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Peter Larkin, the National Grocers Association’s (NGA) president and CEO, headlines the latest episode of Progressive Grocer’s exclusive Industry Talk video series with its editor-in-chief, Meg Major.
While discussing NGA’s primary role to ensure the success of independent, community-focused retailers and wholesalers alongside the opportunity to better serve consumers through policies, advocacy, programs and services, Larkin elaborates on a variety of other timely topics, including the many opportunities for its members in the area of technology, and the importance of promoting the dynamic and diverse career paths available in the grocery industry.
While describing his views of independent grocers’ unique attributes, Larkin pinpoints their entrepreneurial spirit as the single most important ingredient. “It’s really more about a state of mind; it’s about the entrepreneurial spirit, as opposed to how many stores you own,” he says.
Underscoring NGA’s dedication to the needs of its members via services and programs designed to help them achieve specific goals for their companies, Larkin also touches on his experience helming the national trade association, and specifically, what has been most rewarding.
“Priorities for NGA begin with me,” says Larkin. “The first thing is for me to listen, to learn, and to respond to what our members want.”
Larkin also discusses what he sees as the greatest obstacle facing the industry, as well as the greatest opportunities moving forward, paramount to which is its people. “This industry has perhaps the best people than any other in the world.”
In terms of the greatest hurdles, Larkin cites health care reform legislation and what it means to its members and their operations. He then discusses a health care task force NGA established to help address the concerns of its members regarding the potential impacts of health care reform.
Larkin also talks about the many opportunities for NGA’s members in the area of technology — understanding what’s out there to better connect with the consumer -- along with the association’s commitment to help its members attract, train, and retain new talent.