Milwaukee-based Outpost Natural Foods
has named Ray Simpkins
as its next general manager.
Simpkins, who has more than 20 years of store management experience, will take over for longtime GM Pam Mehnert
, who retires in June
after 42 years with the co-op.
“After a nationwide search, we are thrilled to have found a general manager who brings such a rich background and extensive experience in grocery retail,” Ashley Fisher, president of Outpost’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Ray is an energetic team leader with a passion for customer service. We’re excited to watch him excel at Outpost.”
Simpkins will move to Milwaukee from Columbus, Ohio, where he most recently served as district manager for Dollar General. Prior to that, he was store director for Fresh Thyme Market, where he helped lead the brand's launch in the local market and store construction.
In his new role at Outpost, Simpkins will take the helm during "a time of renewed growth amidst a crowded retail food marketplace," the company said in news release. His start date is May 22.
“I can’t wait to move to Milwaukee and meet Outpost employees, owners, shoppers and community partners,” Simpkins said. “Together, we’ll continue to create healthy, diverse, and sustainable communities by offering the area’s largest selection of regionally and locally sourced organic products, all within an engaging consumer experience.”
Outpost was founded in 1970. Mehnert
has served as GM since 1987, having first joined the local food cooperative in 1980. During her tenure, Mehnert led the co-op’s expansion from a $2 million business with a single location to a $50 million, multi-store operation.
Today, with four retail stores in Milwaukee, Mequon and Wauwatosa, Outpost is one of the larger multi-store retail food cooperatives in the U.S., co-owned by more than 22,200 customers across southeastern Wisconsin and employing nearly 360 people represented by UFCW Local 1473
[caption id="attachment_503550" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]
Pam Mehnert, outgoing general manager of Outpost Natural Foods.
Credit: Andrew Feller[/caption]