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Topco elevates new pharmacy chief and center store exec

BY Michael Johnsen

Topco Associates on Wednesday announced the promotion of two executives, effective immediately. Tom Frey was elevated to executive vice president and CFO from his prior role as senior vice president and CFO and Christine Heffernan was promoted to senior vice president, center store. Heffernan was previously vice president, center store.

“These two well-deserved promotions will allow Topco to further drive our strategic business objectives as we continue to expand our platform to provide products and services to help our member-owners thrive in the changing grocery industry. With Tom and Christine’s extensive experience and combined industry knowledge, we are well positioned to partner for growth and deliver further savings across Topco programs,” Randy Skoda, Topco president and CEO, said. “In addition, both individuals have taken on initiatives that have been instrumental in advancing our strategic priorities to the membership. I am confident, that under Tom’s and Christine’s leadership, these additional responsibilities will continue to build stronger collaboration and alignment across our business, advancing our mission to bring additional value to Topco’s membership.”

Frey will expand his responsibilities to include oversight of Topco’s pharmacy program, health and wellness initiatives and Avantis Technology Partners, a joint venture with the Audit Technology Group that combines ATG’s transaction data aggregation analytics platform with Topco’s category management expertise.

Prior to joining Topco in 2008, Frey served as the vice president and CFO of Dominick’s Finer Foods. Previously, he held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility with McCain Foods, USA; Deluxe Video Services; The Quaker Oats Company; and Ernst & Young. Frey received a Bachelor of Science degree in commerce from DePaul University, an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and is a certified public accountant.

Meanwhile, Heffernan has made an impact on the center store business, including building a new sourcing and category model for the center store team and the successful launch of one of Topco’s strategic brands, Simply Done. In addition to these accomplishments, Heffernan’s role has expanded to managing Topco’s member services department, warehouse operations, logistics and shopper insights.

Heffernan joined Topco in 2002 as part of the merger with Shurfine International. She was named program director in 2008, business unit lead, center store in 2014 and vice president, center store in 2016. Prior to joining Topco, Heffernan held several leadership positions at Shurfine International including director, member services. Heffernan holds a bachelor’s degree in Food Industry Management from Cornell University.

 

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Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go to hit 400 new doors

BY Michael Johnsen

Kroger on Thursday introduced its Scan, Bag, Go shopping technology in 18 operating divisions, making the service available this year to customers at 400 stores.

“With every new product, service and technology integration, Kroger is redefining the customer experience and reimagining the store of the future,” Chris Hjelm, Kroger executive vice president and chief information officer, said. “After testing Scan, Bag, Go in several locations, we are bringing this transformative technology to new stores across the country through Restock Kroger.”

Kroger’s in-house research and development team invented and built the Scan, Bag, Go shopping technology, which has been piloted in the Cincinnati area for the past several years. The offering allows customers to use a wireless handheld scanner or the Scan, Bag, Go app on their personal device to scan and bag products as they shop for a quicker, seamless checkout experience.

Scan, Bag, Go helps to create a personalized experience for customers throughout their shopping trip, allowing them to view and download digital coupons, keep a running total of their order, and view the current week’s sales ad.

Scan, Bag, Go customers currently visit a store’s self-checkout area to provide payment. Customers will soon have the ability to provide payment directly through the app, allowing shoppers to exit the store even quicker.

“Many of our customers have adopted this convenient new technology and responded favorably to the seamless checkout experience,” Hjelm said. “Scan, Bag, Go is one more choice, like ClickList, that Kroger provides so customers can choose when and how they want to shop with us.”

By the end of the year,  the service will be available at select locations in the following divisions: Atlanta; Central; Cincinnati; Columbus; Dallas; Delta; Dillons; Fred Meyer; Fry’s; Houston; King Soopers; Louisville; Michigan; Mid-Atlantic; Nashville; Ralphs; Smith’s; and QFC.

“The installation of Scan, Bag, Go is a collaboration between the Kroger operations and tech teams that allows us to accelerate the adoption of new technologies in our stores,” said Mary Ellen Adcock, Kroger group vice president of retail operations. “We are always excited to execute innovative ideas that benefit our customers’ shopping experiences.”

 

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Bartell Drugs brings on operations exec from Albertsons

BY David Salazar

Bartell Drugs has brought on Adam Wampler as its new senior vice president of operations. Wampler joins the Seattle-based company from Albertsons, where he was senior vice president of operations for Northern California.

Wampler has experience of more than 30 years with Safeway, which Albertsons acquired in 2015. In his most recent position, he oversaw store conditions, diversity, profitability and employee development at more than 283 Safeway Albertsons banner stores in three states. His career also has included roles in marketing, execution, store design and store layout.

“Adam’s experience in grocery and retail are a great fit for Bartell Drugs,” Bartell Drugs CEO Kathi Lentzsch said. “His focus on delivering an exceptional store experience through employee development and seamless operations will expand upon our famous Red Vest service.”

Wampler is the second addition to Bartell’s C-suite this month. The family-owned chain in mid-January named Lentzsch the company’s fifth CEO in its 128-year history.

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