By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor
In February, Anne Flint became the director of category management —tobacco for Cumberland Farms after 16 years managing the tobacco category for the Westborough, Mass.-based chain of 560 stores, first as a buyer progressing to her current position as director.
During her time managing tobacco she has participated in numerous panels and currently sits on Retail Councils for Altria, Scandinavian Tobacco and Logic. Flint has won numerous awards for her work including the NATO Pinnacle Award and the New England Convenience Store Association Legislative Service Award.
She has been a NATO (National Association of Tobacco Outlets) Board Member since 2010 and is currently serving as vice president. She also sits on the legislative committees of the New York Association of Convenience Stores and the New England Convenience Stores & Energy Marketers Association.
Over the years, Flint has represented Cumberland Farms at many high-level national events pertaining to tobacco.
“In 2011, I was chosen to sit on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products, Stakeholder Panel (led by Dr. Lawrence Deyton—then director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Control) where I participated in discussions pertaining to FDA compliance and enforcement. I was also chosen to be a consultant for the FDA website construction from the retailer perspective.”
For her vast experience and commitment to leadership in the tobacco category, CSD is recognizing Flint for her leadership in category management.
PATH TO SUCCESS
Flint graduated from Bryant University with a degree in accounting and began a fulltime position with Almacs Supermarkets in Rhode Island, progressing through many corporate roles including loss prevention, real estate and category management.
In 1995, Flint began working for Cumberland Farms in the Corporate Auditing Department and later transferred to marketing. She became a buyer for the tobacco category in 2000 when the Master Settlement Agreement was just coming into play.
Being both a wholesaler (self-distributing) and a retailer, the Cumberland Farms Tobacco group is responsible for ordering all the tobacco products along with the distribution, pricing, displaying and maintaining of inventory. As director of category management for tobacco, Flint’s responsibilities also include the negotiation and execution of tobacco contracts and being involved legislatively.
“In addition to managing this important category from my office, I have learned by spending time in the field, by testifying in front of town and state lawmakers and by becoming active in industry organizations,” said Flint.
Under Flint’s leadership, Cumberland Farms joined NATO. “I have found one of the most beneficial aspects of NATO membership to be the ability to call NATO staff members and get a clear, concise answer to a question about tobacco legislation or what a FDA regulation means, and usually the answer is immediate,” she said. “NATO fights for retailers and helps them take a stand against legislation that could be devastating to their business.”
As the vice president for NATO, Flint has worked with government regulators and agencies to assure Cumberland Farms is doing the “right thing” for customers, and that its views are well received and understood by all stake holders.
FACING THE FUTURE
The ability to innovate and be creative, the relationships she has forged and helping others develop and grow are the aspects of her career Flint finds most rewarding.
“Cumberland Farms has afforded me the opportunity to plot a strategic course in reference to tobacco—we have our own control label for example—and I enjoy being able to lead trends in our market,” Flint said.
With a number of stores in Massachusetts, Cumberland Farms continues to face regulations “that have been considered by more than 100 local boards of health throughout the state” from cigar package size requirements and minimum prices on cigars to flavored tobacco bans and moving the legal tobacco purchase age to 21.
“The real battleground over the sale of tobacco has shifted to the local level and retailers all across the country need to get involved and fight these unfair restrictions,” she said.