Business Roundtable survey indicates CEOs are still optimistic about economy

first_imgBusiness Roundtable survey indicates CEOs are still optimistic about economySouth Burlington, VT — Results for the Vermont Business Roundtable’sSecond Quarter, 2005 CEO Economic Outlook Survey, show that though downslightly from the previous quarter, business executives continue to bevery optimistic with regard to sales forecasts. At the same time,however, projections in terms of capital spending indicate a great degreeof variability when tracked over the last six quarters. In terms ofemployment levels, this quarter shows Roundtable members’ most pessimisticoutlook yet in terms of employment decreases for the coming six-monthperiod.Bill Stritzler, Managing Director of Smugglers’ Notch Resort inJeffersonville is a member of the Roundtable. When asked to comment onhis CEO Economic Outlook Survey responses, Stritzler said, “Sales areexpected to rise due to improved overall economic conditions and strongerconsumer confidence compared to a year ago. Employment, however, willremain relatively level due to the tight job market in Vermont andbusinesses continuing to focus on productivity improvement.”Conducted during the month of April, the Roundtable’s CEO EconomicOutlook Survey enjoyed a response rate of 55%. The key findings, whichreflect the membership’s outlook for the next six months, include thefollowing details:* 75% of responding CEOs expect an increase in consumer sales, 23%see no change, and 2% anticipate a decrease. [First Quarter Results:Increase 78%, No Change 19%, Decrease 3%]* 49% expect capital spending to increase in the next six months,43% see no change, and 8% anticipate a decrease. [First Quarter Results:Increase 55%, No Change 37%, Decrease 8%]* 49% expect employment to increase in the next six months, 42%see no change, and 9% anticipate a decrease. [First Quarter Results:Increase 55%, No Change 38%, Decrease 7%]According to Roundtable President Lisa Ventriss, “CEOs are reportingsignificant optimism with regard to sales forecasts for the next sixmonths despite uncertain investments in physical plant and humanresources.”last_img read more

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GMP creates new risk management position

first_img— 30 – COLCHESTER, VT… Green Mountain Power (NYSE:GMP)has announced that on March 20, 2006, Robert Griffin, who has been with GreenMountain Power since 1982 and served as Vice President and Chief FinancialOfficer for the past three years, will take on the new position of VicePresident, Power Supply and Risk Management. This position was created to helpthe Company respond appropriately to the volatile wholesale power supply marketand the challenges associated with exploring long-term power contracts over thecourse of the next several years. “Bob’s strong analytical skills and insights will be very importantto us as we enter a critical period in planning for Vermont’s energy future,” saidChris Dutton, Green Mountain Power President and Chief Executive Officer.“We also look for Bob to continue to enhance the Company’s riskmanagement practices,” he added. Dawn Bugbee, 49, will become the Company’s new Vice President and ChiefFinancial Officer, also beginning March 20. Ms. Bugbee is currently ChiefFinancial Officer at the Northwestern Medical Centerin St. Albans, Vermont.  In making the announcement, Mr. Dutton said he is “very pleased tostrengthen our management team with the addition of Dawn as Chief FinancialOfficer. She brings strong financial and leadership capabilities to theposition, and we will welcome her perspective.”center_img GREENMOUNTAIN POWER CREATESNEWPOWER SUPPLY AND RISK MANAGEMENT POSITION,HIRESNEW CFO Ms. Bugbee, a certifiedpublic accountant, has been with Northwestern Medical Centersince 1989, serving as CFO since 1996. She is a graduate of Castleton StateCollege and lives in Colchester with herhusband and four children. For further information, please contact Dorothy Schnure, Manager of CorporateCommunications, at 802-655-8418.last_img read more

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Exterus Welcomes New Systems Engineer

first_imgExterus Technology for Business of Shelburne announced that Nik Crapo was hired as a Systems Engineer. Mr. Crapo joins us from the San Diego, CA area. Having been in the US Navy for four years, he is an accomplished Microsoft LAN Administrator and has strong technical and analytical skills. While in the Navy, he worked both on shore and on deployment in the Persian Gulf. As an IT Network Administrator in the Navy, Mr. Crapo was responsible for maintaining 250+ nodes, both remotely and directly. He also helped supervise the Naval Communication and Telecommunication Stations Help Desk in his first year. He has achieved his A+ Certification and is well on his way to achieve more.To contact Nik directly call 802.658.8225 x221 or email sends e-mail)Visit is external) for more information on our products and services.last_img read more

