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The winner of the fourth annual Statewide NY Best Bagger Championship competition, held Nov. 30 at a Price Chopper in Albany, N.Y., is Constance Gaines, a 45-year-old customer service manager at a D’Agostino Supermarkets store at Tenth Avenue between 54th and 55th streets in Manhattan. Second place went to Arcola Pointer, a 37-year-old head customer service manager at a D’Agostino at Broadway and 110th Street. Pointer won last year’s statewide competition.
Under the yearlong nationwide program, the best grocery baggers in the United States vie for prizes and the title of North America’s Best Bagger. As the winner of the New York competition, Gaines will go to the national finals in Las Vegas in February 2010.
Contest entrants were judged on speed, bag-building technique, weight distribution between bags, style, attitude and appearance. This year, as in the store-level heats, the contestants had to bag 25 to 30 items in just one round using recyclable bags.
In the statewide competition, D’Agostino employees were pitted against Price Chopper associates. For the first two years of the competition, Price Chopper trounced D’Agostino to go on to the finals, but the past two competitions have seen a reversal of that trend.
“Excellence in bagging represents an important element in providing outstanding customer service in an area in which independent community-focused retailers excel – and, of course, New Yorkers like it when they can get in and out of the supermarket quickly and efficiently” said Nicholas D’Agostino III, CEO and president of Larchmont, N.Y.-based D’Agostino Supermarkets.
The 2011 competition marks the 25th annual N.G.A. Best Bagger Competition, which was first held in Dallas.