Sprouts Farmers Market has a new chief marketing officer. The specialty grocery chain announced Thursday it has hired Alisa Gmelich, who has extensive marketing experience for food brands and restaurant chains, to fill the role and also serve as a senior vice president.
Gmelich started in her new role on Monday.
She takes over an executive role last held by Gil Phipps, the former head of private brands for Kroger who served as Sprouts’ CMO from April 2020 until February of this year, when the company disclosed that he had been reassigned to the role of senior marketing advisor. Phipps left Sprouts in May.
Gmelich brings more than 25 years of experience in brand development, marketing strategy and customer loyalty to the grocer, having served in top marketing roles for major restaurant chains including IHOP and Burger King. While at IHOP, Gmelich led its customer growth strategy, national programs and menu innovation, Sprouts noted.
Most recently, Gmelich was chief brand officer of Auntie Anne’s, a franchised chain of pretzel shops.
In the new role for the grocer, Gmelich is overseeing the company’s marketing, advertising and customer engagement work. Gmelich reports to Sprouts President and Chief Operating Officer Nick Konat.
Gmelich’s hiring comes at a time when Sprouts is working to stand out against conventional grocers — a challenge shared by a number of specialty grocers as many traditional grocers expand their focus on fresh foods, healthy offerings and product innovation.