Rosie, the online grocery shopping platform for retailers and wholesalers nationwide, has brought in three new hires to lead Rosie’s data integrations, onboarding and retailer support teams.
In response to the increased demand for e-commerce platforms for independent retailers nationwide, Rosie has hired Bret Conard as SVP of Data & Integrations, Jonathan Kotenko as head of retailer support and Heather Sandford, head of onboarding, bringing in decades of experience in the independent retailer and wholesaler distribution space.
As SVP of data & integrations, Conard will scale Rosie’s proprietary data software along with overseeing the company’s deep roster of third-party integrations. Conard joins Rosie with over 20 years of experience in software development and professional services delivery in several industries. During his IT and consulting careers at Levi Strauss, RCM Technologies and United HealthCare, he played key roles in implementing and managing global supply chain and compliance initiatives. His diverse background allows him to function fluently at all levels within the complex world of data and analytics within enterprises of all sizes. Previously, Conard served on the ROFDA Advisory Council (Retailer Owned Food Distributors and Associates).
With 14-plus years of industry experience, Kotenko joins from United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) as head of retailer support at Rosie. A veteran in the grocery wholesaler and retailer space, Kotenko managed technical support teams while at UNFI, Supervalu and Unified Grocers. As head of retailer support, Kotenko will oversee a growing team of experienced support specialists who service hundreds of independent retailers representing thousands stores nationwide.
Joining Rosie as head of onboarding, Sandford will lead a team of technical integration specialists and onboarding agents who oversee the launch process for all new retailers signed on to Rosie’s platform. Previously, Sandford owned and operated The Piggery, an artisanal butcher in Ithaca, N.Y., that grew to become a nationally renowned purveyor of meats. Sandford has also served as a food consultant in the wholesaler and distribution space. Sandford’s 15 years of operational and project management experience growing a local startup to a national brand will drive efficiencies and enhancements to the Rosie onboarding experience.
“We are so excited for Bret, Heather and Jonathan to join us during this dynamic period of growth,” said Nick Nickitas, CEO and co-founder at Rosie. “Each of these leaders bring diverse and valuable industry experience, elevating our operational capabilities alongside the evolving needs of our partners. Our mission is to help independent retailers win — and these strategic hires enable us to continue to meet and exceed the expectations of our partners as well as accelerate our innovation pipeline.”
In recent months, Rosie has been focused on building out the company’s customer success teams to proactively address industry growth. After seeing a 900% increase in stores signed during the pandemic versus pre-COVID, Rosie has more than doubled its employee count and continues to prioritize support and service for its independent retailer partners.
Launched in 2012 — and cleverly named after the robot housekeeper on “The Jetsons” — Rosie allows customers to shop online from their favorite local stores for same-day delivery or in-store pickup. In addition to e-commerce, Rosie provides retailers with delivery opportunities, omnichannel marketing and deep data services.
Rosie serves as e-commerce partner to such regional wholesalers as Associated Food Stores (AFS), Associated Grocers of New England, Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG), Bozzuto’s, CERTCO, C&S Wholesale Grocers and Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company.
During a podcast with SN in June, Nickitas was optimistic about the long-term growth of grocery e-commerce even beyond COVID-19.
“I think that coming out of this pandemic, whenever an antiviral or vaccine comes in, that people will continue to take advantage of the digital tools and they're going to blend it seamlessly into their lives,” he said. “Creating a seamless experience across online and in-store becomes increasingly important.”
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