Senior Category Lead



Title: Senior Category Lead

Status: Reports to Purchasing Promotions Manager. Position is full-time and is based in the St. Paul, MN headquarters.  Some travel is required.

INFRA: Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA) is a purchasing cooperative owned and governed by natural and organic food retailers of all sizes working together to forge a sustainable future. INFRA facilitates member collaboration to strengthen independents' position in the marketplace.

Summary: The Senior Category Lead is responsible for delivering quality promotional and category programs to our independent retail members stores. This position works closely with INFRA’s Purchasing and Fresh teams to identify and develop tools that provide competitive positioning for our members in the areas of core cost of goods. As a supervisor, you will be responsible for leading the Category Lead Team through monthly workflow and partnering with the Purchasing Promotions Manager on department logistics.     

Leadership Responsibilities

  • Ensure maximum performance of Category Lead Team and efficient INFRA Deals workflow
  • Assist the Purchasing Promotions Manager in approving work plans for Category Lead Team based on INFRA strategic priorities and ensure clear, measurable goals are set which can be evaluated quarterly
  • Support the execution of these goals through regular discussions, quarterly reviews, and follow-through
  • Make recommendations on strategic priorities, projects and development based on industry conditions, membership, and market trends
  • Provide advice, problem solving, and referral to available resources at INFRA for members

Category Lead Responsibilities

  • Negotiate INFRA Deals contracts with brokers and manufacturers in assigned categories
  • Develop and present monthly promotional opportunities to store buyers in assigned categories
  • Confirm INFRA Deals contracts with brokers and manufacturers, and follow up on details including contract pricing
  • Develop and present regional promotions in collaboration with regional managers in assigned categories
  • Develop and maintain a good working relationship with primary distributors, and direct manufacturers to ensure the success of the program
  • Negotiate annual EDLP program with brokers and manufacturers in assigned categories
  • Ensure discount structure is accurately executed  
  • Oversee and manage Independent Choice™ private label program in assigned categories
  • Grow relevancy and sales of Independent Choice™ private label program in assigned categories
  • Work with the team to ensure timely flow of information in all directions
  • Develop and support vendor marketing campaigns in coordination with MarCom Team
  • Coordinate collection of past due contract fees with INFRA Bookkeeper
  • Maintain and improve systems for evaluating data and program performance
  • Develop and support member education and training programs including store buyers’ meetings, planning category reviews, and future promotional opportunities
  • Provide members with tools and information to increase sales in assigned categories
  • Develop and support, in partnership with INFRA CEO, relationships with other industry alliances to support market opportunities in assigned categories (i.e. Fair-trade, OTA, NPA)
  • Participate in member meetings, conferences, and buyer communications
  • Use SPINS data to drive promotional decisions
  • Participate in staff meetings and other projects as assigned


Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes:

  • Successful record of accomplishment in setting priorities, prioritizing, and goal setting
  • Strong analytic, organizational, and problem-solving skills which support and enable sound decision making
  • Develops others, is a consensus builder, and uses teams effectively
  • Excellent communication and relationship building skills with an ability to prioritize, negotiate, and work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders
  • Willingness and ability to learn and grow to meet changing program requirements
  • Critical thinker; deals well with ambiguity
  • Entrepreneurial spirit with a customer first focus
  • Can adjust personal style to accommodate different environments, cultures, and ethnic groups
  • Self-directed; success with taking initiative
  • Perseverance, tenacity, and compassion
  • Creative, inspiring, innovative, and motivating
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Ability to travel and work long days when necessary
  • Knowledgeable of SPINS, category management, and pricing strategies
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience working with distribution, brokers, or retailers in Natural Products Industry

Education and Experience Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree or relevant experience
  • 2-4 years purchasing experience required
  • Supervisory experience with small teams
  • Project Management experience preferred
  • Demonstrated experience in problem solving, troubleshooting, and ability to make constructive decisions

INFRA provides a full suite of employee benefits including: PTO, Health, Dental, Disability and Life Insurance, 401(k) Retirement Saving Plan, and a working environment that strongly believes in rightful living.

To apply for this position, please go here: