New York’s most iconic cheese shop purchased by The Kroger Co.

CINCINNATI and NEW YORK, 2017-Feb-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today  (Feb. 7, 2017) announced it has purchased the equity of Murray’s Cheese, as well as its flagship location on Bleecker Street in New York City, to form a merger of the two companies.

“For cheese lovers and connoisseurs, it doesn’t get more authentic than Murray’s,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Our customers are excited to buy the unique offerings of Murray’s Cheese right in our stores, and we’re excited to ensure this iconic cheese shop will remain a part of the Kroger family for many years to come.”

New York’s most iconic cheese shop, opened in 1940, Murray’s has been delivering the finest selection of cheese, meat and specialty food items to New Yorkers, chefs and cheese lovers nationwide through a robust online business. Since the two companies formed a unique partnership in 2008, Murray’s has offered the same fine foods and cheese expertise to the Kroger family of stores.

“When the Kroger and Murray’s relationship started in 2008, we wanted to figure out how to bring the finest cheese and charcuterie to more people,” said Daniel Hammer, Kroger’s vice president of culinary development and deli/bakery merchandising. “Today, we have more than 350 Murray’s Cheese shops in Kroger locations from coast to coast – and that is thanks to the incredible passion and commitment of the team at Murray’s to empower associates to share their love of cheese with customers. We look forward to learning from the very talented team at Murray’s and working together to grow the business and build the iconic Murray’s brand.”

Murray’s former owner and president, Rob Kaufelt, will remain affiliated with the business as a strategic adviser. Nick Tranchina will continue to lead the Murray’s Cheese team in New York and will report to Daniel Hammer at Kroger.

“Rob’s dedication to his craft has placed Murray’s on the map among the culinary elite while also making specialty cheese more accessible to mainstream consumers,” said Mr. McMullen. “We look forward to Rob’s continued influence on the business, helping to tell the Murray’s Cheese story and building its brand.”

“It has been my honor and privilege to work with so many tremendous, talented people over the course of my 45-year career in food retail, especially the last 25 years at Murray’s here in New York City,” said Mr. Kaufelt.  “When I set out on this journey, my goal was simply to run the best cheese shop in Greenwich Village. I’m proud that we’ve been able to maintain the spirit and service of a mom-and-pop neighborhood shop amidst our growth into the national market. I am pleased to pass the torch to our able staff, who will carry Murray’s into the future.”

Murray’s Cheese shops in Kroger stores replicate the same experience customers enjoy at its Greenwich Village flagship store. Each shop carries hundreds of cheeses, charcuterie, olives, crackers and specialty food items from all over the world. Murray’s is deeply involved with product selection, staff training & development, merchandising and promotions.

Other highlights of the special partnership between Murray’s Cheese and Kroger include:

  • In December 2016, Kroger and Murray’s Cheese opened their 350th store location in Bloomington, IN. At the time, Mr. Kaufelt said: “This is an exciting milestone for Murray’s and the specialty cheese industry. In 2008, we pioneered a store-within-a-store concept at a handful of Kroger stores. Between 2008 and 2012, we opened 38 stores, and in 2016 we opened nearly 100. This partnership has exceeded our wildest expectations.”
  • Murray’s staff has trained thousands of Cheese Mongers and Certified Cheese Professionals through its relationship with Kroger. Between the two companies, the American Cheese Society named as Certified Cheese Professionals 29 team members in 2016, 20 in 2015, and 13 in 2014.

Financial terms of the merger were not disclosed.

About Murray’s Cheese:
Since its founding in 1940, the mission of Murray’s Cheese is to bring the best cheese selection to the United States and to educate customers about cheese. Murray’s Bleecker Street and Grand Central Terminal flagship stores offer hundreds of domestic and imported artisan cheeses, along with a large selection of charcuterie and specialty goods. Follow Murray’s on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @MurraysCheese. For a list of locations, visit murrayscheese.com/locations.

About Kroger:
Every day, the Kroger Family of Companies makes a difference in the lives of eight and a half million customers and 443,000 associates who shop or serve in 2,796 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Kroger and its subsidiaries operate an expanding ClickList offering – a personalized, order online, pick up at the store service – in addition to 2,253 pharmacies, 787 convenience stores, 324 fine jewelry stores, 1,439 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food production plants in the United States. Kroger is recognized as one of America’s most generous companies for its support of more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners, breast cancer research and awareness, the military and their families, and more than 145,000 community organizations including schools. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.

