When Dick Redner moved from CEO to chairman at Redner’s Markets in 2016 and the company’s board of directors elevated his son Ryan to chief executive, industry observers wondered if Ryan was prepared for the challenge to lead the 64 store (43 supermarkets 21 Quick Shoppe convenience stores) Reading, PA-based regional retailer. That same question was asked in 1990 when Dick succeeded his father and company founder Earl “The Chief” Redner. Dick Redner piloted the company through unprecedented growth for nearly three decades. And while it’s still early in the careers of Ryan Redner and his first cousin, COO Gary Michael Redner (son of Dick’s late brother Gary W. Redner), the third generation of Redners are beginning to make their mark on the discount retailer which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.

To wit: the debut of Redner’s first “Fresh” market, which opened on April 11 in Wyomissing, PA. That 54,000 square foot store originally opened in the mid-90s and the conversion to the new “fresh” model is striking. Upgrades to the store include more locally grown produce, farm fresh meats and dairy products. There are significantly more “grab n’ go” prepared meals created by Redner’s executive chef Tim Twiford, including a signature smoked meat/carved sandwich of the day, fresh sushi, and exclusive signature sausage flavors. The supermarket has enlarged its bakery and added items such as hand-crafted bagels, cannoli, tiramisu, eclairs and soft pretzels. Redner’s Fresh Market now has an expansive breakfast bar with fresh coffee, cappuccino and breakfast sandwiches. Rounding out the new features at the upscale unit are a new prepared hot foods and salad bar, store-made infused water, draft beer in a glass or a growler and wine-by-the-glass bar.

“We are very excited for this next step in the evolution of our stores within the company. The additional options of fresh cut produce, hand crafted baked goods, store-made infused water, draft beer/wine and having our own executive chef’s prepared meals is just the beginning of what we have to offer,” said Ryan Redner. “Planning this store and all it has to offer has been a labor of love for our entire team.”

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About a month later, Redner’s held a vendor meeting at its company headquarters. Ryan and Gary Michael they detailed some of the retailer’s new initiatives before a packed house of more than 100 brokers, reps and distributors at the two-hour session. Both executives acknowledged they are very pleased with the increase in sales during the first month of activity at the revamped store.

Redner’s will also be deploying the new “fresh” model at its next two new stores – Audubon, PA (a former Genuardi’s which will open in October of this year) and Lewes, DE (which is slated for an early 2021 ribbon cutting). Additionally, Gary Michael Redner noted that elements of the “fresh” concept will likely be utilized at all Redner’s locations and as such revealed that the company is exploring the possibility of opening a stand-alone commissary to service both its supermarkets and its convenience stores. He added that the company is committed to creating the best eating experience at a value that the consumer wants.

In January 2018, Redner’s began using Shipt as its grocery home delivery partner and Gary Michael said that the service has performed well in the early going.

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A new era has dawned at Redner’s and it’s clear that the grocery trade is interested and excited about the company’s future.