(UPDATED COVERAGE, Aug. 22) As the parent company for United Supermarkets continues a rebranding initiative, the Texas chain’s produce procurement director Tommy Wilkins has left the company.
Kerri Fulks, public relations spokeswoman for the Lubbock, Texas-based grocery chain, said Aug. 21 that Wilkins had left the company earlier in the month. She said the company is not releasing any other information about Wilkins and is not announcing how it will replace the director of produce procurement.
Wilkins, a member of the Southeast Produce Council board of directors for 2012-13 and former member of the retail board for United Fresh Produce Association, had worked with United Supermarkets Inc. — recently renamed The United Family — since the 1990s. His last day at United Supermarkets was Aug. 4.
“I was hired to do a job and I think I did it,” Wilkins said Aug. 21. “I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to build a procurement program from the ground up. I am very proud off the team’s work. We built a system to get the retailers what they needed when they needed it.”
Initially Wilkins and his father provided services to United via their business, Wilkins Genova Inc. The younger Wilkins joined the United Supermarkets Inc. staff after he and his father closed Wilkins Genova in 2006.
Wilkins said he and his wife are ready and willing to relocate from Lubbock. He will likely stay in the fresh produce industry.
“That’s all I’ve ever done, so I think that’s what I’ll probably keep doing,” he said. “With the talent United has in place I expect great things for them in the future. We’re both looking to start new chapters.”
Earlier in his career Wilkins worked in fresh produce in California at Cal Fruit-Nobility on the growing and sales sides of the industry.
Wilkins departure from United comes in the midst of a “strategic branding initiative,” according to a company news release.
“This vital step of defining, documenting and evolving our brand strategies will help ensure the entire company understands what each of our brands stands for,” senior marketing director Monica Schierbaum said in the release. “Our goal is to create more distinct and consistent brand identities.”
As part of the initiative, the parent company’s name has been changed, but it continues to operate four retail banners, including United Supermarkets, across northern and western Texas.
The other three retail banners are Amigos, United Express and Market Street, which got a fresh logo earlier this year. There are 57 stores in 30 markets operated by The United Family.
Along with the renaming of the parent company, United officials launched a new logo to reflect the new name of The United Family. The parent company continues to operate subsidiary divisions including R.C. Taylor Distributing, Praters and Llano Logistics.