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The Illinois Food Retailers Association honored Food Market La Chiquita with its Leadership Award at the 2016 Conference and Expo, co-sponsored by Grocery Merchandising Association.
Alfredo Linares, owner of Food Market La Chiquita, operates eight stores in the Chicago area, the first of which opened in 1986 and the latest of which opened in June. Linares served on the IFRA board of directors from 2001 to 2014, and has reached out to lawmakers on issues affecting the grocery industry, noted Brian Jordan, IFRA president.
Jeannette Niro, North Central region sales manager for Orrville, Ohio-based J.M. Smucker Co., also received an Industry Leadership Award.
IFRA also recognized Rob Prisco, of Prisco’s Family Market, with the Distinguished Service Award.
The Illinois Bagging Championship was held during the conference, with six baggers participating. The Illinois Best Bagger is Heidi Jacobson, from Sullivan’s Foods in Marengo, Ill. Jacobson will go on to compete at the Best Bagger Competition in Las Vegas in February during the NGA Show. She also won $500.
Other contestants were baggers from Strack & Van Til (second place, $250); County Fair (third place, $100); Berkot’s Super Foods; County Market; and Sunset Foods.