Emily Coborn’s passion for her job is obvious when she begins talking about Coborn’s Inc., the St. Cloud, Minn.-based grocery chain her family has run for five generations.
Daughter of president and CEO Chris Coborn, Emily Coborn graduated from the College of Saint Benedict.
“I had a wonderful experience at St. Ben’s,” she said.
“The value of a liberal arts education was very valuable for me. It taught me how to be a critical thinker, rather than being put into a discipline focus, and for me, having that broad and critical thinking has been helpful in every area of my life, including business.”
After time at Topco and Supervalu, Coborn interviewed for a position as communications manager at Coborn’s Inc.
“That was really appealing to me, as it was my area of study and I’d always wanted to get back to Coborn’s. I interviewed for that position and I got it,” she said.
Coborn’s desire to be in a position of leadership sent her back to business school, where she earned her Master of Business Administration.
“It’s allowed me to reach higher levels of the company. I worked as a district manager, which would not have been possible without the MBA,” she said.
These days, she is vice president of fresh merchandising, where she oversees produce, deli, meat and seafood, and bakery departments. Her coworkers see it as a perfect fit.
“Emily is very health conscious, and she has been very innovative in working to bring registered dietitians to our stores,” said Dennis Host, vice president of marketing for Coborn’s Inc.
“She’s always very conscientious of health and wellness for our guests, and that is one of our brand promises.”
“Emily is passionate about flavor, taste, innovation, staying ahead of trends and taking care of our guests,” said Tom Williams, director of produce and floral for Coborn’s Inc.
“Applying that to the produce industry helps us to be relevant and to increase fresh produce sales and consumption.”
Those initiatives and innovations bring out her enthusiasm.
“We have so many initiatives I’m excited about!” Coborn said.
“We’re in the middle of launching our customer loyalty program, called Coborn rewards,” she said.
“I’m very excited about that program. It delivers savings on gas and fuel for our customers as well as sends them personalized offers that have value to each consumer.”
Coborn’s also launched its next generation store format, which it unveiled in August.
“She has a lot of big visions for as new as she is in her role, and as young as she is,” Host said.
“She’s taken a lead role in our next generation store. She drove our new presentations in deli, meat and produce.”
“We invested in the fresh department. Our produce department looks like a farmers market and offers chopping of fresh fruits and vegetables,” Coborn said.
“Guests can pick up anything off the floor and our Chop Shop employees will slice or dice or chop it how they want it. For our guests that are focusing on health, we’ve added dietitians to these stores and others.”
Coborn’s devotion to her company and customers is apparent.
“We feel a huge responsibility to have a remarkable experience every time they’re shopping our stores. It’s important to us that we create an environment where customers trust the quality of the food they are buying from us,” she said.