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Rite Aid Supplier Partners of the Year: Outstanding Examples of Collaboration

Each year, Rite Aid recognizes and honors supplier partners whose efforts have had a significant impact on business during the year. These “Supplier Partner of the Year” awards were announced at the Annual Supplier Conference, held this year in Hershey, Pa., on Sept. 9-10.

Rite Aid President and Chief Operating Officer Ken Martindale joined Executive Vice President of Merchandising Tony Montini in presenting the “Supplier Partner of the Year” award to four supplier partners who have demonstrated thoughtful creativity, an excellent approach to collaboration and outstanding attention to detail.

This year’s award winners are InComm, Foster Grant, Unilever and Niagara Bottling.

“These supplier partners set the bar for success,” Montini remarked. “I congratulate and thank them, along with all of our valued supplier partners, for their outstanding efforts and contributions to our continued success.”

Incomm 1

From left to right:  Rite Aid President and COO Ken Martindale; InComm Director of Sales Jim Zinzi, Vice President of Sales Scott Fain, and President and CEO Brooks Smith; and Rite Aid Executive Vice President of Merchandising Tony Montini

In presenting the award to InComm, Montini noted its contribution to the phenomenal growth in the prepaid category, with double-digit increases each year. Last year, growth in the category exceeded 30 percent over the prior year, highlighted by a strong holiday season and a 45 percent profit increase.

“Our collaboration with InComm has made a significant difference in our collective business,” said Montini. “The dedication to excellence and outstanding contributions of this valued Supplier Partner of the Year are helping us grow forward, together.”

Foster Grant 1

From left to right: Rite Aid President and COO Ken Martindale, Foster Grant President Jack Flynn and Merchandise Manager Irene Freeman, and Rite Aid Executive Vice President of Merchandising Tony Montini.

After Foster Grant rolled out a new and best-in-class fixture in 2013 and a differentiated product assortment for Sunglasses and Reading Glasses, Montini said Rite Aid’s sales in the category increased 25 percent and total profit increased 37 percent, even while the industry was relatively flat.

“This supplier partner shares our vision in driving sales and ensuring that our stores have a well-executed program,” said Montini. “Foster Grant is a true collaborative partner who communicates effectively to build strategic and tactical alignment with our category management team.”

Unilever 2

From left to right: Ken Martindale, Rite Aid president and COO; Jerry Dowell, president and CEO of The Dowell Group; Frank Carlisimo, Rite Aid team lead, Adam Seston, Unilever director of drug channel; Tony Montini, Rite Aid executive vice president of merchandising; and Todd Tillesman, Unilever senior vice president of customer development.

In presenting the award to Unilever, Montini noted that they have been a top growth driver at Rite Aid for the past three years and one of the most aggressive supplier partners over the past year— bringing real value to Rite Aid’s monthly Profit Plan program in the form of strong promotional price points combined with wellness+ offers. This team has collaborated with Rite Aid on each of their Masterbrand Scale Events to deliver a best-in-class execution and continues to add resources in the areas of staffing and incremental programs.

“Unilever continues to focus on innovation—not only in the form of new items, but also in unique merchandising concepts such as the Men’s Zone and our soon-to-be-unveiled beauty merchandising presentation,” said Montini. “Their collaboration has contributed to sales increases of 7 percent last year and nearly 30 percent over the past three years, along with an 8 percent profit increase last year.

Niagara 3

From left to right: Rite Aid President and COO Ken Martindale, Niagara Bottling Senior Sales Development Manager Brendon O’Neill and President and CEO Andy Peykoff, Rite Aid Executive Vice President of Merchandising Tony Montini and Niagara Bottling Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jaylon Hutton.

As a result of its partnership with supplier partner Niagara Bottling, Rite Aid has been able to secure some of the lowest costs in the industry for the bottled water category—contributing to an impressive 12 percent sales increase and 18 percent profit increase.

“Niagara has focused on Rite Aid as a key customer in order fill priority,” said Montini. “They have consistently met all challenges, including providing off-site finished goods emergency inventory for the past three years and working with us to provide scan-based funding to support extremely aggressive 24-pack pricing.”

Montini added that when weather or environmental tragedies struck areas of the country like New York and West Virginia, Niagara partnered with Rite Aid to provide water, free-of-charge, to the affected communities.

Rite Aid congratulates the 2014 Supplier Partners of the Year, and thanks each of them for their dedication to excellence and their outstanding contributions.