The Idaho Potato Commission has hired Mike Krage as its Northeast and Midwest retail promotion director.

The Champaign, Ill.-based Krage replaces Dave Rhodes, the commission announced.

Rhodes took a position as director of produce and floral for Fresh Encounter, a 59-store chain in Indiana and Ohio.

Krage brings more than 30 years of retail and wholesale produce industry experience to the commission. He will use category management, promotions and other marketing support tools to help buyer clients increase profit.

He honed his produce expertise working with grocery companies such as Supervalu-United Natural Foods Inc., Winn-Dixie and Albertsons. His experience encompasses operations, sales, merchandising, category management and other areas. He was one of the first board members of the Southeast Produce Council, founded 20 years ago, and was on the retail board of directors of United Fresh.

“I’ve worked closely with IPC as a retailer over the last 20 years, and I’ve always valued their insights about what’s going on within that category,” Krage said. “I’m a big fan of using data, and IPC has some strong category data available by retailer and by region. I’m looking forward to sharing how category data can really help drive good decisions for assortment, pricing, promotion and merchandising.”

IPC Retail and International Vice President Seth Pemsler said Krage “knows the produce industry from grower to end user, so he is able to hit the ground running with all the outstanding resources of the Idaho Potato Commission. I know our customers are going to enjoy working with him.”

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