business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • North Carolina-based Lowes Foods announced that it has introduced a biometric payment system at one of its stores in Hickory, NC.

    The company plans to introduce the BioPay "Quiktouch” system in Charlotte, NC, this summer and install the system at all Lowes Foods stores by the spring of 2006.

  • Nash Finch Company unveiled an extensive IGA retailer market development program at a meeting of more than 120 IGA member retailers and hosted jointly by Ron Marshall, CEO of Nash Finch and Dr. Thomas Haggai, Chairman, President and CEO of IGA. Nash Finch also announced the conversion of its Cincinnati distribution center to a dedicated IGA Center of Excellence that it said would consolidate service to its member retailers. The facility, according to the company, will not only carry a much broader assortment of products, but also will centralize buying power significantly, which should reduce costs for IGA members.

  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that David C. Busch, a former vice president at Roundy’s, was charged yesterday with making illegal campaign contributions while consulting for a local construction company.

    The paper says that Busch has told investigators that he made similar payments a decade ago, when working for Roundy’s; he left the food retailer/wholesaler about three years ago, after the company was sold to Chicago’s Willis Stein & Partners.

    The Journal Sentinel writes that “Robert Mariano, who became chairman and CEO of Roundy's in June 2002, said he could not comment on Busch's allegations, but that a code of conduct adopted by the company under Mariano specifically puts salaried employees on notice that they must follow the law when making political contributions.”

  • C-store chain 7-Eleven Inc will open its first Manhattan store next month in the Gramercy Park section of New York City, with more stores in other neighborhoods to follow. The company bailed out of the New York market back in the eighties, but is refocusing on urban markets as a growth engine.

  • The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has joined with Dr. Bronner's & Sun Dog's Magic (a California-based manufacturer of lotions, lip balms and body/tattoo balms) to file a lawsuit against the US department of Agriculture (USDA) related to its announced change of policy for organic certification.

    USDA recently was reported to be disallowing nonfoods products from claiming to certified organic as part of the National Organic program, despite the fact that its previous policy was to allow such qualified claims. Reports say that the change in policy will take effect on October 21, 2005, unless the courts rule against the USDA.

    OCA and Dr. Bronner’s are looking to maintain nonfoods’ manufacturers access to the certification program.

KC's View: