NORFOLK, Va. -- Camellia Food Stores here is reorganizing around an exclusively retail operation.
Guy R. Sykes, named president and chief executive officer last May, said Camellia is concentrating on upgrading its store base. The company operates 22 stores under the Be-Lo banner and 19 stores under the Meatland and Food City banners. Last April, it sold its wholesale business to Richfood, Mechanicsville, Va.
"We're getting back to the basics of operating retail stores. All stores have been reset with new planograms. We've put in cashier training programs. We completed the installation of direct-store-delivery receiving in all 41 stores," Sykes said.
This year, the company has set aside $1.8 million for capital expenditures, compared with $1.2 million last year for the retail and wholesale sides of its business. Six stores will be remodeled, and scanning equipment will be installed in 11 stores, Sykes said.
Camellia also has contracted with a third party to conduct consumer surveys. "What we're looking at is how our stores fit into the market area and what the consumer is looking for and what is currently missing in the market and how we can best serve the customer in the future," Sykes said. "Once we have that information in hand, we'll be developing a plan to move Be-Lo and Meatland and Food City to the next level of retailing within our organization."
To that end, Camellia last month announced changes in its board of directors and appointed a new chief financial officer. Sykes said the moves were made to "give us a management team that is completely retail-focused."
Edward Dery was appointed vice president and chief financial officer. Reporting to Sykes, he succeeds Jay Bhatt, who was chief financial officer and controller before he left the company. Dery was vice president of finance for Consolidated Foodservice Cos., a Virginia Beach, Va.-based institutional food-service distributor.
James L. Harrell 3rd was elected chairman, succeeding Manuel Saunders, who died last October. Harrell was vice chairman, a position now filled by Sykes.
Linwood C. Shelton Jr. was re-elected treasurer. Douglas E. Kahle was elected secretary, succeeding Curtiss Ansell, who left the company.
Camellia's board elected two members to three-year terms: Richard Saunders, Manuel Saunders' son and an attorney with the Norfolk-based firm Furniss, Davis, Rashkind & Saunders, and Frank Fentress Sr., past president of Camellia, who has been on the board for 40 years.
Two outside directors were elected to one-year terms: William C. Confer Sr., past president of Scot Lad Foods, a subsidiary of Roundy's, Pewaukee, Wis., and D. Clark Ogle, president and CEO of Victory Markets, Utica, N.Y.
Before the elections, Camellia's board included only its own executives and executives of its retail customers.