Peppard, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who has more than 20 years experience in the grocery industry, will take over as CEO of the 95-year-old company, which sells prepared foods, sandwiches, artisan cheeses, specialty groceries, wine and authentic Italian products. Recently, Peppard led the strategic development and planning for Safeway’s bakery, deli and prepared foods departments nationwide and helped to revive San Francisco brand Just Desserts.
“As we are working today to define exactly how to position A.G. for success in the future, I have sort of a timeline in mind for a vision,” Peppard said. “We want to have a successful business in four years” -- in time for the company’s 100th birthday.
To do that, the company -- which was acquired in September by San Francisco-based food and beverage investment firm Murano Group -- has plans to expand its wholesale, e-commerce and catering businesses, said Murano Group CEO and founder Jay Thomson.
“We saw A.G. Ferrari as a brand with room to grow and a lot of legs for expanding retail and its wholesale and online (components),” Thomson said. “It’s a relevant, local Bay Area brand, but we think we can update it, make it more modern to younger consumers.”
The food retailer will also move from its San Leandro base to a new home next month, a 17,000-square-foot industrial building in Alameda, which it bought in November for $1.78 million. The building will house the company’s office headquarters, warehouse space and a commercial kitchen for producing fresh food daily. The stores themselves will also get an aesthetic refresh with new paint, floors and a new color scheme.
A.G. Ferrari was family-owned for three generations but declared bankruptcy in 2011. It was subsequently bought by Dallas-based private equity firm Renovo Capital, which also bought Andronico’s markets. When plans to join the two food retailers fell apart, Murano Group stepped in to buy A.G. Ferrari.