Media Contact:
Keith Dailey
Director, Media Relations/Corporate Communications
Office: 513-762-1304
Cell: 513-257-4955
Email: keith.dailey@kroger.com

SOURCE: The Kroger Co.

29 Kroger and Murray’s Cheese team members named Certified Cheese Professionals® by the American Cheese Society

NEW YORK and CINCINNATI, 2016-Sep-15 — /EPR Retail News/ —  The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) and Murray’s Cheese announced today ( Sept. 13, 2016) that 29 team members have been named Certified Cheese Professionals® by the American Cheese Society (ACS). They are part of an elite group of 155 individuals who passed the 6th ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam on July 27, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. ACS CCPs® now total 740 individuals in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

The ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam is the first and only exam of its kind. It was launched by the ACS in 2012 to encourage high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for all areas of the industry. Testing encompasses a broad range of topics, including raw ingredients, the cheesemaking process, storing and handling cheese, marketing and communications, nutrition, regulations and sanitation.

“We congratulate these individuals on this tremendous professional accomplishment. We are incredibly proud of the cheese professionals who have earned the designation of Certified Cheese Professional,” said Nora Weiser, Executive Director of the American Cheese Society. “The level of understanding and professionalism that ACS CCPs bring to the industry benefits everyone from the cheesemaker to the consumer, and elevates an already thriving artisan cheese industry to an entirely new level.”

“I’m so proud of our new CCPs for their dedication and thankful to Kroger for their support of our team members across the country,” said Rob Kaufelt, Murray’s Cheese Owner and President. “The ACS has taken tremendous steps to create opportunities for growth and enhancement among cheese professionals. It’s truly rewarding and we’re all grateful for this recognition.”

This year’s Certified Cheese Professionals® from Kroger and Murray’s Cheese are:

Audrey Aponte – Murray’s Cheese, New York City Nathan Larsen – Kroger, Columbus, OH
Jean Bollinger – Kroger, Cincinnati, OH Stephen Lindley – Murray’s Cheese, New York City
Janice Bonner – Kroger, Nashville, TN Becky Nawrocki – Murray’s Cheese, New York City
Lisa Calkins – Fry’s, Phoenix, AZ Wendy Reichenbach – Ralph’s, Los Angeles, CA
Christine Clark – Murray’s Cheese, New York City Spencer Riggan – Fred Meyer, Bothell, WA
Liam Devlin – QFC, Kirkland, WA Ezekial Rodriguez – King Soopers, Littleton, CO
Zach England – King Soopers, Littleton, CO Patrick Rooney – Dillons, Wichita, KS
Chad Farmer Davis – Kroger, Cincinnati, OH Diane Rudolph – Kroger, Atlanta, GA
Ashley Fisher – Fred Meyer, Bothell, WA Sabrina Simpson – Murray’s Cheese, New York City
Adam Goddu – Murray’s Cheese, New York City Timothy Stauffer – QFC, Kirkland, WA
Denise Graziani – Kroger, Michigan Meghan Stone – Kroger, Cincinnati, OH
Daniel Helm – Kroger, Louisville, KY Greg Trevino – Fred Meyer, Bothell, WA
Seth Johnson – King Soopers, Littleton, CO Douglas Vaughn – Kroger, Cincinnati, OH
Sara Knickerbocker – Dillons, Wichita, KS Marta Zubar – Kroger, Michigan

To learn more about the Certified Cheese Professional® Exam, visit www.certifiedcheeseprofessional.org.

About Murray’s Cheese:
Founded in 1940 in the heart of Greenwich Village, Murray’s Cheese is New York’s most beloved cheese shop. The mission of Murray’s Cheese is to bring the best cheese selection to the United States and to educate customers about cheese. Murray’s flagship stores on Bleecker Street and at Grand Central Terminal offer hundreds of domestic and imported artisan cheeses, along with a large selection of specialty goods. Follow Murray’s on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @MurraysCheese.

About Kroger:
Every day, the Kroger Family of Companies makes a difference in the lives of eight and a half million customers and 431,000 associates who shop or serve in 2,778 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Kroger and its subsidiaries operate an expanding ClickList offering – a personalized, order online, pick up at the store service – in addition to 2,230 pharmacies, 785 convenience stores, 323 fine jewelry stores, 1,400 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food production plants in the United States. Kroger is recognized as one of America’s most generous companies for its support of more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners, breast cancer research and awareness, the military and their families, and more than 145,000 community organizations including schools. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.