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State to announce a new Adopt a Park Program

first_imgOn Friday the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation will announce a new partnership between Vermont State Parks and the Boy Scouts Green Mountain Council called Adopt A Park.The venture pairs local scout troops with state parks in their area to help with projects like spring cleanup, stacking wood, trail work or holding workshops for park visitors on scouting specialties outdoor skills, hikes, fire building and knots and rope work.  The partnership is a model that will be used to encourage more community service organizations like the Girls Scouts, 4-H, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, VFWs, etc. to support local parks. In just the last few weeks, thirteen local troops have already adopted a nearby park, including Little River in Waterbury; Coolidge in Plymouth; Mt. Ascutney in Windsor; Lake Carmi in Enosburg Falls; Underhill State Park; Mt. Philo in Charlotte; Button Bay in Vergennes; Branbury in Salisbury; Half Moon in Hubbardton; Bomoseen in Fair Haven; St. Catherine in Poultney; Emerald Lake in Dorset and Shaftsbury State Park.In return for helping the state parks, Scouts will earn camping certificates, day-use passes and be honored for their work by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.The Green Mountain Council is home to more than 7,200 boys in 250 groups across Vermont.  Boy Scouts have a long tradition of environmental appreciation and leadership. Working with the state parks will help introduce this next generation of Boy Scouts to the wonders of the outdoors.Scouts are invited to adopt a state park by completing an application and discussing possible projects with park personnel. More information can be found online at: is external) or is external).WHEN: Friday, May 1, 2009 2:30 p.m.                              WHERE: Green Mountain Council, 838 US Route 2, Moretown (Near the Waterbury-Moretown Line)Source: Department of Forests, Parks and Recreationlast_img read more

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Legislature passes $4.5 billion budget, Douglas veto likely

first_imgThe Legislature finally adjourned late Saturday night after passing a $4.5 billion budget. Governor Douglas had urged lawmakers to reduce appropriations to ease the tax burden during this recession. Legislative leaders countered that the recession itself was leading to greater demand on state services because of unemployment and that state spending, much like the federal stimulus plan intends, could help support the economic activity.The House passed the Fiscal Year 2010 budget on a 91-52 roll call vote. The Senate had passed it last Thursday on an 18-10 vote. If Douglas vetoes the bill, the Legislature would have to come back into session, probably in June ahead of the start of the next fiscal year on July 1.Another major issue left up in the air is whether the governor will layoff several hundred state workers. The administration has maintained that the state needs to cut payroll in the neighborhood of $17 million, again starting this next fiscal year. The governor cannot simply rewrite union contracts, however, he can only layoff workers, which could be as many as 650 state employees. The administration has been negotiating with the union to find a package of salary reductions/furloughs/health care premium cuts, etc, that would mitigate the need for layoffs. So far, the two sides have failed to reach agreement and time is running out.As for the budget, Speaker of the House Shap Smith said, This budget makes difficult cuts, closes tax loopholes to cut taxes for middle and lower income Vermonters and sets us on a track for greater sustainability in the future, said House Speaker Shap Smith. Some Vermonters will see fewer services, some higher income Vermonters will pay higher taxes, but we are all in this together. Vermonters are struggling through this economic crisis and now more than ever they need creative solutions to our most pressing challenges, said Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin.  I am pleased that during these tough economic times our budget will give Vermonters making under $200,000 a tax cut.  None of the choices we made were easy but the package we put together will help all Vermonters get through this crisis and emerge stronger in the future.To solve the $281.5 million budget challenge, the legislature cut $59.3 million from state programs and services, collects $4.8 million in unpaid taxes, generates $21.3 in new revenue, reduces the General Fund transfer to the Education Fund by $18.4 million, uses $3.2 million in rainy day funds and applies $174.5 million in federal stimulus funds.All together, the budget reflects a nearly $80 million reduction in General Fund obligations.  The new revenues in the package amount to around 7.5 percent of the construct to solve the budget challenge.The Senate took its final vote on the budget on Thursday, May 7.A detailed breakdown of the major components of the budget is attached. AttachmentSize BudgetCuts.pdf12.49 KB BudgetSummary.pdf50.35 KBlast_img read more

