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The nation’s top grocery store baggers are heading to Las Vegas next week to compete in the 2010 National Grocers Association’s (NGA) Best Bagger Championship, presented by ConAgra Foods. The competition will be held as part of NGA’s annual conference, which features a keynote speech by former President George W. Bush.
Competitors will be rated on speed, bag-building technique, weight distribution between bags, style, attitude and appearance. A combination of jars, cans, boxes and loaves of bread will pose a challenge for each contestant as he or she races against the clock to bag the items the best way possible. For the first time, contestants will square off using eco-friendly, reusable bags.
With the involvement of ConAgra this year, the prize pool has increased from previous years. The grand-prize winner will receive $10,000, the second-place contestant will earn $5,000 and the third- through fifth-place winners will net $1,000 each.
“These competitors are hard-working young professionals from community-based retailers in each state,” said Frank DiPasquale, EVP of Arlington, Va.-based NGA. “They are great examples of how many grocery stores are committed to customer service, and this competition is a fun way to recognize and reward these baggers for their accomplishments.”
Twenty-three states are sending their top performers to vie for the title of the nation’s best bagger:
Alabama: Malcolm Griggs, Publix
California: Kyle Casera, Nugget Market, Inc.
Georgia: Danny Goodwin, J.H. Harvey Co., LLC
Iowa: David Kistenmacher, Fareway Stores, Inc.
Indiana: Kyle Perry, Martin’s Super Markets
Kentucky: David Williams, Food City (K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.)
Massachusetts: Ryan Hebert, Trucchi’s Supermarkets
Michigan: Maryann Pears, Martin’s Super Markets
Minnesota: Jessie Seamans, Lunds
Missouri: Ben Riemann, Woods Supermarket
Nevada: Sara Sandstrom, Whole Foods Market
New Jersey: James Wilmott, ShopRite of Hunterdon County
New York: Arcola Pointer, D’Agostino Supermarkets, Inc.
North Carolina: Michael Belliveau, Harris Teeter
Ohio: Chris Glockner, Buehler’s Food Markets, Inc.
Pennsylvania: Courtney Acton, Genuardi’s Family Markets
Rhode Island: Hamzat Onikoyi, Shaw’s Supermarket
Tennessee: Brittany Cavender, Kroger Mid-South
Utah: Andrew Hadlock, Maceys, Inc.
Virginia: Rachel Goff, Ukrop’s Super Markets, Inc.
Vermont: Dawn Tye, Hannaford
Washington: Glenn Cragun, Yoke’s Fresh Markets
Wisconsin: Claire Dittmann, Metcalfe