KANSAS CITY, MO. — Empower Fresh, which specializes in cloud-based software for the produce industry, has appointed Robert Austin vice president of sales. 

According to Empower Fresh, Austin’s background aligns with both the company’s vision and founder Anthony Totta’s family legacy in the Greater Kansas City’s retail space. His experience includes produce retailing, wholesaling, brokerage and information technology.

Austin challenged the idea that losses are inevitable due to the current issues retail produce departments face.

Robert Austin, Empower Fresh vice president of sales, headshot

Robert Austin, Empower Fresh's vice president of sales.

| Source: Empower Fresh

“When you add the losses up—monthly, quarterly, annually—it’s a substantial amount of money,” he said. “The truth is, retail operations as a whole pretty much have said, ‘Look we know that we're going to suffer a certain number of losses because of how the industry operates,’ and there's never been any significant sustainable control over that. We can provide very deep control as well as focus.”

Austin compared the possibilities for improvement in the produce department to the switch from gas-powered mowers to electric mowers.

“This is 2023 — you don’t buy gas mowers anymore! Let’s quit using them,” he said. “The second our solution is adopted, the transformation is astonishingly evident. They say, ‘Holy smoke! This is so much easier!’ — so much so that the way they used to do it is rendered obsolete."

“As Empower Fresh continues its ascent in transforming the landscape of produce management, Rob Austin's induction as vice president of sales strengthens the Empower Fresh mission to reshape the independent grocer produce landscape,” the company said. “With his expertise and Empower Fresh's groundbreaking solutions, the industry is set to witness a revolution in how independent grocers thrive in today's dynamic market.”