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State announces $2.9 million in grants to create jobs, affordable housing

first_imgA wood pellet plant in Island Pond and a social service organization in Barre were among nine Vermont projects that will share almost $3 million in state grant funds.Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie announced the award of $2.9 million in Vermont Community Development Program grants at a ceremony at the P & S Furniture Store in Barre, which is slated to become the new home of the Central Vermont Community Action Council with the help of an $800,000 grant to the City of Barre. These grants are going to help Vermonters all over the state, creating much-needed jobs and affordable housing for our communities, Dubie said.CVCAC, a nonprofit providing anti-poverty and economic development programs for low to moderate income residents in central Vermont, has outgrown its main offices on Route 302 in Berlin, forcing the group to rent multiple office spaces in the area.The new 21st Century Community Action Campus at Gable Place will provide adequate work space to consolidate its programs and expand its weatherization activities and community economic development programs and services. Consolidating our programs in a single, more energy efficient space will make it easier to provide services to area residents; incorporate green energy efficiency technologies; and promote local economic development in the community, said Hal Cohen, Executive Director of CVCAC.The town of Brighton will receive $1,000,000 for the re-development of the vacant former Ethan Allen plant in Island Pond into a wood pellet manufacturing facility.  The money will be loaned to the Vermont Biomass Energy Company at 0% interest for 10 years to help develop a factory that will have the capacity to produce 100,000 tons of wood pellets annually, and will create 25 jobs for area residents. This is an investment in green job creation in an area of the state that can really use it, Dubie said.Other grants include:$600,000 for the City of Newport to redevelop three multi-family properties with 16 units of old, sub-standard housing into 21 units of new and fully rehabilitated affordable housing;$330,000 for the town of Windsor for an energy efficient rehabilitation of the historic Olde Windsor Village Apartments, which contains seventy-seven units of rental housing for low-income seniors, families and the disabled;$125,000 for the City of St. Albans to help pay for Phase I of the City s Downtown Streetscape Project, a four-phase multi-year project that will remake the downtown;$30,000 to the town of Coventry, which will be used to hire a consultant to study the economic impact of expanding the Newport State Airport and how it will affect the surrounding communities;$30,000 for the Village of Derby Center to plan for expansion of the Dailey Memorial Library building and improving its accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act;$28,503 to the Town of Glover to study the buying patterns of second homeowners in the Barton Trade Area and develop recommendations for area businesses to make them more sustainable and; $30,000 for the town of Guilford to develop a plan to preserve and revitalize the Guilford Country Store by keeping it in local ownership. The grants awarded are federal money that flows to the state of Vermont from the Community Development Block Grant Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These grants are important because they leverage other financial resources and help address critical needs in our communities, Dubie said. The $2.9 million we are awarding will leverage more than $34 million in other funds from private and public sources.The Agency awards the competitive grants based on recommendations of the Vermont Community Development Board and approval of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn.Source: Commerce Agency. 6.17.2010last_img read more

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Jonathan Leopold resigns position with City of Burlington

