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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- United Fresh Produce Association here said it is accepting applications for its annual Retail Produce Manager Awards. The program, now in its fourth year, will honor 25 retail produce managers at the store level, and include their corporate produce directors in formal recognition at the United Fresh, Las Vegas 2008 show, May 4-7.
"The continual support from supermarket executives to honor their front-line produce staff has been tremendous," said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. "Every year senior retail executives attend the awards ceremony to show their support for their winners. Great employees, empowered by their management, make a huge difference in store sales," he said.
Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac Produce will again be the sole sponsor of the program, including its expansion to 25 award winners in 2008 from 20.
"These front-line produce experts can have a dramatic, positive impact on purchasing behavior and thus our overall industry growth and we are proud to help recognize the best of the best," said Ready Pac CEO Dennis Gertmenian.
Mike Kemp, senior director/perishable operations at Save-A-Lot and United Fresh business development council chairman said the program "sends a powerful message to the retail community. It encourages and promotes excellence in the produce department and that benefits everyone."
All United Fresh member companies are eligible to submit applications. "Retail companies use this program to honor their own, but commissions, marketing boards, wholesalers, processors and other produce companies also submit applications as a way of recognizing store level managers," said Amy Philpott, v.p./marketing and industry relations, United Fresh.
Nomination forms for the 2008 Retail Produce Manager Award are available online with applications due by January 15, 2008. For more information, visit www.unitedfresh.org for a copy of the nomination form and a list of the selection criteria.