Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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come up with a plan of what should be in the grocery store," says Hogg. "We try to make sure that fresh fruits and vegetables are available. We want to teach people how to eat healthy, but we don't want to tell people what to eat. It's a long arch program. If we can convince people to make tacos with turkey instead of beef, or to use low-sodium salsa instead of high sodium, then we're doing something right." DMG Foods will be rolling out a workforce development program later this year. In partnership with other grocers in the Baltimore area, the program will prepare individuals who will be working at DMG Foods to go to other grocery stores, and eventu- ally work their way up through the system. Focusing primarily on skills such as clear communication, interpersonal skills, making first impressions, timeliness, and responsibility and care of materi- als, the program aims to deliver employees that have been primed on the soft skills, and are ready to learn the hard skills. "We're working with these local grocers to help find them better employees, so they can stabilize their workforce and grow. We're not in competition with them—we want them to be more successful," Hogg explains Other programs that DMG Foods plans to roll out include a monthly evening with a chef at the store, where invited shoppers can bring their spouse or partner for a night of music and cook- ing; access to a nutritionist who will assist with healthy choices; opportunities for people to apply for government assistance in the store; and a community garden created in partnership with a local school, so children can learn how to grow and harvest fruits and vegetables. The produce that they harvest will be sold in the store and profits returned to the school. Getting the Good Word Out and Doing Some Good Since DMG Foods opened earlier this year, Hogg and his team have worked to get the word out about the store via store circulars, email, social media outreach, and most importantly, word of mouth. With the help of partners like the Maryland Food Bank, Hogg can offer daily meal solutions, cooking demonstrations, and most importantly, keep grocery prices low. "Our prices are under some stores and over others because of vol- ume pricing. If people just shop in-house brands, the cost experience is even lower, and we keep prices low on fresh fruits and vegetables, especially," says Hogg. "We're hitting goals so far with our business model, we're driving foot traffic, and we're making people aware that we're here and open for business." When Hogg begins turning a profit at the store, that money will help support a program founded by his wife called Catherine's Cottage, the first free-standing program by the Salvation Army for individuals who have been rescued from human trafficking. While the Salvation Army food pantries are doing an incred- ible service by providing those who are hungry with bags of food, the focus of DMG Foods is to provide people who are living with food instability or in a food desert, with something they may not be accustomed to: options. "We're trying to teach people to stop here and buy just enough food for today. It can be fresh food, it doesn't have to be processed, and you can stretch your money. We're trying to help people shop better and get more for their dollar," says Hogg. "Food education, nutrition, job training, and creating an environment where people can come. That's what's important to us." giving back Sara Kay is content and education specialist for the Specialty Food Association. More Companies Making a Difference Kroger: Enhancing Educational Opportunities The Kroger Co. has revealed new and enhanced associate ben- efits following the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including an education assistance program called Feed Your Future, investments in store associate wages, a more generous 401(k) benefit, and enriched associate discount and support programs. The Feed Your Future program will offer associates an employee education benefit of up to $3,500 annually toward continuing education and develop- ment opportunities including a high school equivalency exam, professional certification, and advanced degrees. Kroger expects to increase by five times its total annual investment in employee education. Tropical Smoothie Café: Helping Rebuild Post Hurricane Harvey Tropical Smoothie Café reopened its Rockport, Texas, cafe on April 23 after it had been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. In addi- tion to the grand opening festivities, guests had the opportunity to donate to hurricane relief efforts. Like much of the Rockport com- munity, Pam Farley, the franchisee owner, was personally impacted by the storms but focused on supporting the rebuilding efforts. Before rebuilding, Farley partnered with neighboring business owners to organize a drive to distribute necessities to people in the community, and as part of her reopening efforts, Farley will con- tinue to provide support to Hurricane Harvey victims by accepting donations for hurricane relief at the cafe. 116 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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