- Cardenas Markets has promoted Eric Stover to the CEO role, according to a Wednesday announcement.
- Stover, who most recently served as the grocer’s chief merchandising officer, joined Cardenas in March 2020.
- Stover brings more than 35 years of food industry experience, including positions at both grocers and wholesalers, to the top role at one of the largest Hispanic grocery chains in the U.S.
Stover is stepping into the role earlier held by Doug Sanders, who became chairman and CEO of parent company Heritage Grocers Group following Apollo Funds combining Cardenas with Tony’s Fresh Market.
When Apollo Funds announced last June the plans to combine Tony’s and Cardenas, the private equity firm said that the grocers would continue operating under their existing brands and leadership, noting that both could expect to benefit from improved economies of scale. Frank Ingraffia remained the CEO of Tony’s, while Sanders became CEO of the combined companies.
Now, Stover is stepping into the top spot at Cardenas and will report directly to Sanders, per the announcement.
“Serving as Chief Merchandising Officer for Cardenas since 2020, [Stover] led multiple, successful initiatives focused on meeting and expanding our customer’s evolving food preferences while optimizing their shopping experiences, both in-store and online,” Sanders said in the press release.
Stover currently serves on the board of directors for the Western Association of Food Chains and sits on the Food Industry Round Table for Olive Crest, per the announcement.
Prior to Cardenas, Stover was chief operating officer at Healthy Edge Retail Group, which operates health food stores, per his LinkedIn profile. Before that, Stover was a division manager at United Natural Foods, Inc. and vice president of non-perishables as well as division vice president at Sprouts Farmers Market. Stover also held positions at KeHE, Henry's Farmers Market and Wild Oats.
Sanders said that Stover’s promotion supports the company’s strategy and overall growth plan.
“Eric is a strong leader with extensive experience and vision, and I am confident that he will do an excellent job leading the exceptional team at Cardenas Markets,” Sanders said.
With Stover taking the top role at Cardenas, Sanders will spend more time executing the company’s expansion strategy across the Heritage Grocers Group’s portfolio of companies, which includes 57 Cardenas stores and the seven stores under its Los Altos Ranch Market banner, as well as 20 stores under the Tony’s Fresh Market banner, per the announcement.
Right before the merger announcement last June, Cardenas announced plans to expand its Southern California footprint by acquiring six Rio Ranch Market stores.
In September, Cardenas joined a small cohort of retailers that have delivery service arrangements with Amazon.