News Briefs


Vanguard Companies Appoints New CEO


Vanguard Companies, a Kansas City, Missouri-based marketing and merchandising solutions provider, promoted company veteran James Beard (pictured) to the position of CEO in April. Beard has been with Vanguard for more than 15 years, most recently serving as chief operating officer since 2015. Prior to that, he served as general manager for six years.

Beard took the reins Chris Stoler, who had served as CEO since 2021 (per his LinkedIn) after Mark Mathes, son of Vanguard founders Jack and Bobbie Mathes, stepped away from the role, which he had held since 2007.

Beard will be responsible for continuing to grow Vanguard through its company culture, customer base, new strategic growth opportunities and continued operational excellence, per a news release.

Vanguard said Beard’s extensive knowledge within the corrugated industry and history at the company will drive Vanguard’s continued focus on its customers and strategic growth trajectory.

Vanguard, founded in 1975, specializes in P-O-P displays, signage, packaging, digital printing, fulfillment services and program management capabilities.


Frank Mayer Launches Customizable Self-Service Kiosk


Grafton, Wisconsin-based retail display manufacturer Frank Mayer has introduced the Streamline kiosk to its standard line of self-service kiosks.

The freestanding Streamline kiosk includes a 55-inch touchscreen monitor and can be outfitted with several optional peripherals, including speakers, a camera, a Wi-Fi antenna and PC/media player variants, according to a news release.

In addition, the front top panel can be manufactured flat or angled, depending on what peripherals are required.

The kiosk can also offer louvers for temperature control, a Wi-Fi antenna location option and a larger rear-hinged access door intended for ease of monitor installation and servicing, as well as customizable vertical panels on both sides of the unit for aesthetics.

The kiosk can be used to provide wayfinding instructions and offer endless aisle options to draw customers to its self-service abilities.

Frank Mayer and Associates specializes in developing interactive kiosks, point-of-purchase displays and store fixtures for brands and retailers nationwide.


Imperial Design + Display Makes Acquisition


Rogers, Minnesota-based Imperial Design + Display (IDD) completed its acquisition of MyCull Fixtures Inc., a fixtures manufacturer based in Princeton, Minnesota, on March 25.

Founded in 1999, MyCull specializes in custom retail displays, providing custom design, engineering and fabrication with a focus on laminate, solid wood, solid-surface and millwork packages for more than 7,000 hair salons and retail locations.

“Over the years IDD and MyCull have worked on several projects together with great success. The timing for the acquisition worked out perfectly,” IDD CEO Carroll Shipman said in a media release. “We had a need to increase our capabilities for wood and solid surface production and MyCull was a perfect fit for ID. Both entities will be under the IDD umbrella to provide one-stop shopping for custom retail store fixture programs for brands and retailers.”


CHPA Recognizes Jim Mackey for Lifetime Achievement

jim mackey

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) awarded its Ivan D. Combe Lifetime Achievement Award to industry veteran Jim Mackey on March 20 at its annual Self-Care Leadership Summit in Orlando, Florida.

Each year, the award recognizes the outstanding contributions of one individual who has created a lasting impact on the U.S. consumer healthcare industry and directly improved self-care for consumers. It is named after Ivan Combe, an industry pioneer who served on CHPA’s board of directors from 1958 until 2000. The honoree is chosen based on three core attributes:

  1. Professional excellence and a passion for improving the lives of healthcare consumers.
  2. Outstanding leadership and involvement in industry activities.
  3. A commitment to giving back to the community.  

Mackey started his career as a sales merchandiser for a pharmaceutical manufacturer formerly known as Sterling Drug before joining Whitehall Labs, a division of American Home Products, where he was named vice president of sales at the age of 28. In that role, Mackey helped launch one of the most successful Rx-to-OTC switches in U.S. history with the launch of Advil in 1984.

Mackey then spent nearly two decades at Schering-Plough, where he helped bring Claritin and MiraLAX to the OTC market. Following the acquisition of Schering-Plough by Merck in 2009, he capped off his corporate career by helping to negotiate the acquisition of Merck Consumer by Bayer in 2014.

Additionally, CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville, said in a media release, “[Mackey’s] service on CHPA’s board of directors, including as our chairman from 2013 to 2014, led to progress on key industry initiatives, including relaunching CHPA’s educational foundation and beginning the effort to modernize the OTC monograph system.”

Melville added that Mackey’s greatest mark on the industry was perhaps “his leadership in organizing an industry response to the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which placed OTC pseudoephedrine (PSE) behind the counter and led states to consider making PSE a prescription product.”

Mackey has also helped his community as a mentor, volunteer at nonprofit organizations, and as an advisor and board member to Ways 2 Wellness, a publishing venture focused on improving the lives of seniors, their communities and care givers.

View a list of past Ivan D. Combe Lifetime Achievement Award winners here.


7-Eleven Launches Branded EV Charging Stations


7-Eleven has launched a proprietary network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and a dedicated mobile app to provide shoppers a fast-charging experience at select stores in the U.S. — and coming soon to Canada.

The network, dubbed 7Charge, is already available to EV drivers at several 7-Eleven locations in Florida, Texas, Colorado and California.

7Charge sites allow customers to charge any EV make and model compatible with common CHAdeMO or Combined Charging System (CCS) plug types (or an appropriate adapter). The 7Charge app aims to provide an extra level of convenience and coordination to customers looking for a seamless charging and payment experience. The app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, or by visiting

"For over 95 years, 7-Eleven has innovated to meet our customers' needs delivering convenience where, when and how they want it," Joe DePinto, president and CEO at 7-Eleven, said in a media release. "Now, we are innovating once again to meet our customers' where they are by expanding our business to provide EV drivers convenience of the"

By expanding the 7Charge network, while continuing to utilize third-party charging options, 7-Eleven says it hopes its network will match consumer demand and make EV charging available to neighborhoods that have mostly lacked access, per the release.

Once the network's expansion is complete, 7-Eleven’s charging stations will reach across its family of brands, including Speedway and Stripes stores.


Home Depot Veteran Promoted to Merchandising EVP

home depot

The Home Depot has named William "Billy" Bastek executive vice president of merchandising, effective immediately.

Bastek is a 33-year veteran of Home Depot, having served in several leadership positions across the merchandising organization. Most recently, he was senior vice president of hardlines, where he was responsible for merchandising and marketing strategies for the hardware and garden departments. Prior to that role, he was merchandising vice president of hardware and tools, where he oversaw the growth and transformation of the power tools and automotive departments in stores and online.

Under Bastek's leadership, the merchandising team has led the retailer’s modernization efforts in the power tools and outdoor power categories, driving a shift from corded or gas-powered to battery-powered equipment. He and the team also drove Home Depot's growth in the Halloween and holiday categories both online and in stores.

Bastek began his career in 1989 at HD Supply, formerly known as Maintenance Warehouse, which was originally acquired by Home Depot in 1997. He has held various roles, including global product merchant, senior merchant, divisional merchandise manager and MVP for building materials.

Bastek replaces Jeff Kinnaird, who recently left the home improvement retailer.

"[Kinnaird] has made significant contributions to The Home Depot since starting in the lumber aisle nearly 27 years ago and progressing through every role in our stores," Ted Decker, chair, president and CEO of Home Depot, said in a media release. "His leadership of our Canadian division and more recently of our merchandising, marketing and online businesses is greatly appreciated.”