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Rite Aid appoints Darren Karst as CFO

BY Vivian Gomez

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid has appointed former Roundy’s executive Darren Karst as EVP and CFO, effective Aug. 20, to succeed Frank Vitrano, who has announced he will retire in Sept. 2015. Karst will report to Rite Aid’s chairman and CEO John Standley.

Karst will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s finance, accounting, treasury, tax, investor relations, legal, risk management, internal assurance and asset protection functions.

“We are pleased to welcome Darren to the Rite Aid team,” said Standley. “He is a proven leader with a broad-based financial background and a track record of success across a range of operating and financial disciplines. I am confident Darren’s deep retail knowledge and experience will serve Rite Aid well as we move forward.”

At Roundy’s, a leading Midwest grocer based in Milwaukee, Wis., Karst served as EVP, CFO and assistant secretary since 2002. Prior to that, Karst was a partner at the Yucaipa Companies, a private equity investment firm. He also held executive financial positions within several Yucaipa portfolio companies, including Chicago-based Dominick’s, where he served as the CFO and a director.

Karst earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He is also a certified public accountant.

Until Sept. next year, Vitrano will retain the chief administrative officer responsibilities for the company’s information technology, real estate and indirect procurement functions. He will also serve as a key resource in the development and execution of new business and growth initiatives.

“I would also like to acknowledge the pivotal role Frank Vitrano has played in helping significantly improve Rite Aid’s business performance and results over the past six years,” added Standley. “We thank Frank for his dedication and hard work and we look forward to continuing to work together on executing our strategy to expand our health care offering and transform Rite Aid into a growing retail health care company.”

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Zone 8 Beverages sets sights on millennial consumers

BY David Salazar

Chicago — A new beverage company, Zone 8, has launched its line of juices and teas with the promise that they contain “no artificial anything.” Zone 8’s goal is to reach younger demographics.

“The current beverage market lacks brands addressing cultural relevance that appeal to customers in an authentic way,” Zone 8 president and co-founder Tim Megenbeier said. “We see this as an opportunity to engage with consumers and provide a connection for them as individuals and as a diverse group.”

Zone 8’s products — which include a red rooibos and pomegranate tea, Agua de Jamaica hibiscus tea and a half-lemonade, half-tea beverage — are mostly sweetened with organic cane sugar and contain at most 88 calories per serving.

“We find ourselves amidst emerging trends and a growing retail concern of shifts in consumer demand,” Megenbier said. “We will redefine what natural means with real ingredients without the cloak of ‘all natural’ flavor.”

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PepsiCo, Feed the Children partner to feed Hartford families

BY David Salazar

Hartford, Connecticut — Feed the Children and PepsiCo handed out 25-lb. boxes of food to 800 families at an event on Thursday. The Hartford event is one of several that the charity has planned this summer.

“We believe in a world where no child goes to bed hungry — a world in which kids can be kids and grow up wide-eyed, curious, playful, eager to learn, strong, joyful and full of dreams,” Feed the Children president and CEO Kevin Hagan said. "PepsiCo, its employees and our friends at PriceRite are not just providing food and essentials today."

Families who received food from the organizations — which included produce, staples, and Frito-Lay snacks and Avon products — were selected by Hartford organization Community Renewal Team.  Aunt Jemima, Quaker and Aquafina also furnished goods for the food event. 

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