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Former President's Choice EVP inducted into Private Label Hall of Fame

PLMA celebrated five new members at an industry event last month

Tom Stephens, founder of Brand Strategy Consultants and former EVP of President’s Choice International, was inducted into the Private Label Hall of Fame last month during a breakfast at the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s (PLMA) Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Stephens was inducted alongside Prem Virmani (Cott Beverages USA), Greg Baskin (Hormel Foods ), Lori Latta (Trader Joe’s) and David Glass (former Walmart CEO). Together, they join the 55 executives who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since its establishment in 2006.

In nominating Stephens for the Hall of Fame, store brands consultant Jim Wisner noted that Stephens is the industry individual who would elicit the most “I can’t believe he already isn’t in the hall of fame” comments from those familiar with Stephens and his accomplishments in the store brands industry.

“He may have done more to singlehandedly move the needle forward for the store brands industry than anyone else,” Wisner, president of Wisner Marketing Group, said on the nomination form.

During his near 50-year career, Stephens has had several milestones, including developing and bringing Canadian retailer Loblaws’ lauded President’s Choice private brand to the United States in the early 1990s. Stephens, who spent seven years as executive vice president of President’s Choice International, introduced the Loblaws’ brand in 16 retail chains with more than 2,000 stores in 36 states, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter and D'Agostino Supermarkets.

“There were some really great chains that took the President’s Choice program and embraced it,” Stephens says.

Since founding Brand Strategy Consultants in 1994, Stephens has advised store brand retailers and manufacturers in the U.S., Italy, Britain, Holland, the Caribbean, Australia, South Africa and South Korea.

“Tom became the evangelist who marketed the concept of premium private label to supermarket chains throughout the U.S.,” Sharoff said when inducting Stephens. “With his own company, Brand Strategy Consultants, he has been a tireless advocate for store brands, advising retailers and suppliers on five continents.”

A version of this article appeared at

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