Progressive Grocer Independent

APR 2016

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24 | Progressive Grocer Independent | April 2016 Events Industry In the 30 th Annual Best Bagger Championship, Candice Lastimado, of Metropolitan Markets in Seattle, defeated 24 other competitors to be crowned the 2016 Best Bagger. Te title comes with $10,000. Bethany Berger, of Shaw's Supermarket in Vermont, placed second, winning $5,000. Tird place and $1,000 went to Lauren Gillson, of Lunds & Byerly's in Minnesota. Te competition, held since 1987, is designed to promote supermarket employees who demonstrate a supe- rior core customer service skill. Con- testants, chosen by state competitions throughout the nation, are judged not only on bagging skills that include speed, proper bag-building technique and weight distribution, but also on style, attitude and appearance. Tis year's competition, sponsored by Pep- siCo, was emceed by Food Network star Duf Goldman. "So often, baggers or courtesy clerks are the last impression a cus- tomer has of a store, and because of this, superior bagging skills, along with friendly customer service, are critical elements to a positive shop- ping experience for the consumer," noted Peter Larkin, NGA president and CEO. NGA unveiled the Best in Show winners in its Creative Choice Awards in the marketing and merchandis- ing categories. The Creative Choice Awards honor the best marketing and merchandising programs in the independent supermarket industry. This year's winners were selected from a pool of more than 300 entries. Both segments had eight winners and eight honorable mentions in different categories. Out of those winners, the Best in Show winners were selected by both judges and online voting. Dave Jones, of Kellogg's, presented Sidra Rehan of Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite, the Best in Show Marketing award for the Tutto Italiano — ShopRite Imported Italian Private Label promotion. ShopRite worked in conjunction with the Italian Trade Association to educate customers about the various imported Italian products available in ShopRite stores. Alison Castillo, of Unilever, presented Karen Gozzi (pictured), also of Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite, with the Best in Show Merchandising award for its Grand Brands of the Grand Tasting — NYC Wine and Food Festival promotion. ShopRite worked as a presenting sponsor of the NYC Wine and Food Festival, showcasing its brand as the official sponsor of the event's grand tasting. The Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneur- ial Excellence Award was presented to Roger Lowe Sr., president/chairman of the board for Littlefield, Texas-based Lowe's Markets. Lowe began his career in the grocery industry with the pur- Chris Coborn, president and CEO of St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn's Inc., received the Tomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award. Coborn, a fourth-generation supermarket operator, is a strong advocate for NGA government initiatives. Te award was established in 2014 to honor Tom Wenning for his 40 years of service to NGA and the independent super- market industry. It's presented to a NGA member who helps advance the role and presence of independent grocers and NGA in government and public afairs. Pictured from left: Tom Wenning, NGA; Chris Coborn, Coborn's Inc.; and Trig Solberg, T.A. Solberg and Co. chase of his first store in 1964 in Olton, Texas. Lowe's Markets now operates 152 stores in five Southwestern states. The Thomas K. Zaucha award, named after NGA's first president and CEO, is presented annually to recognize an independent grocer who exempli- fies persistence, vision and creative entrepreneurship. Presented this year by Mondelez International, it is one of the most prestigious honors awarded to independent grocers. Pictured from left: Peter Larkin, NGA president/CEO; Rick Brindle, Mondelez International; Roger Lowe Sr., Lowe's Markets; and Randy Arceneaux, Affiliated Foods. NGA HONORS

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