MECHANICSVILLE, Va. -- Richfood here has appointed Ronald W. Turner to the new position of vice president of nonfood. The appointment signals a new direction for the wholesaler, which has been out of the nonfood distribution business.
Turner has extensive past experience in nonfood. He served in various executive positions over a 16-year period with Wetterau Inc., Hazelwood, Mo., which is now a division of Supervalu. Most recently Turner was vice president of member affairs and education at the General Merchandise Distributors Council, Colorado Springs, Colo., where he worked for the last five years.
Donald Bennett, Richfood chairman and chief executive officer, said an announcement would be forthcoming within the next month on the company's "new nonfood thrust that Ron will head up."
Richfood uses a number of outside rack jobbers to supply some of its 800-plus supermarket customers with general merchandise and health and beauty care products, said Bennett. He hinted, however, that the present rack jobber system "won't stay the same. We'll be dealing with new people."
One source familiar with the company said between 20% and 30% of Richfood retailers obtain nonfood through a fully racked program. However, Bennett said Richfood has no plans to warehouse more nonfood products than it already carries. Two years ago there was some speculation that the wholesaler would get back into nonfood when a nonfood noncompetitive agreement ended with McKesson Drug Co., San Francisco. The agreement was tied into the sale of a Richfood nonfood subsidiary, Garner Wholesale, Greenville, N.C., to McKesson.
"With Ron joining the company in this position, it doesn't mean we're planning to put nonfood back 100% into our warehouse. There are no plans to hire a buying staff either, since it [nonfood] will be sourced outside," Bennett stated.
Richfood does, however, warehouse a limited number of nonfood categories, including film, batteries, lightbulbs, aluminum foil bakeware, Rubbermaid products and automobile supplies such as motor oil.