Taking Stock

Print Friendly

Local Notes

Mark McGowan, formerly president of Ahold USA’s Stop & Shop New England division and most recently executive VP- supply chain for the big retailer, will be adding new temporary duties. McGowan has been named interim EVP-merchandising. This announcement fills the void left by Jeff Martin, who supervised both merchandising and marketing before his unexpected resignation from Ahold USA last June. Since then, Ahold has split the merchandising and marketing functions with Erik Keptner being named EVP-marketing. McGowan will hold the expanded role strictly on an interim basis as AUSA continues the search for a new leader of its merchandising team…Giant/Landover, another Ahold USA banner, is looking to sell its 760,000 square foot (now vacant) former dry grocery warehouse in Jessup, MD. That dry grocery business was shifted to a C&S depot in York, PA last year and the old Jessup facility seems very saleable given that it is one of the single largest distribution centers in the state of Maryland and can house 340 trailers…also, be prepared for the battle of web-based grocers as metro NY based FreshDirect enters Philadelphia where it will compete with Ahold USA’s Peapod unit. FreshDirect, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, will begin home delivery to eightCenterCityzip codes and plans on expanding that radius next year. British grocery retailer Wm. Morrison Supermarkets invested $50 million in 2010 to acquire a 10 percent stake in FreshDirect, where sales are estimated to be about $325 million annually. As for Peapod, which has been delivering groceries through its internet portal in a bigger area of the Delaware Valley region since 2011, it recently expanded its virtual grocery-store billboards at more than 100 commuter rail stations in the markets where it operates (Chicago and the Northeast). I’ve seen the billboards and they are really cool. If I were in the prediction business, I might prognosticate that FreshDirect should be prepared to spend lots of money promoting its Philly expansion…reports indicate that another Trader Joe’s could be coming to Washington, DC and that a new Harris Teeter could also be part of two new developments in the District. The new Trader Joe’s would be located in a new apartment complex being built on 14th Street NW near U Street. A few blocks northeast, Harris Teeter is reportedly interested in a site onSherman Avenue NW, nearHowardUniversity. Further south, near its headquarters outside Charlotte, NC, “The Teeter” announced that it would convert two of its stores to a new specialty banner called “201central.” This new concept will focus on upscale convenience with an expanded wine and beer selection, artisan breads, specialty cheeses and an emphasis on local /regional products. The “201” name was taken from the company store number ofCharlotte’s first full-service supermarket. The two stores chosen – in Huntersville, NC and Wesley Chapel, NC – were two of the former Lowes Foods units that Harris Teeter gained in a store swap with Lowes earlier this year. Both stores are about 30,000 square feet in size…I had the opportunity to visit a really interesting store last month. Dawson’s Market, located in the newly refurbished “downtown Rockville (MD)” cut the ribbon on a 19,000 square foot organic/natural foods unit. The store is the brainchild of Rick Hood and his team, which run a somewhat similar operation, Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, in Richmond. Dawson’s Market was named after one of Rockville’s founding families whose lineage dates back to 1740. In 1885, Hal Dawson opened the first grocery store in the largest city in Montgomery County. The new Dawson’s Market is beautifully designed and appointed. I was very impressed by the level of customer training of its associates and its diligence to abide by its “local” credo – most of its products are sourced within 100 miles of Rockville. We wish Rick and his gang much success…as the wheels keep spinning at Supervalu, the company announced that Gaelo de la Fuente has quit as president of its Farm Fresh unit and has been replaced by Bill Parker on an interim basis. De la Fuente, a former Food Lion executive, was named president ofVirginia Beach, VA based Farm Fresh after the retirement of the legendary Ron Dennis. Parker, who has been with Farm Fresh for 14 years, has spent 35 years in the business, many with Mr. Dennis at Albertsons’ Florida division. Also, Kathy Persian has been named Supervalu’s senior VP-chief information officer, replacing Wayne Shurts, who is leaving the company. Persian joined SVU in 2010 and most recently has been group VP-corporate planning, analysis and business process. Prior jobs included stints at Accenture and Best Buy. There’ll be more personnel shuffling now that Supervalu is on the selling block, but you’ve got to wonder if many of its key employees should have started their job searches several years ago. On the brokerage front, the industry’s two largest firms, Acosta and Advantage, have news to report. Acosta has been to appointed to represent Rich Products and Olde New England Seltzers for its east region. Additionally, the large sales organization has been named by Kemps LLC to sell its products in the Mid-Atlantic, Pittsburgh/Cleveland and New England regions and will be the broker for Butterball LLC in New England. On a national basis, Acosta will now represent Godiva Chocolates for the grocery, club and drug channels. At Advantage Sales & Marketing, Tanya Domier has been named chief executive of the Irvine, CA based brokerage company. She succeeds ASM founder and chairman Sonny King, who now becomes executive chairman. Domier joined ASM in 1990. She began her food industry career at the J.M. Smucker Co…there are several obits to report this month including B.J. Land, VP of Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid unit, and truly one of the nicest guys in the business. BJ died of cardiac arrest following a long bike ride. He was just 53. Steve Briggs, who worked with theBaltimorenative for many years summarized B.J.’s persona so well: “He was a terrific person to be around both inside and outside of work. BJ had such great qualities and his impact and emotional support on people is nothing like I’ve ever seen, and that was because of his personality, He impacted so many.”…also passing on was Harry Tsakalos, 93, a pillar of one of Maryland’s most successful businesses, H&S Bakery (he was “H” in H&S). In the 1930s Tsakalos met Isidore “Steve” Paterakis, (father of current H&S chief John Paterakis) and married Steve’s daughterLibertyin 1942. A devout family man, Harry Tsakalos was given the title of Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, one of the highest awards offered to a layman by the Greek Orthodox Church…Art Modell, former owner of the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, died last month at the age of 87. A former advertising executive who dropped out of high school in Brooklyn at the age of 15 to help his financially-strapped family after his father died, Modell purchased the Browns in 1961 for the then unprecedented price of $4 million and over the course of 43 years of ownership won two championships – the NFL crown in 1964 with the Browns and the 2000 Super Bowl with the Ravens. While Modell’s reputation in Cleveland suffered greatly after he moved the Ravens to Charm City in 1996, his philanthropic efforts in Cleveland helped many people in need. And his contributions to the National Football League were instrumental in setting the foundation for the league’s explosive growth over the past 40 years. Along with the legendary Vince Lombardi, Modell was responsible for completing the NFL’s first collective bargaining agreement and with deft negotiating skills derived from his advertising background, Art Modell was also the point man for the NFL when it gained its first large national television deal in the 1960s.