Talented Retail RDNs in Hunt for Award
Every year, the RDBA Advisory Board is more and more impressed with the caliber of talent in the professionals who apply for the Retail RD of the Year Award. It makes their job of selecting the winner challenging at best. Today we’re recognizing four runners-up for this award (listed in alphabetical order) and congratulate them on their success in driving improved health and business success in their roles.
Danielle Buonforte, RD, ShopRite of Lincoln Park
In her role since 2015, Danielle feels privileged to work with a variety of age groups, from toddlers to teenagers, adults to the elderly. She offers individual nutrition counseling based on customer needs and provides sample menu ideas and recipe makeovers for customers, individuals in the community, local food pantries and local restaurants. She performs educational store tours, cooking demonstrations, food tastings, lectures, wellness programs, as well as participate in community events, fundraisers, and health fairs, and has a specific focus on kids’ programming. She works directly with all of the 300+ employees of her store and each of the 25 departments. Her biggest accomplishment this year has been successfully holding several group programs in the store -- an adult diabetes group, monthly children’s cooking classes, and a healthy lifestyle change class. “Holding these group sessions allows for amazing services for specific-needs groups, and also provides a group of peers to come together and learn from one another, develop friendships, collectively engage to learn, feel, and live better,” says Danielle.
Using ShopRite’s Well Everyday app to track customer sales data, Danielle can show the impact her position has on the store’s business, including how likely a customer is to come back or increase his/her basket size based on consults with her or engagement at community events. She actively promotes healthy products in merchandising, social media, and shopper communicates, and uses her understanding of their shoppers when working with vendors.
Jamie Pepper, MS, RD, ShopRite of Northvale
It’s clear that Jamie understands the business of retail. She has responsibility for multiple merchandising displays in store, where she works with vendors to bring in new products, managing the ordering and inventory. She focuses the displays on seasonal themes and holidays, to align with shopper interests, and offers a Product Spotlight of the Month. Jamie talks to her customers to ask what they are currently buying in other stores and tries to order them for her store if it’s a product which she supports. Several of the newer products brought into her store were due to customers asking for certain products that were trending online or bought in other stores. Jamie gives coupons and sample products to customers during consultations in order to promote some of the better choices. She constantly reaches out to a varied amount of vendors to receive samples and coupons for this reason. She has noticed that customers who see her for consultations are more likely to buy the products again if provided a free sample or coupon first. Jamie also attends webinars and food shows whenever possible to stay on top of trending foods, the most popular diets, and cultural ingredients that are gaining popularity, so that she will be able to answer any questions her customers may have.
Through these merchandising programs, Jamie has increased sales of high grossing items, and at the same time, impacted consumer behavior change.
In addition, Jamie offers a variety of programming to shoppers and employees, both within and outside the store. From nutrition presentations, kids’ cooking classes, health screenings, and quarterly in-store health fairs to a Recipe of the Month, Biggest Winner Challenge and one-on-one consults, Jamie is making real impact with her shoppers.
Amy Petersen, MS, RD, LD Coborn’s
Amy provides nutrition guidance for company-wide initiatives and develops science-based messaging and resources through multi-media channels including print, social, and television segments. She works closely with directors and category managers across the company to create successful nutrition-focused programs throughout the year, providing guests with science-based nutrition resources as well as driving sales. These programs allow Amy to bridge the gap between her and her team, vendors, and national health organizations. Amy focuses much of her time on guest engagement within the grocery store as well. She provides one-on-one consults, store tours, and classes. By offering in-store consults, Amy helps to strengthen Coborn’s partnership with local healthcare systems to provide an additional resource for their patients when it comes to diet and lifestyle changes.
After Amy’s supervisor left the company in August of 2019, Amy and her team developed and proposed a business plan to Coborn’s Operations Committee where they suggested transitioning their roles to corporate dietitians to better align with the company’s health and wellness goals. The proposal was accepted and Amy was able to further expand her role to match her interests and strengths. Additionally, Amy and her team worked with the accounting team to create their own account and have been able to better monitor their program budget, helping them make more strategic decisions about their programs.
Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, CDN, Price Chopper/Market 32
Ellie Wilson has served as the Senior Nutritionist for Price Chopper and Market 32 since 2007. In this role, she has coordinated and executed consumer-facing nutrition initiatives that have supported the company mission to help shoppers feed and care for their families. These include award winning family meal initiatives, digital and store merchandising partnerships with commodity boards, and trade partners, regional public health collaborations and management of retail RD programs.
In 2019, Ellie led a team effort to develop and launch a consumer-facing nutrition attribute program entitled Know Your Colors. She impacted consumer behavior by aligning stakeholders and leveraging communications to ensure store, ad and digital teams can personally use and broadly share Know Your Colors information. Examples include working with Human Resources to add Know Your Colors training to mandatory training for all 20,000+ teammates, aligning Know Your Colors and Well@Work Teammate Worksite Wellness programs with store safety requirements, and engaging Pharmacy teams and customers through training, targeted communications, store signage and handouts. Public health partners, including community-based clinical dietitians, have been trained on Know Your Colors and include in store tours with great success. Produce prescriptions partnerships have also welcomed the program and added it to education efforts. Changes in consumer awareness and sales related to Know Your Colors are being tracked by internal Consumer Insights teams. This program is one example of the amazing talents of Ellie Wilson.