In Rochester, WHAM-TV News reported on the retirement of Mary Ellen Burris, Senior Vice President of Consumer Affairs at Wegmans, who is stepping down from the company after almost a half-century.
The story notes that Burris essentially wrote her own job description when she joined the company, foreseeing a “revolution in consumer thinking” and "bridging the gap between the consumer and the company.”
From the WHAM story:
"That description was prophetic, as bridging the gap between company and consumer is what Burris has done for Wegmans for nearly 50 years. One example is the hundreds of columns she wrote on topics ranging from cooking your Thanksgiving turkey, to cultural diversity, all aimed at educating consumers. For many years, those columns were part of the weekly Wegmans ad in newspapers. Later, they moved to social media.
"Burris' relationship with consumers was always a two-way street. Whether through handwritten letters, emails, or tweets, Wegmans customers have always been more than willing to share their compliments and criticisms."
The story notes that " a recent knee replacement and being at home due to the pandemic helped make the retirement decision easier. 'I liked being home,' she said. 'Every retired person I ever talked to you said you'll know when it's time. And they were right. I just knew. Now is the right time.'"
Even more importantly, Burris was in the right place at the right time with the right vision for how consumers would be empowered by education and transparency … which even 50 years after she started, remains an Eye-Opening and enlightened approach to food marketing.