2014 Private Label Hall of Fame Announced

hall of fame front

The latest edition of the video webzine from the Private Label Manufacturers Association PLMA Live! features Kurt Goldschmidt presenting the six newest members inducted into the Private Label Industry Hall of Fame.

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It’s Hall of Fame time and Kurt Goldschmidt reveals the six newest members inducted into the Private Label Industry Hall of Fame.

Back in 2006, PLMA and Private Label Magazine created the Private Label Industry Hall of Fame, to give recognition to retailers and manufacturers who helped make store brands the success it is today. Over the years, a few things have changed. Private Label magazine is now Store Brands magazine, and initial four inductees have grown to more than thirty members, giving testimony to the achievements of pioneers, innovators and industry leaders.

This year, the Hall of Fame welcomes six new members. Their careers will be highlighted in the March issue of Store Brands and celebrated at PLMA’s 2014 Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida. Allow me to introduce you to them.

PLMA Hall of Fame_0005_Gary Pencer
Gerry Pencer

As chairman and CEO of Cott Beverages from 1989 to 1997, Gerry Pencer realized that a premium private label cola could help launch a whole new generation of store brands. Forging partnerships with like-minded manufacturers in key categories, he brought his passion to the executive suites at his retail customers. Success became a watershed as more and more retailers began positioning their own brands to compete with iconic national brand leaders.


PLMA Hall of Fame_0004_Donald Albrecht
Donald Albrecht

Taking his place among the industry’s early pioneers is Donald Albrecht, who headed Federated Foods from the late 1950s until his passing in 1986. Long before generics came on the scene, he assigned Federated customers exclusive marketing rights to the company’s Red & White label. In so doing, he built a solid distribution system serving chains that might otherwise lack the resources to commit to promoting private label, and also set the stage for Federated Group to become a key player in the industry’s growth.


PLMA Hall of Fame_0003_Dennis Kinser
Dennis Kinser

Dennis Kinser joined Associated Wholesale Grocers in 1969 and over the course of four decades at the wholesaling cooperative, he was the prime mover behind the creation and expansion of a private label enterprise that became AWG Brands. With a reputation for leveraging operational efficiencies to generate investments in program and product development, he built AWG Brands into core a competency of the company en route to attaining the position of senior vice president for grocery products.


PLMA Hall of Fame_0002_Mark Husson
Mark Husson

Mark Husson emerged as one of the leading industry research analysts beginning in the 1990s during his tenure with the investment firm JPMorgan. On Wall Street and in the media, the unique role he played in focusing attention on the private label industry had lasting impact and demonstrated the existence of a direct correspondence between a retailer’s financial performance and its commitment to its own brands as measured by penetration.


PLMA Hall of Fame_0001_Doug Palmer
Doug Palmer

Doug Palmer is widely recognized as a store brands innovator and groundbreaker. As Vice President of Corporate Brands at Safeway, he led an unprecedented re-launch for the retailer’s extensive private label portfolio, creating the highly successful ‘O’ Organics brand among others. Subsequently he re-energized A&P Own Brands with award-winning programs in natural, organic, premium and specialty foods. His current work is being done on the supplier side as Senior Vice President of olive producers Agro Sevilla, and as a store brands marketing and branding consultant.


PLMA Hall of Fame_0000_Rick Witherspoon
Rick Witherspoon

Among private label sales and marketing executives, there are few who embody as Rick Witherspoon does the professionalism and commitment that a manufacturer requires to succeed as a store brands supplier. From the mid-1980s, as vice president heading national accounts for Merico, … at Earthgrains and the Eurodough international private label divisions of Anheuser Busch and Sara Lee, … and presently as an industry consultant, Rick’s optimism, insight and tireless advocacy for the business of store brands continue to educate and inspire.

To all of the new inductees, I want to offer my congratulations. I look forward to introducing some of them to you in person in Orlando.

For PLMA Live! I’m Kurt Goldschmidt.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.