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• The New York Business Journal reports that even as the New York metro area deals with the bankruptcies of both A&P and Fairway - the first of which resulted in the end of the company, the second of which leaves the once-iconic Upper West Side independent food retailer with an uncertain future - there is a small player planning to take advantage of the moment.

Mrs. Green’s Neighborhood Market, the story says, "plans to grow further here after opening a store in the West Village last August. Its Westchester County-based parent company, Natural Markets Food Group, plans to expand its Mrs. Green footprint into Manhattan and Brooklyn, with plans to open two or three more stores in the next 18 months."

CEO Pat Brown tells the Journal that the company is actively looking for sites in neighborhoods that don't have small grocery stores focused on local and organic products.

Pat Brown comes from HEB and New Seasons Markets, which means he is a very smart guy with a ton of experience in growing differentiated formats. Mrs. Green's will have more than its share of challenges if it wants to grow in New York, but I think Brown is a guy worth betting on.

• The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has released the names of the 10 finalists in its annual Store Manager Award contest.

The nominees are scored based on their ability to generate sales growth, provide exceptional customer service and/or community relations, execute in-store innovation and demonstrate team leadership, FMI said. The finalists are:

- Category A (1-49 Stores): Alberto Ayala, Northgate Gonzalez Market, Los Angeles, California; Larry Baxter, Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Boston, Massachusetts; Jon Wieser, Festival Foods, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

- Category B (50-199 Stores): Patty Bianco, Tops Markets, LLC, Niagara Falls, New York; David Couture, Hannaford Supermarkets, Wells, Maine; Piotr Soja, Big Y Foods, Inc., Northampton, Massachusetts.

- Category C (200+ Stores): Josh Birmingham, The Kroger Co. Columbus Division, Holland, Ohio; Jen Knesel, Hy-Vee, Inc., Winona, Minnesota; Angel Robles, Smart & Final Stores, LLC, Upland, California.

- Category D (International): Ted Pigeon, Overwaitea Food Group, Victoria, BC, Canada.

The winner will be announced at the 2016 FMI Show in Chicago next month.
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