first_imgRELATED STORIES:  Audit: Burlington Telecom not viable | Vermont Business Magazine Dec 10, 2010 … That the auditors are concerned with the possibility that Burlington Telecom could default on its loans and leave the City and its taxpayers … City of Burlington issues response to Larkin Report over … Jan 25, 2011 … The City of Burlington has issued a response to the report by Larkin and Associates with respect to Burlington Telecom (’Larkin Report’). … The City of Burlington announced today that Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Jonathan Leopold has tendered his resignation and will leave his position as of July 1, 2011. Leopold is one of the central figures involved in the on-going problems with the municipal Burlington Telecom. He has struggled with health issues the last few years stemming from an auto accident in 2007, which has caused him to reduce his workload.‘I have accepted Jonathan’s decision with regret,’ said Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss.  ‘I want to thank him for his hard work and personal commitment to the City throughout his career.  Among many other accomplishments, Jonathan’s management of the budget has resulted in 5 straight fiscal years of a level general services tax rate and an increase in the City’s undesignated reserve fund from $75,000 to over $5 million.  Jonathan has also built a strong management team in the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office which will ensure a successful transition.’ In his letter to Mayor Kiss, Leopold states that, ‘I have been committed to and worked for our community for nearly 30 years.  I have strived to do my best to serve and protect the City’s interests and am proud of the success of this administration to address the challenges the City faced in 2006.  We have rebuilt the City’s financial reserves, maintained a stable tax rate, improved the status of the retirement system, repaved City streets, strengthened Burlington’s energy sufficiency and improved City services and programs.  I truly love Burlington and want to assure that it continues to prosper.’ In his letter, Leopold also cites issues related to Burlington Telecom. ‘Over the past several years, these successes have been overshadowed by the Burlington Telecom controversyâ ¦.The City’s efforts to overcome the financial and legal problems have been daunting but worth the effort. I regret the difficulties the City has faced as a result of the BT controversy and I hope the City is able to resolve these issues. In hindsight, I believe that we could have made a more complete disclosure of the violation of Condition 60 when we first learned of it in November 2008.  This has resulted in an unfortunate division within the city. I believe it is time for Burlington to come together and move forward.’ Leopold expressed confidence in the strength of his management team in the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office. In the coming months he will work with the Mayor and Council to develop the City’s FY12 budget. Leopold was appointed the City’s CAO by Mayor Kiss after the Mayor was first elected in March of 2006.  He previously served the City as Treasurer from 1981-1988 and was widely-lauded for his management of the City’s finances during that period. Leopold’s entire letter can be found below or at through this link:: is external).  Mayor Kiss received Leopold’s letter this morning.  center_img Source: April 14, 2011. The City of Burlington City and Burlington Telecom likely to part ways, bankruptcy no … Dec 21, 2010 … Burlington Telecom appears to have little chance of surviving its debt crisis as a city-owned utility. But some financial experts say it’s …last_img read more

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Hanna: US Supreme Court skeptical about Vermont’s physician data mining law

