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The National Grocers Association (NGA) crowned Candice Lastimado of Metropolitan Markets, in Seattle, winner of its 2016 Best Bagger competition, held annually at The NGA Show in Las Vegas. Lastimado received the grand prize of $10,000 and title of Best Bagger Champion.
Bethany Berger of Shaw's Supermarket in Vermont was awarded the second place prize of $5,000, and the third place prize of $1,000 went to Lauren Gillson of Lunds & Byerlys of Minnesota. Fourth and fifth place winners, winning $1,000 each, were Janessa Plummer of Plummer's Shop 'n Save in Maine and Nathan Toth of Martin's Super Markets in Indiana, respectively.
"Year after year, NGA has the pleasure of holding an event that demonstrates the collective spirit and work ethic of the supermarket industry," said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA.
"So often baggers or courtesy clerks are the last impression a customer has of a store, and because of this, superior bagging skills, along with friendly customer service, are critical elements to a positive shopping experience for the consumer," Larkin added.
Designed to promote supermarket employees and demonstrate a superior core customer service skill, the nationwide competition has been held by NGA since 1987. Contestants are judged by speed of bagging, proper bag-building technique, weight distribution in the bag, as well as style, attitude and appearance, and are chosen through statewide competitions over the course of last year.
This year’s competition was sponsored by PepsiCo and emceed for the second consecutive year by Food Network star Duff Goldman.