ALA Executive Briefing
Dec. 3, 2010

USO helps troops in travel pinch
Charlotte Observer via
Traveling light, Marine Pfc. Amber Legezdh headed to the airport bound for combat training at Camp Geiger, near Jacksonville, N.C. Then her travel day took an unexpected turn — She missed a 7:50 a.m. connecting flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, N.C., and ended up hanging out until 6 p.m. at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Changing a flight itinerary during the year's busiest holiday travel season between Thanksgiving and Christmas isn't easy, and long layovers can be exhausting. But Legezdh had it better than most: The 18-year-old spent most of her time being pampered by volunteers at the USO of North Carolina travel center, on the mezzanine above the airport's food court. More

US, South Korea launch war games in tense Yellow Sea
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
A U.S. supercarrier and South Korean destroyer took up position in the tense Yellow Sea recently for joint military exercises that were a united show of force just days after a deadly North Korean artillery attack. As tensions escalated across the region, with North Korea threatening another "merciless" attack, China belatedly jumped into the fray. Beijing's top nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, called for an emergency meeting in early December among regional powers involved in nuclear disarmament talks, including North Korea. Seoul responded cautiously to the proposal from North Korea's staunch ally, saying it should be "reviewed very carefully" in light of North Korea's recent revelation of a new uranium-enrichment facility, even as protesters begged President Lee Myung-bak to find a way to resolve the tension and restore peace.More

Pentagon hunting for a home for Africom
The Washington Post
The Pentagon is reopening a worldwide search for a home for its Africa military command, which still lacks a permanent headquarters three years after it was created. Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, the Obama administration's nominee to take charge of the U.S. Africa Command, or Africom, told a Senate committee recently that he would launch the search if he is confirmed. The command is based in Stuttgart, Germany, partly because African leaders strongly objected to the prospect of an expanded U.S. military presence on their continent.More

Senate passes overhaul of food safety regulations
The New York Times
The Senate recently passed a sweeping overhaul of the nation's food-safety system, after recalls of tainted eggs, peanut butter and spinach that sickened thousands and led major food makers to join consumer advocates in demanding stronger government oversight. The legislation would greatly strengthen the Food and Drug Administration, an agency that in recent decades focused more on policing medical products than ensuring the safety of foods. The bill is intended to get the government to crack down on unsafe foods before they harm people rather than after outbreaks occur.More

Whole health: Cup by cup
Supermarket News
Few other commodities arriving on supermarket shelves are as well documented as coffee. From the bean, consumers can determine country of origin. Reading the label, they discover the region the beans came from, perhaps even the farm itself. Studying the package often reveals narratives describing the deeper benefits a purchase has on the bean farmers, their families and the environment.More

Odwalla introducing eco-friendly container
Progressive Grocer
Odwalla, the Half Moon Bay, Calif. based manufacturer of natural juices, juice drinks, smoothies, protein drinks and food bars, will change all of the brand's single-serve bottles to PlantBottle packaging, a high-density polyethylene that consists of up to 100 percent plant-based materials and is 100 percent recyclable, in March 2011. The new container will help to reduce dependence on nonrenewable resources. For instance, the potential yearly reduction in carbon dioxide from the use of plant-based material, instead of petroleum, to make the PlantBottle is equal to a savings of nearly 400,000 gallons of gas.More

Stop-N-Shop markets were leaders in city's grocery industry
Valley Community Newspapers
Anyone remember Stop-N-Shop grocery stores and supermarkets? It goes without question that just about anyone who resided in the Sacramento, Calif. area any time from the Great Depression to around the days when the motion picture "Jaws" and disco were considered hot topics certainly answered, "yes," to this question. Furthermore, many longtime, local residents assuredly still remember the store's popular jingle, which featured the familiar lines: "Let's go down to the Stop-N-Shop and push the cart around 'n' round. Let's buy all of our groceries there. They have the best in town. Let's go down to the Stop-N-Shop and push the cart around 'n' round. You get a lot more for your money there than anywhere else in town."More

Meal planning before grocery shopping drives purchase decisions
PR Web
Most consumers don't enter the grocery store a blank slate — nearly 3 out of 4 U.S. households typically plan at least some dinners in advance, and half plan breakfast and lunch meals, according to a recent food and beverage market research report by The NPD Group, a leading market research company. The NPD report, entitled Before the Store, which takes a holistic view of the grocery shopper from menu planning, meal preparation, eating behavior, to shopping, found that of the 71 percent of households that plan at least some dinners in advance, 24 percent planned nearly all dinners in advance. Of the 53 percent of households that plan at least some lunches in advance, 13 percent planned nearly all lunches in advance. Fifty-one percent of households planned at least some breakfast meals in advance, and 26 percent planned nearly all breakfasts in advance. More

