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Next-Generation Refrigeration Technology

BY Marianne Wilson

In the first application of its type in North America, Price Chopper Supermarkets has installed a refrigeration system that uses a carbon-dioxide (CO2) cascade for low-temperature refrigeration. The 116-store, Schenectady, N.Y.-based chain is using the new technology in the frozen-food and ice-cream departments of its remodeled store in Saratoga, N.Y.

With the technology, from Hill PHOENIX, Conyers, Ga., the CO2 in the air is condensed by a medium-temperature refrigeration system using R-404A, which also chills propylene glycol for the dairy and beverage departments. According to Hill PHOENIX, chief among the advantages of using CO2 in a cascade system is the greatly reduced refrigerant cost: CO2 is $.50 per lb. compared to $7 or $8 per lb. for HFCs.

Additional benefits include smaller line sizes, reduced copper piping and increased system efficiency.

Equally important, the new system aligns with Price Chopper’s ongoing focus on sustainability by helping the store protect the ozone layer and reduce its carbon footprint. It has 3,000 times less global-warming potential than older refrigerant systems, according to the chain, because it reuses CO2 already in the air.

The system also is in keeping with Price Chopper’s membership in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GreenChill Program, in which members seek to promote advanced technologies, strategies, and practices that reduce refrigerant charges and emissions of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases.

“This is a great example of a GreenChill partner taking the lead in developing a more environmentally friendly supermarket,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “We’d like to see every supermarket in the nation follow Price Chopper’s example.”

Additionally, Price Chopper specified several other green components for the Saratoga store, including LED lighting in all cases, the use of reach-in door cases for all new medium-temperature loads and variable-speed fan control for the air-cooled condensers.

Price Chopper plans to evaluate the maintenance and efficacy of its new green refrigeration system during the next several months. If it proves as effective as expected, the chain will move forward to use it in other stores.

In other green news, Price Chopper will open the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) supermarket in the state of New York in spring 2009, in the town of Colonie.

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Staples partners with Blackhawk for gift cards

BY CSA STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. Staples has announced an exclusive partnership with the Blackhawk Network, the largest third-party provider of prepaid gift-cards, to carry Blackhawk’s Signature Gift Card Mall, currently found in grocery stores such as Safeway. Blackhawk’s Gift Card Mall features over 300 branded gift cards across categories such as fashion, tickets, electronics, home and sports.

“Consumers love buying and receiving gift cards, and putting the Gift Card Mall in Staples stores will make it easy and convenient for our customers to buy a wide variety of gift cards,” said Mark Mettler, senior vp and gmm at Staples.

“Staples is a valuable retail outlet for us because of its understanding of the B2B aspect of our business,” said Don Kingsborough, ceo of Blackhawk Network. “Working with Staples, we will reach small business owners and give them the ability to purchase prepaid gift cards for their employees in the same place they buy office supplies.”

Staples is the first office supply store to carry Blackhawk gift cards.

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RadioShack appoints new chief marketer

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas RadioShack announced the appointment of Lee Applbaum to the position of evp and chief marketing officer. Applbaum will be responsible for advertising, brand management, customer relations management and marketing and will report to chairman and ceo Julian Day. He will also serve as a member of the office of the chairman, comprised of Day; Bryan Bevin, evp of store operations; Jim Gooch, evp and cfo and Peter Whitsett, evp of merchandising.

“Lee’s joining us at RadioShack represents another significant step in strengthening our senior management team,” said Day. “Lee’s background and successful track record position him well to add value to our brand.”

Applbaum began his career at Lederle Consumer Health, a division of American Cyanamid Co., shortly after earning his MBA in 1994 from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has also worked at The Coca-Cola Co., Schlotzsky’s, Footstar and The David’s Bridal Group, a division of Federated Department Stores. Immediately prior to joining RadioShack, Applbaum was the chief marketing officer for The Schottenstein Stores Corp.

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