Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers hires marketer liaison officer

The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers hired Jacquie Trombley as marketer liaison officer, effective May 5. This newly established position will be the primary liaison between licensed marketers and the OGVG board and management. ontario

Through this position, it is the objective of OGVG to positively work with the marketer community with the intent of optimizing the market value for Ontario greenhouse vegetables and maximizing returns for producers, while enhancing the overall consumer image of Ontario greenhouse vegetables and adhering to trade requirements.

Trombley graduated from St. Clair College's advertising, marketing and communications management program in 1997 and holds a diverse background in advertising, marketing, corporate communications and project management.

With over 18 years in the marketing field, she has worked for a large advertising agency and has experience in financial and corporate marketing at one of Canada's largest financial institutions in Toronto. Trombley has also overseen a variety of marketing and advertising campaigns at a local marketing company.

Most recently Trombley has been instructing in marketing at St. Clair College in Windsor, ON.

United Fresh names Retail Produce Manager Award honorees

Marking its 11th year of recognizing exceptional retail produce managers, United Fresh announced the honorees of its 2015 Retail Produce Manager Awards program. The group of 25 produce managers represents 23 different supermarket banners, commissaries and independent retail stores in 19 states. They will be the honored guests at the United Fresh 2015 convention and trade show, June 8-10 in Chicago.inie

Sponsored this year for the first time by Dole Food Co., the program pays special recognition to produce mangers working every day to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Over the course of the 11 years of the program, more than 280 retail managers, representing more than 80 retail banners, have been honored for their contributions to fresh produce merchandising.

“Produce managers are on the front lines, educating consumers in the produce department — a critical touch point for the fresh produce industry,” Tom Stenzel, United Fresh chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We are grateful to Dole Food Company for their sponsorship of this program and partnership in recognizing these 25 deserving honorees.”   

The 2015 Retail Produce Manager Award winners:

  • Scott Baker, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Mario Branco, Lucky Supermarkets, Oakley, CA
  • Tom Dubrowski, King’s Food Markets, Cresskill, NJ
  • Tony Gilliam, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc., Weber City, VA
  • Gary Gillispie, Altus AFB Commissary, Altus, OK
  • Bernadine Godeck, Pick’N Save, Eagle River, WI
  • Martin Gomez, Grocery Outlet, Chehalis, WA
  • Esteban Gonzalez, Rouses Supermarkets, Gretna, LA
  • Juan Graciano, Safeway Inc., Redding, CA
  • Tom Johnson, Hannaford Bros. Co., Taunton, MA
  • Brad Johnston, Brookshire Grocery Co., Shreveport, LA
  • Chuck Kauffman, Andronico's Community Markets, San Francisco
  • Sue Knop, Food Pride, Ida Grove, IA
  • Henry Kryeski, River Valley Market, Northampton, MA
  • Michelle Lee, Ball Foods, Ball, LA
  • Justin Lorson, Weis Markets Inc., Lewisburg, PA
  • Anthony Machado, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Granite Bay, CA
  • Cedric Patrick, The Kroger Co., Atlanta
  • Dale Schoenefeld, Hy-Vee Inc., Watertown, SD
  • AJ Sleasman, Price Chopper, Clifton Park, NY
  • Ryan Tanner, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Reno, NV
  • Ron Tarini, Big Y Foods Inc., Brandford, CT
  • Josh Teifel, Food Maxx, Concord, CA
  • Kevin Thalken, Hy-Vee Inc., Blue Springs, MO
  • Mike Underwood, Coborn’s Inc., New Prague, MN

“Dole is proud to honor produce managers across this country who are making a daily commitment to the success of our industry,” Howard Roeder, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables, said in the release. “These men and women work to ensure the best presentation through produce merchandising and engage and educate their consumers at every turn. They truly are the face of our industry and we’re honored to recognize them with this achievement.”

The winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry. Nominations were evaluated on a number of criteria, including efforts to increase produce consumption through excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to customer satisfaction.

All winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will be honored at United Fresh 2015 during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration Dinner, Wednesday, June 10 at the Sheraton Chicago. In addition to their awards, five grand prize recipients will receive an additional $1,000 cash prize.  

The Produce Retail Manager Award winners will be featured in a panel discussion on the United Fresh 2015 trade show floor in the Fresh Marketplace Learning Center, Wednesday, June 10 from 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. A panel of the winners will share their perspectives on creative produce merchandising strategies during this special education session.

