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Stephanie Teteak of Larry’s Piggly Wiggly in Kaukauna, Wis., has won the 2012 National Grocers Association Best Bagger Championship, sponsored by the Kellogg Co., Bunzl Distributors Inc. and Pan-Oston.
The contest, emceed by Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert, was held Monday during the 2012 NGA Show in Las Vegas. This is the 26th year of the Best Bagger Championship, which drew competitors from 24 states across the country.
The NGA Best Bagger National Championship is a year-long, nationwide program in which the top grocery baggers in the country compete for prizes and the title of “America’s Best Bagger.” Contestants are judged on speed, bag-building technique, weight distribution between bags and style, attitude and appearance. As the winner, Teteak takes home a $10,000 grand prize, the coveted “Golden Grocery Bag” trophy and the Pan-Oston “Best Bagger Golden Lane,” a special checkout stand that will be installed in her hometown Larry’s Piggly Wiggly store.
The contest awarded a total of $24,000 in cash prizes to contestants. The second-place prize of $5,000 was awarded to Blake Westling of Byerly’s in Eagan, Minn. Rob Mow of Martin’s Super Markets in South Bend, Ind., came in third place, winning $1,000. Publix Super Markets picked up fourth and fifth place, with Alexis Jeup of Mount Juliet, Tenn., and Bryan Nowell of Tuscaloosa, Ala., winning $1,000 each.
“This competition continues to shine a light on the incredible dedication and work ethic of grocery employees, particularly baggers, from all across the country,” said Peter Larkin, NGA president and CEO. “These competitors are a small sample of the thousands of baggers all across this country who help customers every day with exceptional customer service and demonstrate an enormous amount of pride in what they do.”
Also announced at Monday’s Grocers Awards Reception was the 2012 Creative Choice Awards Contest for best advertising and best merchandising by an independent grocer, sponsored by Kellogg’s and Unilever.
This year, the Creative Choice for Merchandising went to Broulim’s of Rigby, Idaho, for its “Wild Alaska Seafood Sale.” For advertising, the Creative Choice was awarded to Niemann Foods Inc. (County Market) of Quincy, Ill., for its “Free Turkey Loyalty Promotion.”
Offering customers a chance to meet Edgar Hansen, deck boss of The Northwestern from the Discovery Channel’s “The Deadliest Catch,” the Broulim’s seafood sale lasted one week and also included in-store seafood cooking demonstrations and experts to provide cooking tips and healthful recipes. The event boosted Broulim’s meat department sales 20 percent.
Niemann’s Free Turkey campaign allowed customers at County Markets to win a coupon for a free turkey after every $300 in grocery purchases. The promotion provided the company a cost savings of $163,500, increased customer loyalty 50 percent and increased loyalty sales during the promotion 23 percent.
“The Creative Choice award is always a crowd favorite, allowing us to see the ingenuity and creativeness of independent grocers all across the country,” Larkin said. “This year’s winners represent the ‘best of the best’ in knowing their customer base and fulfilling important needs for families in their communities.”
The National Grocers Association is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry.