- The Fresh Market has named hospitality industry executive Carlos Clark as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, according to a press release.
- Clark’s appointment to the grocery chain’s executive team represents his first position in the food retailing industry after serving as vice president, corporate and securities and assistant corporate secretary of Wyndham Destinations, a vacation ownership and exchange company. Previously, he served as associate general counsel and assistant corporate secretary of theme park operator SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
- The Fresh Market’s decision to bring Clark on board follows the company’s hiring in September of cruise line veteran Jim Heaney as chief financial officer.
Clark’s arrival at The Fresh Market comes as the company continues its efforts to shift course during a turbulent year for specialty grocers. The company, a 159-store chain that operates in 22 states, had overhauled its management team after slowing its growth and closing some locations — changes that followed a fast-paced expansion.
Clark will report to Jason Potter, who became the company’s CEO in March following the resignation of Larry Appel, who had served as chief executive officer for just over 2 years. In the months following Appel’s appointment, The Fresh Market also brought on a new chief marketing officer and hired a new senior vice president of store operations. Unlike Clark, who is new to food retailing, those two executives came from positions within the grocery industry.
Like other grocery chains that have sought to stand out by focusing on natural foods, The Fresh Market ran into headwinds as conventional grocery stores invested in premium products aimed at shoppers looking for organic and gourmet items. The company, which was sold to private equity firm Apollo Global Management in 2016, has had to deal with stiff competition on the pricing front, leading it to place renewed emphasis on the fresh and gourmet options that defined the chain when it began operations in 1982.
The Fresh Market has fared better than rivals like Lucky’s Market and Earth Fare, both of which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year after their expansion efforts proved too stressful to their finances. While Lucky’s disappeared as its stores were dispersed to buyers like Winn-Dixie, however, Earth Fare has reemerged under new ownership.