Rich Durante has been elevated to The Fresh Market’s corporate executive team as its new chief merchandising officer, where he will be responsible for overseeing all buying activities and developing strategic purchasing plans for the 176-store specialty grocery retailer.
Durante, who joined The Fresh Market as EVP of Midwest and Southeast merchandising in April 2017, was most recently responsible for merchandising and private label programs within the two regions. Prior to that, Durante was president and COO of AG Supermarket Holdings, which operates Kings Food Markets, Balducci’s and Balducci’s On the Go Cafe. With nearly 40 years of industry experience, Durante also held roles of increasing leadership responsibility at Kings, including merchandising, operations, marketing and engineering teams.
“One of my main priorities as chief merchandising officer is to create programs and initiatives that will further position The Fresh Market as an industry leader in freshness and quality,” Durante said in a statement. “I look forward to expanding The Fresh Market’s signature and specialty categories, as well as driving market innovation through our meal solutions.”
Larry Appel, president and CEO of the Greensboro, N.C.-based chain, said he is confident in Durante’s abilities to elevate the retailer’s brand and offerings. “Love of food is at the heart of The Fresh Market and I’m confident that under Rich’s leadership, we will further enhance our product offering and continue to deliver unique, quality items to our guests.”
Appel was named CEO in September, and has since made several senior leadership appointments.
A native of New Jersey, Durante holds a B.S. in marketing from Seton Hall University.