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  • Express Checkout #58 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm

Express Checkout #58 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm

Commerce and CPG news from the week of 1/22/24

Hello hello!

I don’t know about you, but last week the vibes were off. But I’m going into this week with good energy! LET’S GET IT!

This week I was playing around with some AI generated images, honestly it’s a blast. What should I make this week??

This weeks sponsor is a real flashback from my childhood, brought back to life by the OG founders! I used to go WEEKLY to grab a delicious, giant cupcake from our local store.

Mia & Jason Bauer, the original founders of CRUMBS BAKESHOP, are back and relaunching their iconic brand that pioneered the gourmet cupcake in 2003 and ushered in the cupcake craze around the globe. In their first store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan CRUMBS introduced a line of gourmet cupcakes the likes of which no one had ever seen. Combining fillings, their famous cream cheese frosting, mix-ins, and every combination of topping imaginable, CRUMBS cupcakes quickly became the talk of the town. It didn’t take long for dessert lovers everywhere to fall in love with CRUMBS cupcakes. At their height, CRUMBS was selling more than one million cupcakes every month. After an incredible ten years, Mia & Jason sold the business in 2012.

When an opportunity presented itself to recapture and relaunch the brand 10 years later, they didn’t hesitate. The Bauer’s knew CRUMBS fans (like myself) would rejoice at the chance to enjoy their beloved cupcakes once again, along with a delicious new line of cookie jars inspired by CRUMBS cupcakes.

The cookies are delicious btw

Launched in 2023, fans can find the cookie jars in over 800 stores in the NY Metro Market and most recently in Giant Eagle stores with national expansion planned for 2024 and beyond!


I have a ton of events happening this year and you can find them all here!!

🏃 NYC Run Club 🏃 

Every Wednesday morning, Lisa Popovici (Siena.ai) and I will be running from 8am - 9am - sign up here

🚨Austin, TX friends! 🚨

I’m co-hosting an event on Tuesday, February 06, 2024 in your city with the wonderful Jess Cervellon and Ben Hindman of Peel Insights & Magic Dash. SIGN UP HERE - https://dillo.splashthat.com/

(if you want to sponsor any event or send samples email me!!)

(If you’re reading this email in gmail it might get clipped! You can always view full issues here.)

🔥 Big News - 10 items or less 🔥

  • Don’t forget your lip balm - Private equity firm Yellow Wood Partners is acquiring ChapStick for $430 million from consumer health company Haleon (owner of Tums, Sensodyne, and Emergen-C). Yellow Wood Partners has been actively acquiring brands, including the Elida portfolio from Unilever and the Suave business in North America. (source)

  • eCommerce giant makes layoff - eBay is laying off around 1,000 workers, or around 9% of its full-time employees. Despite reporting a profit of $1.3 billion last quarter, eBay states that its overall headcount and expenses have outpaced the growth of its business. (source)

  • PayPal makes (eh) updates - The six new innovations introduced by PayPal and Venmo (source):

    1. A speedier checkout experience

    2. Fastlane by PayPal: A one-click guest checkout experience (wow, so revolutionary…..)

    3. Smart Receipts: Customers receive personalized recommendations from merchants on their receipt

    4. Advanced offers platform

    5. Updated PayPal app

    6. Enhanced business profiles for small businesses on Venmo

🗞️ News from the week (1/22/24 - 1/28/24)

🛍 Retail

  • Neighborhood Goods, retailer that sells DTC brands, has closed or will be closing all of its locations, including the Austin location on South Congress (source)

  • REI Co-op has announced layoffs of 357 employees. The cuts make up 2.2% of REI's total workforce. They retailer recently announced they had plans to open 10 stores in 2024, so far that seems to be unaffected. (source)

  • Wawa is set to open its first drive-thru locations using modular construction methods. This new building program aims to expedite the building process and is part of Wawa's expansion plans to nearly 2x its store count by 2030 and enter 7 new states. (source)

  • Buc-ee's has received approval to rezone a 71-acre property in Arizona, as it plans to build its first travel center in the state. The 75,000-square-foot store will feature 713 parking spots…my god. (source)

  • The National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against Trader Joe's after employees at a New York City store filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge. The complaint alleges that the store closed its wine shop due to unionization efforts by employees and outlines incidents that occurred in July and August 2022. (source)

  • Fresh Thyme Market is partnering with Naturally Chicago to feature products made by local companies. The grocer carries over 6,000 local products chainwide and recently held a pitch competition in Chicago to bring new local vendors to its shelves. (source)

    • If you are in CPG and haven’t checked out your local Naturally Network chapter you should! They’re an amazing group.

