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H-E-B Tournament of Champions raises more than $5 million to benefit Texas nonprofits

BY Allison Cerra

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — An annual charity event hosted by retailer H-E-B this week raised more than $5.3 million to benefit 200 Texas nonprofit organizations.

More than 1,400 H-E-B vendors and suppliers have gathered from June 6 to 8 to participate in the 2011 H-E-B Tournament of Champions, which is an integral part of H-E-B’s annual charitable giving, the retailer said. Participants this year volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House to landscape, paint and install playground equipment. Participants also volunteered at Habitat for Humanity to landscape and perform exterior work on seven homes, including one home known as the H-E-B Tournament of Champions Habitat Home.

Since its inception, the event has raised more than $52.3 million, H-E-B said.

“This year’s Tournament of Champions is off to a fantastic start, thanks to the strong support of our suppliers and vendors,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B group VP public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs. “The funds raised by the tournament will enable H-E-B to support children’s organizations in Texas that are making a positive impact in the community.”

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Groupon ventures into grocery deals with Big Y

BY DSN STAFF

CHICAGO — Through a partnership with Incentive Targeting and HaloEffect, Big Y Foods will become the first grocery retailer to offer Groupon deals digitally loaded to shoppers’ loyalty cards, the companies announced.

Big Y’s first Groupon offer, distributed among Springfield, Mass., subscribers on June 7, was for a newly introduced Shellfish Grill Pack, including lobster tails, mussels, clams and other seafood suitable for grilling, which retails at $39.99 and is being offered at a 40% discount for $24.

For this test, a shopper purchases the Groupon and enters their Big Y Express Saving Club membership number, and the Shellfish Grill Pack deal is loaded electronically to the shopper’s loyalty card. When the shopper purchases the promoted products at a Big Y supermarket, the deal is credited automatically at checkout.

“As pioneers in loyalty cards for retail, we are excited to partner with Groupon and Incentive Targeting to test social buying with our shoppers,” said Michael D’Amour, VP sales and merchandising for Big Y Foods. “We anticipate that we will attract new customer interest as we explore new avenues in interactive customer marketing.”

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New Consumer Reports survey sheds light on poor customer service

BY Michael Johnsen

YONKERS, N.Y. — As evidenced by the 10% upswing in Better Business Bureau complaints over 2009, Consumer Reports will be sharing its survey around a consumer outcry of poor customer service in its July 2011 issue.

As many as 64% of respondents reported having left a store because of poor service. And 67% had hung up on customer service without having had their problem addressed, though not having an actual human to gripe to on the other end of the line when complaining about poor service was the No. 1 “dislike” in the report’s “Gripe-O-Meter” graphic. Additionally, more than 70% of survey respondents reported being “tremendously annoyed” when they couldn’t reach a human on the phone.

Most Americans fielding a customer service issue, however, would rather deal with the situation over the phone. Only 16% of Americans would prefer to deal with a customer-service problem in person — 20% favored the phone and 2% favored live chat.

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