Ron Carlson of American Stores Company. Ron started out in retailing in the 1950s as a part-timer for Jewel Food Stores in the Chicago area. He would move through the ranks at Jewel taking on increasing responsibilities in a time of company expansion. From 1968 until 1983, he worked as vice president of merchandising at Skaggs Drug Centers and moved into private label health and beauty care following their acquisition by American Stores. Emerging as a key industry figure, he exercised stewardship over the private brand programs for Jewel and Osco banners, as well as Acme, Star Markets, Sav-On Drugs, Lucky and others. He commanded wide recognition as a private label advocate, stating retailers need to rely less on national brands and put faith in their own brands to satisfy shoppers and win customer loyalty. He was named Vice President of Corporate Brands for American Stores in 1994.