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By Barbara Grondin Francella
YORK, Pa. -- In mid-September, Rutter's Farm Stores, operator of 51 convenience stores based here, announced a realigned management team. Among the changes: promotions and new responsibilities for two long-time company executives, the return of a foodservice executive and the addition of a c-store marketing veteran.
"We're growing," Scott Hartman, president and CEO of Rutter's Farm Stores, told CSNews Online, adding the chain has two knock-down-and-rebuilds and one remodel also planned for 2008. "When growing, you have to look out a few years. You need to add new people and look at your structure. I don't like just dropping someone into the company. I like bringing people in who know our culture and can adjust to it."
At the time of the announcement, Jeffrey Leedy, who has been with Rutter's since 1998, most recently as vice president of marketing, was promoted to the new position of senior vice president/chief customer officer, with responsibility for new customer initiatives. Leedy will continue to direct the day-to-day activities of the marketing department, including merchandising, pricing and fleet fueling.
Jere Matthews, a 29-year employee who started his Rutter's career as a 15-year-old, has been promoted to vice president of operations, including responsibility for foodservice operations and food safety. Matthews had been director of operations.
"Organizationally, foodservice had been a separate area," Hartman explained. "Our vice president of foodservice handled everything from menu creation to product acquisitions to in-store operations of the deli. For us, [it didn't make sense] to separate store operations from foodservice operations, when we do not have dedicated labor for foodservice. Our store employees are cross-trained."
Jerry Weiner has returned to Rutter's as vice president of foodservice, a position he held from 1997 to 2005. Most recently, he was director of foodservice for MAPCO of Nashville, Tenn.
Joining the management team is Robert Perkins, who will be Rutter's director of marketing. Most recently he was with Impact 21 Group, an independent consulting firm. Before that, he spent six years with Irving Oil Corp., capping his tenure as director of marketing.
"We've been in the c-store business for 40 years," Harman said. "These strategic personnel changes will provide us with the forward vision to keep changing our offerings as our customers keep changing."
More information on the strategy behind Rutter's management changes will be available in the Nov. 19 issue of Convenience Store News.