first_imgVermont Law School,Vermont Law School Professor Cheryl Hanna, a Constitutional law expert, offers a post-argument analysis of Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc., which was argued before the US Supreme Court on April 26, 2011. Hanna attended the arguments with several students from her Constitutional law class.A lawyer is only as good as the law that the Legislature hands her, and it was clear after yesterday’s US Supreme Court argument in Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc. that Vermont Assistant Attorney General Bridget Asay had a not-so-good law to defend. The state is fortunate to have an assistant attorney general as skilled as Asay. But nothing she could have said or done would likely have saved Vermont’s physician data mining law from a near certain death.At issue was whether a Vermont law that seeks to ban the sale of physician prescription data to drug companies’which use the information to target their marketing to individual doctors in a practice called “detailing”’violates the First Amendment.Asay was barely a few minutes into her argument when Chief Justice John Roberts challenged the state’s motives in passing the law; he later accused Vermont of censorship of commercial speech. His skepticism was followed by Justice Antonin Scalia’s downright hostility. He insisted the law was intended to impede drug companies from providing information to doctors, not protecting doctors who could simply refuse to see pharmaceutical representatives.Justice Kennedy, often the swing vote in close cases, then accused the state of regulating the use of speech. He asked whether the law would allow the sale of the data for research purposes. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at first seemed open to the state’s ability regulate the sale of the information if that was the only commercial use of the data, but she was then frustrated when it appeared that other commercial sales would be permitted.Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was more sympathetic to Vermont’s position that doctors should have some control over the dissemination of their prescription drug patterns, was troubled by the law’s provision that allowed doctors to opt-in to the sale of their records. She instead suggested a scheme that mirrored the Do Not Call policy, which allows consumers to opt-out of telemarketing calls, would be more in line with the First Amendment.Justice Samuel Alito then suggested the Vermont law may have misled the lower court on what transactions could be regulated by the statute. This clearly signaled skepticism not only about the law itself but with the state’s representation of what exactly the statute regulated.The U.S. government, through the Office of the Solicitor General, weighed in on the case in favor of Vermont. Yet Deputy Solicitor General Edwin S. Kneedler had no better luck than Asay in convincing the Court that all the law did was level the playing field between pharmacies and physicians, and that the state was within its power to restrict this information given that prescription drugs are a highly regulated industry.Thomas Goldstein, a highly regarded attorney who is a frequent advocate before the Court, represented the data mining and drug companies. Goldstein seemed to command the Court, more like a professor steering his students than a lawyer pandering to the justices. He opened by having the justices turn to the red brief, which contained the statute. (All briefs before the Court are color-coded to identify the parties.) Even Justice Clarence Thomas, who often merely sits back and listens to the arguments, followed Goldstein’s command, perking up, opening the brief and privately bantering with Justice Stephen Breyer over the law’s language. Goldstein had to be content with the predictable “what-if” hypothetical questions posed by Justice Breyer. To Goldstein’s credit, his argument was not radical, but he urged the justices to seek some balance between free speech and state regulation. The justices took seriously Goldstein’s contention that the law, as written, did not protect doctor privacy, but rather discriminated against the speech of clients who were providing FDA-approved true and accurate information about their drugs to physicians.Perhaps the most compelling part of his argument was when he directed the Court to read the finding made by the Vermont legislature when passing the law. “My favorite,” Goldstein quipped, was the finding that Vermont intended to impact the “marketplace of ideas” because drug companies had more money. (How such a finding ever made it into any legislative record baffles the mind of this Constitutional law professor.) This, Goldstein insisted, the state can not do under the First Amendment.While it’s risky to make conclusive predictions based on oral argument, it is likely that a majority of the Court will vote to strike down Vermont’s law. Less clear is whether the holding will be narrow, focusing only on the defects of the Vermont statute or whether the Court will announce a more sweeping decision that could hinder the states from regulating data mining when it truly implicates consumer privacy. Clearly, some justices, including Sotomayor, Breyer and Ginsburg, seemed to appreciate that restricting the use of private, personal information might be appropriate, but disagreement among the justices over whether to draw that line might likely produce a fractured decision.While the Court could leave room for the Legislature to go back and draw a more narrowly tailored statute that does not impinge upon the free speech rights of corporations, it can’t save it from having to pay for its mistakes. If the state loses this case, it is on the hook for attorney’s fees paid by the data mining and pharmaceutical companies who brought the case. When the state violates a constitutional right of a litigant, even if that litigant is a corporation, the state has to pay the costs that litigant incurred defending its rights. Given the number of attorneys involved in the case, the extremely high caliber of both local and national counsel and the hours involved in preparing a case for the Supreme Court, a loss will likely cost Vermont taxpayers more than $1 million. But that is the price Vermonters have to pay when the legislature goes out on a limb and passes a law that is intended to be progressive but crosses a constitutional line.A decision on the merits of this case is expected by the end of June.Read a transcript of the argument.…(link is external) Photos courtesy of VLS: Top, Cheryl Hanna. Bottom, Vermonters, with Sorrell far right.last_img read more

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Vermont Public Radio launches local digital news service

first_imgVermont Public Radio,Vermont Public Radio has launched the Public Post, a local digital news service that gives Vermonters access to their town and city minutes, and a place to connect around local news and common issues.Public Post collects minutes from city councils and town select boards as a primary source of information about local communities. Vermonters can browse the database of these municipal minutes, post headlines, and start discussions about what’s going on in their towns.‘We strongly believe the people on the ground in Vermont’s communities are in the best position to let us know what’s happening and what really matters in their town,’ said Kirk Carapezza, Public Post’s editor and reporter. ‘We want to harness that knowledge on Public Post and to provide a forum for discussion. It’s an innovative way to continue VPR’s tradition as a trusted and relevant statewide news source.”The Public Post will also help to illuminate common themes around important topics like education, the economy, transportation and community life. VPR will report on trends that surface around these issues.”Whether it’s the challenge of plastering the interior of the Rockingham Meeting House or learning that so many towns and cities, like Springfield and Rutland, are working on aging water systems, Public Post is a new way to learn about what’s going on in our communities,” said John Van Hoesen, vice president for news and programming.‘Many people tell us how much they value that VPR connects different parts of the state. By gathering local government minutes, identifying common themes, and offering a place to discuss the big issues, Public Post provides an in-depth local connection from town to town.”The service is currently posting minutes from more than 30 towns that represent Vermont’s geographic and political diversity in the 14 counties. More towns will be added in the coming months. People are encouraged to contact sends e-mail) to add their town. 08.15.2011’ Vermont Public Radiolast_img read more

