business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The National Grocers Association (NGA) yesterday unveiled its "Grocery Guard program," which it says "will further strengthen NGA’s already robust advocacy efforts with the establishment of precise connections on Capitol Hill."

According to NGA, "The Grocery Guard program is a nationwide network of owners and industry leaders who have volunteered to contact a member of Congress when the independent grocery industry needs to relay the importance of a particular issue impacting the industry … NGA’s Government Relations team will activate the Grocery Guard when needed. NGA will continue to grow Grocery Guard until there is an NGA member dedicated to advocating on behalf of every single congressional district in the United States."

• The New York Times reports that Rite Aid, having declared bankruptcy over the weekend, "says it is closing 154 stores in more than 10 states.

"The branches set to be shuttered were detailed in a filing on Tuesday in bankruptcy court in New Jersey. The store closings are meant to help Rite Aid save money on rent and improve its financial footing.

"Rite Aid stores in Pennsylvania, California and New York will take the brunt of the closures. About 40 locations in Pennsylvania will be shut. More closings are expected as the company works to rid itself of billions of dollars in debt. It has about 45,000 employees, including 6,100 pharmacists."

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•  The Seattle Times reports that "the popular Portland-based doughnut chain Voodoo Doughnut is making plans for its first Seattle location, which would be its second restaurant in Washington.

"The soon-to-be doughnut shop will be located at 1201 Pine St., on the corner of Pine Street and Minor Avenue on Capitol Hill. Voodoo Doughnut CEO Chris Schultz said Wednesday that the store is targeting an opening date in early spring 2024. The shop will stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

According to the story, "The doughnut shop, which opened in Portland’s Old Town in 2002, claims to be the first to make a bacon maple bar. Since opening (and expanding across the country), the shop has become known for its distinctive pink boxes, long lines, provocatively shaped doughnuts and over-the-top flavors, featuring everything from crushed candy and cereal to cayenne pepper … There are currently 20 Voodoo Doughnut locations across the United States, in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. The chain opened a shop in Vancouver last year, its first in the Evergreen State."

I am glad to see that Voodoo is being cautious about growth, and not expanding so fast that it becomes clear that the money is more important than the doughnut quality.