Alliance Marketing announces new executive team

Independent grocers

Illustration courtesy: ARG

The board of Alliance Marketing LLC has selected a new lineup of executive directors for Alliance Retail Group (ARG), the Hendersonville, Tennessee-based self-negotiating retail ad group announced on Wednesday.

“The board is excited to work with a team that will continue to help independent operators thrive in the highly competitive grocery business,” ARG said in a statement.

The team includes:

  • Greg Rush, chairman of the board for Alliance Marketing, LLC. Rush has served as VP of merchandising and CMO for Houchens Food Group, Inc. since October 2021. He previously held roles of increasing responsibility in distribution, logistics, finance and merchandising with Dollar General Corporation from September 1993–2009. Rush has been a member of the Alliance Marketing board of directors since 2018 and serves on the board of directors for International Grocers Alliance, USA. He also serves on the board of directors for the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association.
  • Jena Sowers, CEO of Alliance Marketing, LLC. Sowers most recently served as executive VP of iPro Systems and has been with the organization since March of 2020. With more than 20 years of experience in the grocery industry, the majority of her career was with Kraft Heinz serving independent retailers. She has served on multiple leadership committees including the National Grocers Association (NGA) where she recently lobbied in Washington, DC for fair trade. Pairing her distinctive customer experience with her knowledge of the CPG industry, and the technical solutions she and her team are delivering for independent retailers, “allows her to think holistically and strategically about the solutions needed to level the playing field. She has a passion for independent retailers, their families, and the communities they serve,” ARG said in a statement.
  • Michael Donkin, president of Alliance Retail Group. Donkin has been with Alliance Retail Group for 12 years, most recently as COO. He has more than 25 years in the independent grocery industry, serving much of this time at the retail and wholesale levels. Donkin serves on the board of directors at the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association and “enjoys the challenge of rapid growth within the marketplace and serves the ARG mission of profitable success and driving sales for the independent grocer,” ARG said in a statement.
  • Mike Bokarae, president of Alliance Data Management & A2 Advertising. Bokarae has been with Alliance Marketing since 2020, most recently as chief development officer. He has more than 30 years of experience working in the independent grocery industry, including 25 years with Kraft Heinz as VP focused on serving independent grocers. Mike’s mission is to “ensure independent retailers have the most cutting-edge technology and marketing services available,” ARG said in a statement.

Earlier this month it was announced ARG has partnered with Swiftly and Skupos to increase the digital presence of independent grocers. The launch of Swiftly’s much-requested small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) platform, enables 15,000 SMBs to compete with e-commerce and retail giants, Skupos said in a statement earlier this month.

“Our partnership with Swiftly is the answer our independent retailers need to boost their digital presence and level the competition in an increasingly challenging retail market. In partnership with Swiftly, we are putting our independent grocers on a level playing field with companies like Kroger and Walmart, so that they can own their digital customer relationships and capture valuable digital advertising revenue streams,” said Bokarae in a statement. “With industry consolidation on the horizon, time is of the essence. Our independent grocers can now leverage their advantages in speed and nimbleness and the power of the network that Swiftly and ARG represent to outmaneuver the competition.”

ARG is one of the largest self-negotiating grocery ad groups in the United States. As a cooperative, ARG negotiates with trade partners to give retailers the power of a big box banner with the freedom of an independent grocer.