business news in context, analysis with attitude

Today, Tom Furphy & KC are live at the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show in Las Vegas, talking about the risks of "small ball" thinking at a time when economic circumstances  have given big, bold bets a bad name.  They argue, however, that the kinds of bets that independent retailers need to make don't have to be expensive - but they must represent a vision for what food retailing will look like in five or 10 years.  Baby steps are fine, they suggest, but they have to be in the direction of some larger goal.

Note:  The continuing goal of "The Innovation Conversation" is to explore some facet of the fast-changing, technology-driven retail landscape and how it affects businesses and consumers. It is, we think, fertile territory ... and one that Tom Furphy - a former Amazon executive who led the team that developed Amazon Fresh, and currently CEO and Managing Director of Consumer Equity Partners (CEP), a venture capital and venture development firm in Seattle, WA, that works with many top retailers and manufacturers - is uniquely positioned to address.

Also from the NGA Show…

•  NGA announced that Alabama’s Auburn University has won the 2023 Student Case Study Competition.

The annual competition pits students from 11 schools against each other, over multiple rounds, as they deliver "presentations that offered ways to develop a comprehensive strategy for the best combination of internal benefits with competitive corporate positioning.  This year’s case study subject was Dierbergs Markets, which operates 26 stores in the greater St. Louis area and that, faced with “The Great Resignation," is seeking ways in which "they should structure their financial plans and team activities to increase recruiting and retention."

•  The Women Grocers of America (WGA) today presented its Woman of the Year Award, given annually to a "female grocer who displays strong leadership, a passion for the grocery industry and a commitment to her community," to Gwen Christon, owner and operator of Isom IGA in Isom, Ky.

•  The annual Best Bagger Championship this year was won by Karli West of of Macey’s in Utah, who took home a $10,000 cash prize.

Runners-up included JDana Sparks of United Supermarket (Texas), Brennan Davenport of Publix (Georgia), Nathan Brtek of Lou's Thriftyway (Nebraska), and Nolan McGregor of Fareway Stores (Iowa).