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Shaw’s teams with American Red Cross to support disaster relief efforts in Vermont

first_imgWEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc,Shaw’s Supermarkets has partnered with the American Red Cross to help raise funds to support their ongoing efforts in response to Tropical Storm Irene here in Vermont as well as their local disaster relief fund. The company will also match donations up to $35,000.‘Like many in Vermont, Shaw’s was impacted by flooding from Irene and we know firsthand that many are still dealing with the aftermath from the flooding,’ said Mike Stigers, president, Shaw’s. ‘The support that Vermonters have given to us, and to each other, has been extraordinary and we wanted to launch this program with the Red Cross to enable continued support to those still in need.’From now until October 27, customers can purchase $1 and $5 dollar ‘pinups’ at participating stores in Vermont and in the Lebanon, New Hampshire area to show their support for their neighbors affected by Tropical Storm Irene as well the over one hundred fires, floods and other disasters that the American Red Cross responds to each year in our region. All of the proceeds raised from the campaign will go directly to the American Red Cross in support of their disaster relief efforts in Vermont and the Upper Valley of New Hampshire. In addition, Shaw’s will also match the donations up to $35,000.‘Tropical Storm Irene left a wide path of destruction and the scale of the response was both massive, yet at the same time very local as businesses, communities and individuals pitched in to help their neighbors,’ said Larry Crist, Regional Executive for the American Red Cross of Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley. ‘The money raised by Shaw’s and its customers during this campaign will help provide the resources necessary so that the American Red Cross can continue to shelter, feed and assist people in the aftermath of disaster.’Shaw’s has also worked closely with the Vermont Foodbank as part of the recovery effort. To date, the company has donated close to $70,000 in food and grants to the Food Bank.‘Shaw’s was one of the first calls we received asking ‘what do you need?’ after Irene hit,’ said John Sayles, CEO of the Vermont Foodbank. ‘The ice, water, cleaning supplies and ready-to-eat food went right back into the hardest hit communities in the state. Shaw’s is a great partner in hunger relief every day, and we know Shaw’s will be with us for the long-term recovery effort in Vermont.’Shaw’s Ludlow StoreWork continues on the Shaw’s location in Ludlow, Vt., which suffered massive flooding and necessitating a complete rebuild of the inside. The company anticipates having the store completely redone and open by the middle of December. Shaw’s has been operating a temporary store under a tent in the parking lot of Ludlow location since a week after the storm.‘Certainly setting-up a temporary outdoor store was something we hadn’t done before,’ added Stigers. ‘However, as the only grocery store in the area, we wanted to do what we could to help serve the community there and we hope we’ve been able to do that.’About Shaw’s SupermarketsShaw’s, Osco and Star Market are part of the nationwide SUPERVALU® INC. (NYSE: SVU) family of grocery stores. Shaw’s is one of the oldest continuously operated supermarkets in the United States with its roots dating to 1860. Throughout five New England states, there are 169 store locations employing approximately 21,000 associates. For more information about Shaw’s, visit the all-new web site at: is external).About SUPERVALU INC.SUPERVALU INC. is one of the largest companies in the U.S. grocery channel with annual sales of approximately $37 billion. SUPERVALU serves customers across the United States through a network of approximately 4,290 stores composed of 1,107 traditional retail stores, including 801 in-store pharmacies; 1,283 hard-discount stores, of which 907 are operated by licensee owners; and 1,900 independent stores serviced primarily by the company’s traditional food distribution business. SUPERVALU has approximately 140,000 employees. For more information about SUPERVALU visit is external). last_img read more

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