  • Target is doubling down on wellness and introducing over 1,000 new wellness-related products starting at $1.99. The assortment includes apparel, accessories, supplements, vitamins, and tech. Target aims to provide a one-stop-shop for guests to discover new products. The retailer has also launched an online wellness destination with ideas, products, and meal inspiration. (source)

🛒 CPG & Consumer Goods

  • Actor Owen Wilson has become an investor and "Chief Shampoo Officer" for hair and body care brand California Naturals. The brand, which sells its products at Target and DTC, experienced significant sales growth in 2023. (source)

  • Pamela Anderson has joined Sonsie Skin, a minimalist skincare brand, as co-founder and owner. Sonsie Skin offers vegan, clean, and cruelty-free products. (source)

  • Gen Z YouTuber Nicolas Sturniolo has launched Space Camp Wellness, a new lip balm brand. (source)

  • A mattress company, in 2024?! Boring Mattress Co, is a new startup founded by the co-founders of Tuft & Needle, aims to simplify the mattress industry by offering a no-frills shopping experience. (source)

  • J.M. Smucker has discontinued the Knott's Berry Farm brand, known for its jams and cookies, as part of its strategy to focus on areas with greater growth potential. The brand, which traces its roots back to 1923, was sold to Smucker in 2008. (source)

  • Oatly, the world's largest oatmilk company, has announced a national partnership with Carvel ice cream shop. Oatly's non-dairy frozen desserts, including soft serve, scooped flavors, and frozen dessert cakes, are now available at nearly 300 Carvel locations across 18 states in the U.S. (source)

  • Mortal has become the first kombucha brand in the world to package its product in 16oz aluminum bottles. (source)

  • The blender war rages on! Our Place has launched the new Splendor Blender, which promises to make smoothies in just 45 seconds. It joins the cookware brands expansion into more traditional kitchen appliances. (source)

💻️ eCommerce

  • Etsy has launched "Gift Mode," an AI-powered feature that generates personalized gift guides based on specific preferences. (source)

🏭 Supply Chain

  • FedEx has announced that it will restore money-back guarantees for its 2nd-day morning air service in the domestic U.S., following the lead of rival UPS. Both carriers had suspended money-back guarantees during the pandemic. (source)

  • Global supply chain solutions provider Flexport is reportedly considering a workforce reduction of approximately 20%, potentially affecting close to 500 employees. This comes after previous rounds of layoffs in 2023. Flexport recently secured a $260 million investment from Shopify, following their acquisition of Shopify's logistics arm. (source)

  • Phononic, a leader in solid state cooling, and ShopRite have launched the 2nd gen ACS Freezer and Refrigerator Totes from Phononic used to pick, store, and stage online orders, providing space savings and increased efficiency. The totes operate without traditional refrigerants, making them more sustainable and cost-effective. ShopRite is the first grocer in the nation to implement this technology. (source)

  • Mars, Inc have announced a new $237 million baking facility for Nature's Bakery in Salt Lake City, Utah. The facility, scheduled to be fully operational in July 2025. (source)

💸 Funding news

  • Bridgepoint Europe VII is acquiring RoC Skincare, an iconic skincare brand, from Gryphon Investors. (source)

  • Jupiter, a scalp and hair brand, has secured $3 million in funding in an emerging growth round led by Willow Growth Partners. (source)

  • Australian sun care brand Ultra Violette, backed by Aria Growth Partners, is planning to expand into North America. With a recent investment of around $10 million, Ultra Violette aims to launch in Sephora Canada in March and expects to enter retail in the United States within the next 12 to 18 months.(source)

  • Saco Foods, a branded food products company, has announced the acquisition of Solo Foods, a 100 year old specialty baking ingredient brand. (source)

  • Kiefa, a cannabis SaaS platform based in NYC, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Bienville with participation from Alaris Capital. (source)

  • Bloomreach, an e-commerce personalization platform, has acquired Radiance Commerce, an enterprise-grade conversational commerce platform. The deal amount was not disclosed.(source)

  • Elo Life Systems, a food and ingredient company based in Durham, NC, has raised $20.5 million in Series A2 funding. The funding round was led by DCVC Bio and Novo Holdings. (source)

  • Nashville-based e-commerce channel management platform, Krepling, has raised $3.3 million in seed funding led by Launch, Brickyard, Front Porch Ventures, 11 Tribes Ventures, Colabora Ventures, and Broadshade Investments. (source)

🧐 Interesting reads

💡 Data, reports, and trends

👋 Just a couple asks

  • If you’re angel investing into CPG, let me know! Along with my brand, I have deals to share!

  • Interested in working with me - partnership, consulting, etc. Fill this form out!

  • Subscribe to my other publication, Shops Around The Corner!

  • And follow me on TikTok! I’m starting to create much more content 🙂 https://www.tiktok.com/@nate.rosen

Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions, feedback, or stories I missed, let me know!

Nate :)

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Brought to you by CRUMBS Original Bakeshop

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