For more information about the Retail Produce Manager Awards program, contact Jessica Mosley, director of education, at 202/303-3417 or jmosley@unitedfresh.org. United Fresh will start accepting nominations for 2016 beginning this fall, with winners to be honored at United Fresh 2016 in Chicago.

Weis names new VP to oversee fresh merchandising and marketing

Richard-Gunn2Weis Markets announced Richard Gunn has joined the company as senior vice president of merchandising and marketing. In this position, he will oversee the company’s fresh and center store merchandising, sales and procurement, marketing and advertising.

Gunn, who has more than 30 years of food retail experience, will report to Kurt Schertle, Weis Markets’ chief operating officer.

Prior to joining Weis Markets, Gunn was executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at K-VA-T Food Stores, a food retailer operating stores in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Earlier in his career, he worked in various store and regional positions before moving into marketing and merchandising positions where he held increasingly senior positions.

Holtzinger Fruit names new president

Holtzinger Fruit Co., based in Yakima, WA, has hired Dave Henze as its new president. Henze comes to Holtzinger with a unique background with over 18 years of experience in the food business.

Most recently, Henze was in charge of sales and marketing for Idahoan Foods' foodservice division. Prior to that, he was general manager for Simmisco Foods — an avocado joint venture between Mission Produce and the JR Simplot Co.

“As Holtzinger searched for a new president, it was paramount that the position be able to bring superior value to the independent grower," Gordon McFadden, president of Intracorp Captal, said in a press release. "The individual had to have a strong understanding of delivering high returns though sales. Dave also brings a strong background of teambuilding and a creative mindset that will realign Holtzinger and the grower to a challenging industry.”

Henze also brings a strong educational background, with a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Utah and an MBA with international emphasis from Wake Forest University.

Henze and his family will relocate from Idaho Falls, ID.

“I am excited to work for Holtzinger Fruit," he said in the release. "I believe we are uniquely positioned to change the industry dynamics and bring great values and returns to our independent grower partners.”

Stemilt’s organic stone fruit program will start early with jumbo apricots

An early spring in Washington state will equate to the earliest start on record for Stemilt Growers and its premium organic apricot program.

Stemilt, Washington’s leading apricot grower and shipper, will begin apricot harvest on June 10, around two weeks earlier than normal.

The 2015 crop is down 10 percent from last year’s large-volume crop, but with the early spring and the warm weather that came with it, will lean toward jumbo sizing and be very high quality.Cots 0775The peak season for Stemilt’s organic apricots will run from June 22 to July 10. The early timing this season makes jumbo-sized apricots a great item to include in Fourth of July ads.

Stemilt’s apricot program is heavy on organic fruit, with approximately 65 percent of its apricots grown and certified as organic.

“Our organic apricot program is centered on flavor-first fruit,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director, said in a press release. “Natural farming methods combine with our ideal arid orchard locales to produce large, dessert-flavored Artisan Organics apricots.”

According to the Organic Trade Association, organic food sales in the United States recently broke a record, totaling $39.1 billion in 2014, or an 11 percent increase year-over-year. Fruits and vegetables make up more than one-third of all organic food sales, and are the leading organic category.

Stemilt’s summer fruit program has been centered on organics since transitioning peaches, nectarines and apricots to organic back in 2007. The company’s entire crop of peaches and nectarines is organic.

“Consumer demand for organic fruits continues to grow,” Pepperl added in the press release. “Stone fruits are an important part of the produce department each summer and carrying smaller items like apricots organically is a great way for retailers to maximize sales both within the organic category, and the entire produce department. Promoting flavor alongside organic is the way to win over consumers.”

The peak season for Stemilt’s organic apricots will run from June 22 to July 10. The early timing this season makes jumbo-sized apricots a great item to include in Fourth of July ads. Retailers can begin loading apricots in early June and increase volumes for promotions later in the month and into early July.

“Stemilt is heavy in premium apricot varieties like Rival and Perfection, which will harvest during the peak time frame and offer consumers a great eating experience,” Pepperl said.

Aside from carrying organic apricots, proper merchandising of apricots is important in order to drive impulse sales, Pepperl noted. Building endcap displays, telling the grower’s story through signage, and running in-store specials are all great ways to capitalize on a flavor-first and organic apricot program, and all things Stemilt supports its customers on with its Artisan Organics apricots.

“Consumers want to know who, where and how their food was grown, especially on organic produce items,” Pepperl added. “Our apricots are grown by the Douglas family, who has farmed fruit for four generations. Sharing their passion for organics through in-store vehicles, social media, email marketing and more will elevate the great quality apricots featured in your stores, and most importantly, boost sales this summer.”