Eby-Brown Makes Good on Aggressive Growth Strategy

Progress includes more customers, facilities and technological innovation

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. -- Technology creates flexibility. It can help make difficult tasks easy. Technology, be it in the back office, behind the register, at the pump or in a store manager’s hand, can help spur growth.

And that’s the case for Eby-Brown, a company known for its commitment to efficiency on behalf of its more than 14,500 convenience-store retail locations.

The wholesaler is taking another step toward ultimate productivity. The company’s new ordering app is being rolled out to Eby-Brown’s customers now. Available for use on a retailer’s smartphone, this sophisticated ordering solution, designed in-house by Eby-Brown developers, takes the place of antiquated Telxon merchandise ordering units still in use at more than 3,500 of the company’s retailer customers.

“The whole market is moving away from those things,” said Joseph Roenna, executive vice president of merchandising, marketing and procurement for Eby-Brown, in an exclusive interview with CSP Daily News at the company's Eby-Expo 2016 trade event in April. “In two years [since the company unveiled its first app] we’ve learned a lot. We learned what to do and what not to do. It’s been a pretty fascinating journey.”

Roenna said that flexibility is key. And he’s very bullish about what this new technology means for the 20- to 50-store group: “It’s not just an ordering app. It’s so much more.”

If the more than 1,200 attendees at Eby-Brown’s annual trade event in Michigan City, Ind., is any indication, the company’s dedication to efficiency and maximizing profitability is paying off. Certainly, Eby-Brown’s aggressive growth strategy is also evidence of that. In March, the Naperville, Ill.-based wholesaler purchased Liberty USA located in West Mifflin, PA.

And in February, the company announced plans to invest $36.9 million in a Bullitt County, Ken., distribution and warehouse facility to serve customers in the Midwest and mid-South regions.

“We think we can do more,” Roenna said. “And if we’re going to do it, let’s do it right.”

To that end, the company is also making aggressive improvements to its foodservice program, promoting industry veteran Andy Batt to head of its Wakefield fresh foods division. A major rebranding of the foodservice program will be ready in time for an unveiling at this year’s NACS Show in Atlanta.

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