JOB FILLED - Category Manager

Job Description: 

Are you looking for a unique opportunity to blend your knowledge of food, data, trends, and the retail grocery industry? Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA) is growing and seeking a Category Manager for our team!  

At INFRA, our mission is to strengthen our members through collaboration to forge a sustainable future. INFRA builds strategic alignment among its 280+ members to strengthen our position in the natural foods industry with purchasing power, marketing, programs, tools, training, events, and more. We work together. Leading the movement. Driving the industry. Feeding the community.   

As a Category Manager, you will be responsible for delivering quality promotional and category programs to our independent retail member stores. You will influence the partners we work with, products our members have access to, and ultimately benefit customers who align with our mission. A successful Category Manager must have experience in understanding consumer needs, the retail environment, marketing, and sales principles. If you love partnering with others, planning, spreadsheets, insights, and data analysis, let’s talk! 

What you will own and improve: 

  • Brand portfolio and relationship management

    • Manage assigned categories using all available resources, including analysis of both internal and syndicated data, (validated) manufacturer input and expertise, commodity reports, trade/industry news, consumer trends and customer feedback. Measure results and adjust plans as needed. 
    • Proactively manage the merchandising strategy for assigned categories, to include product assortment, pricing strategy, promotional activity.
    • Increase first to market opportunities within member stores. 
  • Promotional plan success

    • Negotiate and confirm INFRA Deals contracts with brokers and vendors. Follow up on details, contract pricing, and discounts. 
    • Actively participate in promotional planning process, including vendor marketing campaigns in collaboration with vendors and marketing. 
    • Negotiate annual EDLP program with brokers and manufacturers in assigned categories. 
    • Present and promote assigned category brands to member stores in collaboration with stakeholders, including distributors, vendors, INFRA staff, and/or Marketing. 
  • Trends & data analysis

    • Use SPINS data to drive promotional decisions. 
    • Review participation and sales by Distribution Center (DC) location, use insights to inform INFRA decisions, promotions decisions, vendor conversations, and member recommendations.  
    • Measure sales performance, item performance within category, and overall vendor funds management performance. 
    • Provide members with tools and information to increase sales in assigned categories. 
    • Continually derive new insights to deliver as compelling, data-driven storytelling.
  • Distribution & broker relationship management

    • Inspire others by connecting the vendor, broker, distribution, INFRA, and member voices. 
    • Maintain and improve stakeholder relationships and engagement through effective internal and external communication. 
    • Advocate for vendor and member needs and assist problem resolution with distribution.
  • Vendor growth opportunity

    • Develop and support category reviews (including insights and trends), member education and training programs, and future promotional opportunities in partnership with INFRA Staff. 
    • Develop and support, in partnership with INFRA staff, relationships with other industry alliances to support market opportunities in assigned categories (i.e. Fair Trade, OTA, NPA) 

What you already know: 

  • Experience working with distribution, brokers, or retailers in the grocery, natural foods, or equivalent industry required  
  • 2-4 years purchasing and/or category management experience required 
  • Digitally savvy, including familiarity with a variety of project management tools, relationship-focused business technology systems, analytics tools, and CRMs. 
  • Enjoy deriving insights from data and using them for smart decision making. 
  • Knowledgeable of SPINS, category management, and pricing strategies and processes. 
  • Able to manage and effectively prioritize multiple projects and deadlines while consistently delivering high quality results.    
  • Leadership acumen, including leading through influence. 
  • Versatile understanding of how to engage others using a consulting mindset, including facilitation of large meetings, navigating effectively through complex issues, and developing sound recommendations based on effective research. 
  • Able to establish great working relationships and communicate effectively with any audience, including confident communication and presentation skills. 

What you will learn: 

  • How to effectively collaborate to drive change with INFRA, our members, and our partners. 
  • How to gain a deep understanding of INFRA’s unique position within the food industry and lead through influence to create positive outcomes. 
  • How to align INFRAs business model with consumer behavior. 
  • How to support members within the intricacies of the natural food industry and understand the intersections of manufacturing, distribution, and retail. 

*Travel up to 10% is required for this position, when deemed safe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
*This role is remote during the COVID-19 pandemic. When safe, this role is located out of our St. Paul MN office. 

If this sounds energizing to you, please submit your resume and cover letter! 

INFRA is committed to creating an inclusive workplace. We know that diversity of identities, experiences, and ways of thinking result in stronger lives for all our members and the communities we serve. Research shows that underrepresented communities such as people of color, women, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities may be less confident in applying for positions where as little as one skill doesn’t appear to fit – we welcome your resume and encourage you to apply. 

INFRA is a mission-driven organization that strongly believes in rightful living. We provide a full suite of employee benefits including paid vacation and sick time; health, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance; a health savings account; a 401(k) retirement plan; and time in person with our teams and members! 

Confidential Job: 
Last Resume Date: 
Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 10:25pm