September 28, 1964
58 Years Old
|Occupation||Chairman and CEO of Brown's Super Stores, Inc|
Jeff Brown (born September 28, 1964) is a fourth-generation grocer from Philadelphia. He is the founder and previously served as Chairman and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, Inc., which has ten ShopRite supermarkets and two The Fresh Grocer supermarkets. Brown is widely known for opening supermarkets in food deserts, areas with limited access to affordable and healthy food. Brown announced on November 16, 2022, that he is running for Mayor of Philadelphia.
Early Life and Education
Jeff Brown graduated from Babson College in 1986 and was named to their Hall of Fame in 2012. Brown is married to Sandy Brown and they have four sons: Josh Brown, Alex Brown, Lenny Brown, and Scott Brown. Sandy is the Executive Vice President of Brown’s Super Stores and Josh is the Chief Financial Officer.
Brown grew up going to work with his father at the grocery stores he owned and operated. In December 1988, Brown opened his first store, taking over a ShopRite in Philadelphia’s Roxborough neighborhood. As of 2022, Brown’s Super Stores consist of 10 ShopRite Supermarkets and two Fresh Grocers (ShopRite of Roxborough, ShopRite of Parkside, ShopRite of Oregon Avenue, ShopRite of Island Avenue, ShopRite of Fox Street, ShopRite of Fairless Hills, ShopRite of East Norriton, ShopRite of Cheltenham, ShopRite of Brooklawn, ShopRite of Bensalem, Fresh Grocer of Wyncote, and Fresh Grocer of Monument Road.) All of the stores are part of Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States.
Jeff Brown’s Super Stores’ mission is “to bring joy to the lives of the people we serve.” Its four brand attributes are authentic products, affordability, community responsibility, and an enjoyable shopping experience. And its four core values are to seek understanding, be flexible, show respect, and act responsibly. Brown’s Super Stores are unionized and always have been, just as Brown’s father’s stores were. The main unions at Brown’s supermarkets are United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 1776, 152, and 1360.
Six of Brown’s stores are located in areas that previously were food deserts. These are often underinvested, low-income communities and communities of color that retailers have fled or avoided. These neighborhoods tend to have higher rates of diet-related health problems like obesity and diabetes. Brown viewed food deserts as a financial issue, determining that a lack of products reflecting the communities they served caused other businesses to fail. Noting the community members’ diversity, religion, and heritage, Brown works to adjust the store’s offerings to reflect local needs, such as halal products and African food staples.
Former President Barack Obama took notice of Brown’s work in food deserts while on the campaign trail in 2008. Brown went on to advise the president and the first lady, “including inspiring her legacy “Let’s Move!” program to combat obesity” and serving as an adviser to the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. In 2010 Brown was one of Michelle Obama’s guests at the State of the Union, where President Obama highlighted Brown’s work as “an example of how forward-thinking public/private partnerships can lift up indigent communities.”
Before opening the ShopRite of Parkside in 2008, Jeff Brown held a town hall meeting where a community member urged him to hire returning citizens. She explained that a lot of members of the store’s West Philly neighborhood had criminal records and could not be good customers if they couldn’t work. Brown made an attempt at solving the problem, hiring six returning citizens as a trial run and finding success. As of 2020, approximately 700 of Brown’s 2,500-person workforce are returning citizens.
In 2009, Jeff and Sandy founded a non-profit organization called Uplift Solutions, which provides workforce training to returning citizens through a program called Workforce Solutions.
PA 30-Day Fund
Jeff Brown is one of the founders of the PA 30-Day Find, which was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide up to $3,000 in forgivable loans to small businesses that were ineligible for federal, state, and city relief funds. The fund primarily helps urban minority- and women-owned businesses. Other founders include Jeff Bartos and Richard Phillips. By the summer of 2020, the fund had raised about $2.5 million and awarded over 550 loans.
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