Jul 3, 2018
Grower Gets Bigger & BrighterBy Tim Hodson

The future is looking really bright and a lot bigger for indoor produce grower BrightFarms. The big grower plans to get even bigger thanks to a recently signed financing deal.

On June 28, the company announced that it had secured $55 million in equity financing that will “enable the continued rapid national expansion of BrightFarms’ network of local and sustainable” production facilities.

BrightFarms, headquartered in Irvington, New York, builds and operates greenhouse farms near major metropolitan areas to provide supermarkets with a consistent and year-round supply of locally grown produce. BrightFarms has achieved success in the market with leading national retailers such as Walmart, Kroger, Roundy’s, Albertsons and Hyvee.

The company currently operates facilities in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Illinois. A new farm in Ohio will open later this summer, and a Texas facility is scheduled to open in early 2019.

BrightFarms’ operations use 80 percent less water, 90 percent less land and 95 percent less shipping fuel than long distance, centralized and field-grown suppliers. All of the company’s produce is grown pesticide-free and is non-GMO.

“We have a bold vision to change the way Americans get their produce and this round will help us achieve our goals,” said Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms’ chief executive officer.

— Tim


Walmart Creates Chief Customer Executive Position

Janey Whiteside has been named chief customer officer at Walmart. In her newly created role, Whiteside will be responsible for attracting new shoppers and enhancing customer service in Walmart stores as well as its online offerings. Prior to her appointment, Whiteside spent two decades at American Express, in areas including relationship management, marketing and customer engagement. The company also recently named Barbara Messing as chief marketing officer, who replaces Tony Rogers, who has moved to a new role at sister company Sam’s Club.

Home Depot Releases Responsibility Report

The Home Depot stores have cut energy use by 23.5 percent since 2010, exceeding the company’s goal to reduce consumption by 20 percent by 2020, according to the company’s 2018 Responsibility Report. “A Year of Progress,” released in late June, outlines the company’s sustainability progress and environmental, workforce and community initiatives. The report is available on the home improvement retailer’s website. “As part of our values, we encourage our associates to be entrepreneurial, innovative and creative, and the successes you’ll see in this report are a testament to their talent and dedication,” said Craig Menear, chairman, CEO and president.

Whole Foods Names New Brand Coordinator

Whole Foods Market has named Kelly Landrieu as global coordinator of local brands. Landrieu will work with the company’s local foragers and merchants to support and counsel local suppliers bringing innovative products to customers. Located throughout the company’s 12 regions, Whole Foods’ local foragers and buyers are responsible for finding and incubating new and unique products from each store’s community for customers. In 2017, Whole Foods Market added more than 700 small suppliers to the shelves of local stores.

Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]

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