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Pizza retailers bring loyalty to customers

BY Dan Berthiaume

October is National Pizza Month, and two pizza chains are using mobile and social technology to heat up their loyalty programs as the weather cools.

The Los Angeles-based, 200-plus-unit California Pizza Kitchen will leverage a Paytronix-powered mobile rewards program.

Leveraging geofencing to identify members of its Pizza Dough loyalty program when they are near stores, California Pizza Kitchen will send push/pull mobile messages with a special October promotion offering 25% savings.

In addition, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware-based, 21-store Grotto Pizza is basing an instant wins program for members of its Swirl Rewards Club on Paytronix technology. The promotion also invites customers to tell others about their loyalty via social media.

“We are very excited about National Pizza Month at Grotto Pizza, and about what it means for our guests,” said Vinnie DiNatale, director of marketing at Grotto Pizza. "This year Grotto Pizza is adding a social media element where a guest can like, share and comment on Facebook posts for a chance to win additional prizes, like free pizza and Swirl Reward Bucks.”

Both promotions use the Paytronix Rewards platform, which delivers components including POS integration, smartphone apps, mobile-friendly guest Web pages, and a promotion and messaging engine. In addition, the Paytronix Campaign Center enables marketers to measure and improve the performance of their loyalty campaigns, while Paytronix Data Insights combines out-of-the-box dashboard reports with a team of analysts to help uncover actionable insights from disparate data sources.

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Meijer finds RX for growth with new president

BY Gina Acosta

Midwest discounter Meijer tapped a former store pharmacist who worked his way up in the company as its next president.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer announced that Rick Keyes, who joined the company 26 years ago as a pharmacist in Columbus, Ohio, has been appointed as president. He will succeed James Kevin "J.K." Symancyk, who is leaving Meijer, effective Oct. 9, to become the CEO of Texas-based retailer Academy Sports + Outdoors.

"We are pleased to introduce Rick as our new president," said Hank Meijer, co-chairman and co-CEO. "Rick's proven leadership has been an inspiration to our team. He has grown up with Meijer, excelling in positions in both pharmacy and store operations, and, most recently, building industry-leading supply chain and manufacturing operations."

Keyes, 46, had been executive VP of supply chain and manufacturing since 2006. In that capacity he oversaw the retailer's expansion into manufacturing with the acquisition of one dairy and construction of another, and pioneered initiatives ranging from the launch of a near-zero emission truck fleet to significant investments in lean distribution technologies.

"I am truly humbled and honored to accept the role as president of Meijer," Keyes said. "I joined this company as a front-line team member more than 25 years ago, and Meijer has provided me the opportunity to learn, grow and develop experiences across a variety of disciplines. I'm very much looking forward to working with our team members at all levels to ensure Meijer continues to grow and thrive."

While Keyes' imprint on the increased sophistication of Meijer supply chain and manufacturing operations is dramatic, he is also known as a strong advocate for team members, including a passion for increasing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Since 2012, Keyes has led an initiative at several Meijer distribution facilities to create job opportunities for persons with various levels of disability, partnering with several local non-profit agencies.

"A company can only be great if its team members feel valued and engaged, regardless of their role or level," Keyes said. "Together with a strong senior leadership team, I'm looking forward to charting a course for our company where everyone can feel ownership for our success, while delivering the excellent customer service Meijer is known for."

Keyes will be the seventh president in the company's 81-year history. He is a native of Columbus, Ohio and a graduate of Ohio Northern University's College of Pharmacy.

Meijer operates 222 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

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Staples says no to Black Thursday

BY Gina Acosta

Staples is bucking the Black Thursday trend by making a statement, literally, about closing its stores on Thanksgiving Day in order to allow its customers, employees and their families to enjoy the holiday.

The retailer issued a statement on Thursday saying that despite being open on Thanksgiving Day the past two years, this year it says customers and employees should have the chance to stay home with family and friends. Stores will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.

“We want our customers and associates to enjoy Thanksgiving their own way,” said Demos Parneros, president, North American stores and online, Staples. “On Thanksgiving Day, customers can shop from home on Staples.com and then continue their shopping in stores starting at 6 a.m. on Black Friday. Whether our customers like the convenience of shopping online, in our stores or a combination of both, Staples will have amazing products at great prices throughout the holiday season.”

Staples is the first major retailer to reveal its holiday hours for this year.

More and more retailers have been opening on Thanksgiving Day in recent years. Last year, retailers such as Target, Sears, Kohl's, Macy's and Best Buy all opened on Thanksgiving Day. But Staples says its customers won’t have to wait until the week of Black Friday for great deals.

Beginning in early November, Staples will offer special holiday savings both in store and online on an assortment of tech devices and other essential products that businesses need as well as personalized gifts from Staples Copy and Print, many with same-day pick-up options.

“At Staples, our small business customers get more for less every day, including this holiday season,” said Alison Corcoran, senior VP, North American stores and online marketing, Staples. “In addition to great deals, we offer free shipping from Staples.com for our Staples Rewards members and everyone can buy online and pick up in store for an easy same-day option.”

Staples will also continue to offer its Price Match Guarantee all season long.

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