News Briefs


SpartanNash Adds More In-Store Robots

simbe tally robot spartannash

Michigan-based grocer SpartanNash will use Simbe's autonomous inventory robot Tally in 60 additional company-operated stores across the Midwest following a successful pilot program. SpartanNash operates 144 brick-and-mortar grocery stores, primarily under the banners of Family Fare, Martin's Super Markets and D&W Fresh Market.

SpartanNash first piloted Tally at 15 stores in Michigan and Indiana to help associates save time in inventory tracking and spend more time on the floor serving store guests, according to a media release.

"The real-time data intelligence Tally provides helps ensure our store guests' favorite items always stay fresh, are adequately stocked and priced competitively, helping us deliver the ingredients for a better life,” said Tom Swanson, SpartanNash executive vice president, corporate retail.

Simbe's Store Intelligence platform informs product stocking, ordering, merchandising and e-commerce fulfillment with real-time inventory insights across every store area. This data was designed to help store associates ensure items are available for shoppers with accurate location and price, while freeing up their time for more “engaging, guest-facing work.”  

BJ’s Wholesale Club, Schnucks Markets and Wakefern Food Corp.’s ShopRite are among the other retailers also using Simbe’s Tally robots in their stores.

This move represents SpartanNash's continued investment in technology to enhance the shopper and associate experiences and follows the company's investment in other food technology solutions Upshop Magic and food waste technology company Flashfood, the company said in the release. SpartanNash tapped Flashfood in 2020 and UpShop Magic in 2022 to optimize localized inventory, bolster efficient merchandising strategies and improve sustainability. 


Trion Industries President John Thalenfeld Dies

John Thanlenfeld

Trion Industries, an American manufacturer of retail fixtures and merchandising equipment, announced the unexpected death of its president and CEO, John Thalenfeld. 

Thalenfeld, who passed away on Feb. 4, was the son of company founder David Thalenfeld.

"All who knew him, his corporate endeavors and years of involvement in community charitable efforts mourn this unfathomable loss,” the company said in a statement. “The corporation’s officers, management and employees extend our deepest sympathies to the Thalenfeld family and pledge to carry on with all of John’s undertakings in his absence. There will be no changes in the operation or management of the company. John would want us to continue serving our customers and our community to the best of our abilities.”

John Thalenfeld was born in Queens, New York, in 1956, and began his career at Trion in 1972 as a packer, working under his father. He worked his way up through virtually every job function before being named president and CEO in 1986, a position he has held ever since. 

After attending New York University and Wilkes College, Thalenfeld was a “moving force” behind relocating the factory to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and has advanced an environmental stewardship, community and employee engagement agenda unique to Trion, the company said.


FMI Appoints New Board Members


FMI, the Food Industry Association, elected new members to its board of directors at the association’s January meeting. The new directors further build on FMI’s commitment to a broad representation of the supplier and retailer/wholesaler communities within the association’s leadership.

“The food industry is on the cusp of momentous change, with new technologies poised to alter the way food businesses operate,” FMI president and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said in a media release. “FMI is proud to welcome these esteemed individuals from both retailer and supplier companies to our board of directors to lend their perspectives and expertise as we seek to navigate these changes together. I’m confident that the addition of these industry leaders to our board will further strengthen our ability to carry out our strategic vision, embrace change and take advantage of new opportunities before us.”

New Directors (three-year term):

  • Joe Fantozzi, president, chief operating officer, Allegiance Retail Services, Iselin, New Jersey
  • Tony Hoggett, senior vice president of worldwide grocery stores, Amazon, Seattle
  • Joel Rampoldt, CEO, Lidl U.S., Arlington, Virginia

Chairman’s Appointees (one-year term):

  • Bruce Brown, chief customer officer, WK Kellogg Co, Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Tom Flocco, CEO, Pete and Gerry’s Organics, Monroe, New Hampshire
  • Dana McNabb, chief strategy & growth officer, General Mills, Golden Valley, Minnesota
  • Carrie Sander, chief customer officer, Kellanova, Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Terry Thomas, chief growth officer, Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Georgia

“Even as we witness incredible technological change that will drive greater efficiencies for our businesses, we remain steadfast in our commitment to providing communities with safe, nourishing food," added Brian George, FMI chair and Alex Lee president, chairman and CEO. "FMI’s new directors are shining examples of industry leaders who have the courage to embrace innovation and the resolve to always put the customer first.”