About the American Cheese Society (ACS)
ACS is the leading organization supporting the understanding, appreciation, and promotion of artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses produced in the Americas. At nearly 1,700 members strong, ACS provides advocacy, education, business development, and networking opportunities for cheesemakers, retailers, enthusiasts, and extended industry. ACS strives to continually raise the quality and availability of cheese in the Americas.

SOURCE: The Kroger Co.

American Cheese Society: 20 Kroger associates and 8 Murray’s Cheese associates have been named Certified Cheese Professionals™

CINCINNATI, OH, 2015-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) and Murray’s Cheese announced today that 20 Kroger associates and eight Murray’s Cheese associates have been named Certified Cheese Professionals™ by the American Cheese Society.

This breaks both company’s previous records of 13 Kroger associates and four Murray’s Cheese associates who achieved the ultimate in cheese recognition last year. There are now 52 Certified Cheese Professionals in the Kroger and Murray’s family.

This year, all 28 associates have joined the ranks of an elite group of individuals who have passed the Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam. The exam was created by the American Cheese Society to promote the large and comprehensive world of cheeses and encourage food industry professionals to master the knowledge.

“We are not only proud of these distinguished individuals and their professional achievement, but also of the industry’s adoption of the ACS CCP designation as the standard for cheese professionals,” says Nora Weiser, Executive Director of the American Cheese Society. “The entire cheese industry – from cheesemaker to consumer – benefits from the understanding, education, and professionalism of ACS CCPs. They are a testament to the growth, quality, and passion of today’s American cheese scene.”

Passing the American Cheese Society’s CCP exam is no small feat. Before being allowed to sit for the exam, cheese people must have 4,000 hours of work and/or formal education in the cheese-field under their belt.

“When I started on the counter at Murray’s 25 years ago, the job of cheesemonger didn’t formally exist,” said Rob Kaufelt, Murray’s owner and president. “And if it did, it was certainly not at the level of a chef or sommelier. That is, we were not a profession at all back then. Now I’m proud to say that Murray’s, with the help of the ACS and Kroger, is well on its way to establishing a proud, new, traditional line of work in the food industry. We are leading the country toward a new and respected profession with a formal certificate of recognition.”

Through an exclusive partnership with New York City’s Murray’s Cheese, the Kroger family of stores features 210 Murray’s counters in stores from coast-to-coast.  Featuring more than 175 cheeses and specialty goods from all over the world, the Murray’s counters are staffed by associates who have been trained by the Murray’s experts in New York.  For a list of Murray’s in Kroger locations, please visit www.murrayscheese.com/locations.

For more information about ACS CCPs™, please visit www.cheesesociety.org.

Congratulations to our latest CCPs™:

Stephanie Boyd, Kroger (Nashville)
Aaron Bronson, Kroger (Indianapolis)
Glen Christensen, Kroger (Houston)
Susan Cohen, King Soopers (Denver)
Summer Coulter, Murray’s Cheese NYC
Beth Ann Coulton, Murray’s Cheese NYC
Rachel Freier, Murray’s Cheese NYC
Blanche Ghaleb, Kroger (Houston)
Lisa Griffin, Murray’s Cheese NYC
Carol Johnson, Murray’s Cheese NYC
Kathy Kennedy, Kroger (Cincinnati)
Shelley Knowles, QFC (Seattle)
Jessica Kohl, Kroger (Louisville)
Monty Laursen, Fred Meyer (Portland)
Alyssa Lewis, QFC (Seattle)
Deanna Lewis, Kroger (Columbus)
James Mares, Kroger (Michigan)
Miranda McQuillan, Bakers (Omaha)
Caitlin O’Neill, Murray’s Cheese (Portland)
Audrey Patterson, Kroger (Louisville)
Connor Pelcher, Murray’s Cheese NYC
Shawn Pieper, Kroger (Houston)
David Rich, Kroger (Memphis)
Alexi Sandoval, King Soopers (Denver)
Nicole Smock, Ralphs (Los Angeles)
Michael Veach, Kroger (Atlanta)
Jillian Wilber, Murray’s Cheese (Los Angeles)
Melissa Wood, Kroger (Cincinnati)

Kroger, one of the world’s largest retailers, employs nearly 400,000 associates who serve customers in 2,626 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s.  The company also operates 780 convenience stores, 327 fine jewelry stores, 1,342 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S.  Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and community organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber’s Million Dollar Club.

SOURCE The Kroger Co.