry of store openings is in line with Sprouts’ ambitious growth plans. In the company’s last earnings call, CEO Jack Sinclair noted that 16 new stores opened in fiscal 2022 and that Sprouts expects to open at least 30 new stores in fiscal 2023. “Weve got a solid pipeline of stores well beyond the number that we need for this year,” Sinclair said. “And I know this year, we only got to 16. But ... we understand much better as we go into 2023 and 2024 than we did in going into 2022, with all the volatility that was going on in supply chain. So all other things being equal, were feeling good about that number of 30 stores.”

Sprouts will report its fourth quarter and fiscal year financial results on March 2.

Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market employs approximately 31,000 associates and operates approximately 380 stores in 23 states nationwide. The company is No. 53 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


ShopRite of Canton Gets In-Store Registered Dietitian

ShopRite of Canton Hannah Waxler Headshot Teaser

The ShopRite of Canton recently hired Registered Dietitian Hannah Waxler to lead the Connecticut store’s health-and-wellness outreach to customers.

“We are excited to have Hannah join our team,” said Chuck Joseph, president of Joseph Family Markets, which operates the ShopRite of Canton. “Her addition continues more than 12 years of serving the community through our wellness program, which includes in-store nutritional counseling, events and recipe demonstrations.” 

In her new role, Waxler will provide free one-on-one nutrition counseling, develop recipes featuring healthy alternatives, offer guidance on proper nutrition for specific health conditions and dietary needs, and tour the aisles with shoppers to help them better understand food labels. Additionally, Waxler will host online and in-store classes on healthy eating for consumers of all ages.

Waxler earned her bachelor of science degree in nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut. She also completed a dietetic internship and her master of science in health promotion sciences.

Since 2006, ShopRite’s registered dietitians have provided meal suggestions and substitutes for various lifestyles to support customers’ personal wellness. Dietitian coaching is available at select stores, and Well Everyday’s virtual presence encompasses cooking classes, private consultations, a chat feature and social media outreach. 

Keasbey, N.J.-basedWakefern comprises more than 40 members that independently own and operate 360-plus supermarkets under theShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people. The company is No. 25 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 listing of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Dawn Foods Announces Additions to Leadership Team

Dawn Foods

There are some new leaders in the mix at bakery manufacturer and ingredient distributor Dawn Foods. The Jackson, Mich.-based company has promoted Becky Loveland to VP of North America strategy and business planning and rehired Elena Taylor as VP of national accounts. Both Loveland and Taylor will report to John Schmitz, the company’s president.

Loveland moves up from her most recent role as senior director of marketing. A 13-year company employee, she will take on a new role to plan and execute strategic initiatives for driving sales and operating income. She will also focus on the exploration and development of transformation efforts that lead to new opportunities.  

“For over 10 years, Becky has played significant roles in strategic planning that push Dawn forward and is instrumental to our growth and transformation here at Dawn,” said Schmitz. “To help us continue that transformation and growth, Becky will implement and execute on the business strategy that is so critical for Dawn to achieve to continue being the leader in bakery ingredients.” 

Meanwhile, Taylor has returned to Dawn, where she was a member of the company’s marketing team from 2016 to 2021. In her last position at Dawn, she was senior sales director of national accounts as the lead for Walmart. Now, as VP of national accounts, she will spearhead long- and short-term sales strategies to build relationships with executive-level decision-makers and drive customer development and retention.  

“We are honored to have Elena’s leadership back at Dawn, where she is delivering crucial growth for our key and national accounts team,” noted Schmitz. “She will continue to uncover new business opportunities, strategies and practices through her work leading our national accounts. I appreciate her counsel and expertise and look forward to seeing her continue to drive our organization forward.” 


Tops Mass Shooter Gets Life in Prison

Tops Memorial Buffalo Teaser

The 19-year-old gunman who killed 10 people last May in a racially motivated mass shooting at a Tops Markets store in Buffalo, N.Y., was sentenced to life in prison without parole at a court hearing this week, according to CNN and other published reports. Payton Gendron, who pleaded guilty last November to one count of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate, 10 counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and a weapons possession charge for the mass shooting expressed remorse for his actions.  

At the hearing, several victims’ family members spoke about how the mass shooting had affected their lives. A man identified as a family member of one of the victims rushed at Gendron in court at one point but was prevented from reaching him by security. 

Gendron shot a total of 13 people, 11 of them Black. All of the fatalities were Black.

On the federal level, Gendron faces 10 counts of hate crime resulting in death, three counts of hate crime involving bodily injury, 10 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a violent crime, and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during a violent crime, according to a criminal complaint.

He has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, whichcould result in the death penalty. In December, Gendron’s attorneys said at a court hearing that he would be willing to plead guilty to the federal charges if prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.


FMI Promotes 2 Communications and Insights Execs

Left to right: Steve Markenson, Kelli Windsor

FMI – The Food Industry Association has promoted two executives, Steve Markenson and Kelli Windsor, who both focus on insights and online communications at the trade organization.  

Markenson is now VP, research and insights. He led more than 40 research and insights projects in 2022, as well as spearheading FMI’s new Research & Insights Committee to ensure the trade group’s research and members are keeping pace with the latest industry trends and research techniques. During his six years at FMI, Markenson has developed transparency protocols in regard to methodologies, analysis, reporting and data collection in line with American Association of Public Opinion Research standards. He’s also one of only 20 individuals to achieve the Insights Association designation of “Master.” Before joining FMI, Markenson owned and operated a strategic insights firm.

Windsor is now senior director, digital communications. Having joined the organization nine years ago, she manages and maintains a dynamic website user experience and assumed oversight of the overall strategy of FMI’s website in 2021. Windsor oversees the internal cross-functional and cross-departmental FMI editorial board to drive readership of the FMI Voice of Food Industry blog and other online resources, as well as being a champion of the analytics side of the FMI business, in which capacity she guides focused communications and storytelling regarding FMI programs, resources, services and activities. Windsor also plays a key role in campaigns highlighting FMI’s signature research. 

“Our team members’ performance aligns with where the food industry is investing in talent to create better connections and engagements through modern communications and marketing strategies,” said Heather Garlich, SVP, communications, marketing and consumer/community affairs at Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “It’s a great pleasure to tout my colleagues’ contributions that hone our industry’s insights and effectively serve our members.”