Albertsons Seeking Diverse Brands


Albertsons Cos. has opened its annual application process for diverse-owned suppliers, as of Jan. 22. 

The Albertsons Cos. Supplier Diversity Program is designed to discover, support and give diverse-owned suppliers the opportunity to expand their business with Albertsons and its banner stores.

Qualifying suppliers include small and mid-size businesses that are at least 51% owned, controlled and operated by women, Black, indigenous and people of color, LGBTQ+, veterans or people with disabilities who can offer products that appeal to the varied preferences of Albertsons’ customer base, according to the company.

“At Albertsons Cos., we are committed to providing opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs and businesses to successfully grow their brands and sell their products on our store shelves,” Monique Lanaux, group vice president and chief diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging officer, said in a media release. “Through our Supplier Diversity Program, we are building an inclusive culture in our stores that values diversity and reflects the many communities where we live and serve.”

Qualifying suppliers interested in having their products considered can submit their application online here by Feb. 2Suppliers who are selected to meet with the Albertsons team will be notified by Feb. 16, and appointments will be scheduled for early April.

The Supplier Diversity Program also works closely with diverse business owners to overcome challenges and various barriers including access to working capital. Through Albertsons Cos. continued partnership with C2FO, diverse-owned brands can receive early payment terms on approved invoices.

Last year, nearly 500 businesses submitted applications for the Supplier Diversity Program and more than 60 diverse-owned brands were selected to meet with the Albertsons’ merchandising team. As a result, six brands — Blue Elephant, Catalina Crunch, Mr. Kooks, Partake Foods, Radius and Watcharee’s — were added to the more than 200 certified diverse suppliers already selling their products nationwide at Albertsons stores including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s.


Brands Help Ace Hardware Promote Las Vegas Flagship Reopening

Van Marcke Trade Supply's Ace Hardware will celebrate the grand reopening of its flagship store in Las Vegas with a special event taking place Jan. 12-14. The weekend event will engage the local Las Vegas community with activities, including:

  • Grilling demos with tasting samples: Hosted by vendors such as Big Green Egg, expert chefs will showcase the latest in outdoor cooking technology and offer samples.
  • Grand-opening deals: Deals span a range of products, including home improvement essentials and tools. 
  • Power tool demonstrations: Shoppers can explore the latest innovations from Stihl and other brands as they conduct live demos and provide insights into their products.
  • Vendor showcase: Shoppers can interact with representatives from various brands, such as Benjamin Moore, Big Green Egg and Stihl, who will be on-site hosting demos and providing product information.
  • Giveaways: Shoppers will have the opportunity to win prizes, including a Weber Spirit II E-210 Grill, Milwaukee M18 Fuel Cordless 2 Tool Combo Kit and a EGO Power Plus Battery String Trimmer.

"We have been hard at work and are thrilled to welcome the community back to our newly renovated store. The grand reopening is a celebration of our commitment to providing quality products and exceptional customer service. We invite everyone to join us for a weekend of fun, learning, and fantastic deals," Melissa Dominguez, store manager at Van Marcke's Ace Hardware, said in a media release.


Bold Strategies Names New CEO

Darcy Ramler

Bold Strategies, a commerce growth services agency, has made its chief revenue officer its next CEO. 

Darcy Ramler was appointed to the company's top role, succeeding founder Allan Peretz. He will transition to executive chairman and work closely with company leaders on strategic priorities.

Ramler, known for her transformative leadership in major apparel companies and significant contributions to growth at Walmart, Target and other major retailers, brings extensive expertise in commerce strategy to her new role. Her unique perspective and track record in business expansion will help propel further growth for Bold.

"I'm excited to step into the CEO role at Bold," Ramler said in a news release. "Our talented team will continue to harness and help redefine the ever-evolving landscape of digitally influenced commerce as we build a future that's as Bold as our name."

Ramler has been a pivotal figure in Bold's journey, Peretz said in the release. 

"Her exceptional strategic insight and dedication over the past three years have been fundamental to our growth," he said. "I am excited to witness her guide Bold and our clients into an innovative and successful future."

Ramler said she will carry with her the invaluable lessons learned under Peretz’s mentorship.

"His visionary leadership and innovative mindset have been instrumental in shaping both our company's path and my personal growth," Ramler said in the release.

Bold was listed on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies for two consecutive years. In 2022, the organization secured a $2.3 million investment. Its clients include startups like Lemi Shine and Kudo and established brands such as Bayer and GoGo squeeZ.

Peretz founded the company in 2016.