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Pentel salutes troops with letter-writing contest

BY Allison Cerra

TORRANCE, Calif. — A writing instruments leader, in partnership with a nonprofit group, is commemorating National Handwriting Day with a unique promotion.

Pentel’s "Heroes Worth Writing For" contest aims to educate the importance of a handwritten letter by encouraging Americans to express their appreciation to U.S. troops. Pentel partnered with Operation Gratitude, which annually sends more than 100,000 care packages addressed to individually named U.S. Service members.

As part of the promotion, Pentel will award the writer of the most expressive letter with a $200 Visa gift card and $100 in Pentel products. Four runner-ups will receive a $50 Visa gift card and $25 in Pentel products. Official rules can be found at Pentel.com.

"This is a great way for us to remind Americans about the significance, emotion and engagement that can be enclosed within a handwritten letter," said Ilene Albert-Nelson, Pentel of America director of marketing. "Our U.S. troops are definitely noteworthy individuals who deserve to receive our best wishes and thoughts, as well as our thanks for their time, dedication and commitment."

National Handwriting Day is Jan. 23.

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Winn-Dixie shuffles store ops team

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores on Wednesday named Laurence Appel SVP retail operations, reporting to Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie’s chairman, CEO and president.

Appel succeeds Frank Eckstein, who has retired from his current role but will continue to serve in an advisory capacity until the end of fiscal year 2011.

Appel joined Winn-Dixie in 2002 and served as general counsel, corporate secretary and SVP human resources prior to the new appointment.

Appel will be succeeded as general counsel by Timothy Williams, who joined Winn-Dixie in 2003 and formerly served as assistant general counsel; and as SVP human resources by Anita Dahlstrom-Gutel, who joined Winn-Dixie almost two years ago and formerly served as VP corporate human resources and talent acquisition/management. In each of their respective new roles, both will report to Lynch.

Winn-Dixie also announced that Dan Portnoy, SVP and chief merchandising and marketing officer resigned. Mary Kellmanson, group VP marketing; Matt Gutermuth, group VP nonperishables, pricing and corporate brands; James Smits, group VP perishables; and John Fegan, VP pharmacy, jointly will assume Portnoy’s responsibilities. All four also will report directly to Lynch.

"I want to thank both Frank and Dan for their many contributions, and especially their efforts to build very capable teams that are well-prepared to support the company as we execute our strategic initiatives and drive the business forward,” Lynch stated. “On behalf of the entire company, we wish them all the best."

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Wegmans recruiting for New England location

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Wegmans Food Markets on Tuesday started recruitment for its new Northborough, Mass., store, the company’s first New England location that is set to open in October. The Northborough store will employ approximately 600 people, 550 of whom will be hired locally.

The Northborough Wegmans, a 145,000-sq.-ft. supermarket, will be part of Northborough Crossing, a $100 million shopping and residential complex located at the intersection of Routes 9 and 20.

Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets will open stores in several additional New England locations in the future, the grocer stated.

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