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    IGA Names 8 Retailer of the Year Finalists

    CHICAGO, Ill. -- IGA here has narrowed its list of U.S. Retailer of the Year finalists to eight, three of which will be honored at the 2008 IGA Global Summit Awards Banquet in Carefree, Ariz., March 29.

    CHICAGO, Ill. -- IGA here has narrowed its list of U.S. Retailer of the Year finalists to eight, three of which will be honored at the 2008 IGA Global Summit Awards Banquet in Carefree, Ariz., March 29.

    During the ceremony, three awardees will hold the additional title of 2008 IGA U.S. International Retailer of the Year for having achieved within the U.S. the superior level of excellence in IGA retailing as judged by IGA's global standards.

    The eight finalists, chosen from applicants submitted by its licensed distribution companies, are:
    -- Mike Carper of Mick or Mack IGA, Newcastle, Va; Merchants Distributors,Inc.
    -- Jeff Downing, Foothills IGA Market, Marble Hill, Ga.; Merchants Distributors, Inc.
    -- Tim Henderson, Henderson's IGA,Valentine, Neb.; Affiliated Foods Midwest.
    -- Gregory Lukeman, IGA Bohemia Supermarket, Bohemia, N.Y.; Bozzuto's, Inc.
    -- Bill Price, McMaken's IGA, Brookville. Ohio; Laurel Grocery Company, LLC
    -- Wayne Ray, Houchens Industries, Columbia Hometown IGA, Columbia, Ky.; Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
    -- Harold Shook, Lake Region IGA Supermarket, Hawley, Pa.; Bozzuto's, Inc.
    Kevin Young, Payless Market IGA, Copperopolis, Calif.; C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc./Sacramento Division.

    Under IGA's newly revamped Awards of Excellence process, IGA executives will visit the retail finalists for a store evaluation, and will also be required to submit a short essay explaining how their stores demonstrate operational excellence in regard to service, branding, marketing and community commitment.

    Then a panel of judges will name the three IGA U.S. Retailers of the Year.

    Mark Batenic, IGA USA c.e.o., said the more rigorous and challenging standards create a fair and equitable process for retailer recognition. Included in those standards was the stipulation that all candidates have achieved a Five Star rating under IGA's assessment program.

    "Because of the revised standards, our licensed distribution companies submitted an exceptionally deserving group of candidates," said Batenic. "It then goes without saying that our finalists are the elite among independent retailers, and that each of them has demonstrated exemplary IGA brand-building accomplishments within the last year. We look forward to visiting these retailers' stores, and ultimately determining those who will receive our prestigious IGA awards."

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