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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Robert Stiles, president of Gelson's Markets, was elected chairman of the board for the California Grocers Association (CGA) for 2004-2005. Stiles won the post in a unanimous vote during the association's annual meeting, which was held in conjunction with the 2004 Western Food Industry Exposition in Las Vegas.
CGA represents about 500 retail companies running more than 6,000 stores in California and Nevada, as well as approximately 200 grocery supplier companies.
Stiles started in the grocery industry as a boxboy in Southern California. In 1960 he joined Gelson's, where he started as a clerk and entered the corporate ranks 20 years later. By 1996 he had risen to president of the company. In a statement Allan Scharn, the president of Gelson's immediately before Stiles, said: "He's a natural groceryman, with great instincts and people skills."
"I have had the great opportunity to work with Bob for a number of years," noted CGA president Peter Larkin. "He's a natural leader with a strong understanding of the industry and a keen sense of humor. I look forward to working closely with him in the coming year."
When contacted by Progressive Grocer, Stiles said of his election to chairman: "I am very honored. The CGA is one of the most worthwhile organizations I have ever been associated with, and I look forward to serving."
Based in Encino, Calif., Gelson's Markets operates 18 stores throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Gelson's was founded in 1951 by brothers Bernard and Eugene Gelson, and sold to Arden Group in the 1960s.
The California Grocers Association is a nonprofit statewide trade association representing the food industry since 1898. Retail membership includes chain and independent supermarkets, convenience stores, and mass merchandisers.