Retailers see strong Thanksgiving weekend sales
The New York Times
One-third of holiday shoppers over the Thanksgiving weekend made their purchases online, the highest number ever, according to the National Retail Federation. Early estimates suggest weekend sales were 8.7 percent above last year. However, Black Friday is not always a perfect predictor of holiday sales, said the National Retail Federation's Ellen Davis. "It's important to keep the economy in mind here. Sometimes Black Friday is not an indicator of the holiday season, because people are so focused on deals that they'll get themselves up early." (May require free subscription.)More

Dr. Pepper: 125 years and still going strong
Convenience Store News
It all began 125 years ago today when Dr Pepper was first served at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. And now the brand is wrapping up a yearlong celebration of being the oldest major soft drink in the country. "This has been a landmark year for Dr Pepper and our fans, highlighting its rightful place in 'pop' culture," said Dave Fleming, director of marketing for Dr Pepper. "A true beverage original, Dr Pepper is the oldest major soft drink in America, and our fans have made us one of the best-selling soft drinks nationwide." More

From fast food to fine dining, business is up at restaurants
USA Today
America's appetite for eating out is starting to rumble again. Three years after the $580 billion restaurant industry saw its harshest downturn in decades — there are signals that the worst may be over for an industry that suffered as people saved by eating out less. "The glow is off the idea that cooking is fun," says Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a research specialist. "Consumers are returning to their old habits."More

In retail, 'splurge' is the word this holiday season
Retailers want consumers to splurge a little this holiday season. J.C. Penney is running a campaign with the tagline, "New list. New gifts. Who knew?" to entice consumers to spend. The Gap has an ad on its Facebook brand page that asks, "What do you want this holiday?" The push follows a generally upbeat Black Friday shopping weekend during which average consumer spending rose 6.4 percent to $365.34 versus the year-ago period, according to data released by the National Retail Federation. It's also a stark contrast from the give-and-take relationship marketers and consumers have been closely locked in during these past two years.More

WalMart's Africa strategy
Fortune via CNN
In the next 25 years, analysts believe the consumer market in Africa will take off. When it does, Walmart wants to be ready to seize the day. Recently, WalMart Stores announced a cash offer for a majority stake in the South African retail company Massmart Holdings, Ltd. The offer is scaled-back from the roughly $4 billion that Walmart wanted to pay in September for the entire company. Instead, WalMart offered over $2 billion for 51 percent of Massmart shares.More

Petro stopping centers 'voted best' in independent driver survey
Convenience Store News
Petro Stopping Centers and TravelCenters of America brands overwhelmingly dominated "Voted Best" categories in an independent driver survey conducted by Overdrive Magazine, the company reported. "Drivers are perceptive and very honest." said Tom O'Brien, President and CEO of TravelCenters of America. "They know where they need to go to be treated with more respect, whether that's through better amenities and services or by friendlier employees. As we like to say, full-service is 'at your service' and drivers clearly see and feel the difference." More

Save the date

The All Exchange Roundtable will be held in Dallas, Texas March 28 – 30 held at the Omni Mandalay in Las Colinas. The steering committee is working on what promises to be an exciting agenda.More

2010 Army Navy game hospitality packages
Philadelphia Sports Congress
The Philadelphia Sports Congress is offering four special hospitality packages for the 111th Army Navy Game classic at Lincoln Financial Field on December 11. Packages contain preferential stadium seating; a special 3-hour all you can eat & drink Pre-game Brunch; access to climate-controlled Red Zone Lounge before, during and after the game; and special pricing for Reserve parking passes. Packages start at $250 per person and rise to $350 for Club-level seats at midfield. Top-Priced Package purchasers will also get a special Pre-game Sideline Pass. After the game, Operation Liberty Welcomes will present a free Liberty Rocks Concert sponsored by AT&T, featuring country music star Steve Cochran, a former Marine and Wounded Warrior.

To secure Hospitality Package Tickets and get more information call 1-888-332-CLUB. Special Code: Military Marketing.

For hotel rooms in Phily on Friday or Saturday night, call 1-877-643-0047 or visit More

Some JFCOM jobs may stay
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
After meeting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other high-ranking defense officials, Virginia's governor and members of Congress expressed cautious optimism that parts of Joint Forces Command will remain in Hampton Roads or be replaced by other military commands. Gov. Bob McDonnell said Gates remains committed to cutting costs at JFCOM and reducing the use of defense support contractors but has agreed to have representatives of the region, primarily retired military officers, consult with defense officials as they draft plans. "The Secretary acknowledged today that even after JFCOM is gone, those functions determined to be of importance and retained will likely remain in the Norfolk and Suffolk area," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said in a statement.More