experts: Senior Category Manager Steve Sorensen
We believe in
exceeding expectations, giving customers a sensational shopping experience each
time they visit any of our stores. One way in which we uphold this belief is by
providing you the best products possible. Meet Steve Sorensen, a member of our
team who helps us source many of those very products.
Q: What do you do at Lunds &
A:I’m a senior category manager of
center store. This essentially means that I’m responsible for the category
management team in charge of all the grocery items that are in those middle
aisles of the store. Our team does everything from determining which grocery
items we’ll carry in each store to determining the weekly promotions for those
items. We even decide exactly where those products will go on the shelves. I’ve
worked in the grocery business for 36 years, and I am very fortunate that the
past 15 of those years have been here at Lunds & Byerlys, cultivating my
passion for local and specialty products.
Q: What do you like most about your
A: One of my
favorite parts of the job is working with the local makers themselves, as they
are the lifeblood of our industry. I really enjoy having the opportunity to
touch all aspects of product development. The process often starts with a local
entrepreneur and an idea, which leads to the development of the product, and
then the actual success of getting the product to market. Over the years, we’ve
had the pleasure of being the first retailer to carry many local products,
Kettle Corn, Daniel’s Fire Roast Salsa and Ames
Farm Honey, just to name a few.
Q: Why does Lunds & Byerlys
choose to carry so many local products?
A: Local makers
share our passion and commitment to high-quality products, and their efforts
help us create a sensational shopping experience for our customers. We take
pride in stocking our shelves with products that have unique, local stories and
we love sharing them with our customers. We also believe it’s important to
source local products so we can work to reduce our carbon footprint.
Q: How do you find the best local
makers to bring to market?
A: In addition to
attending local food shows, farmers markets are becoming strong test sites for
local products. We also receive lots of product leads from our inspired
customers who are always telling us about special items they came across or
heard about locally. Some of those products simply start with a family recipe
that was passed down or a product that a customer has a passion about and wants
to share with others.
Q: What’s a local product you’ve
been enjoying lately?
A: Now that the
weather is warmer and we’re in the midst of BBQ season, Wee
Willy’s Barbecue Sauce comes to mind. Bill and Lana’s products started in a
local butcher shop in Afton and they have become some of our most valued
partners over the years. They not only participate in all of our BBQ events,
but they’re also a true Minnesota family business that has worked steadily to
create a fantastic, high-quality product. We’re proud of the strong
relationship we’ve built with them.