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The United Fresh Produce Association will honor 25 outstanding produce managers representing 20 supermarket chains, commissaries and independent retail stores in 17 states and Canada. The managers are scheduled to receive their due recognition at the Washington-based trade group’s convention in Las Vegas next month.
Sponsored by Ready Pac Foods, Inc. and presented through the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence, the retail produce manager’s award program pays tribute to those on the front line in supermarkets, who work every day to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The 25 winners, selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry are:
—Douglas Collins, Food City, Prestonsburg, Ky.
—Lynette DeClerk, Niemann Foods, Inc., Pana, Ill.
—Brent Doud, Safeway Stores, Inc, Albany, Ore.
—Samuel D. Fannin, The Kroger Co., Reynoldsburg, Ohio
—Jeff Freeman, Save Mart, Clovis, Calif.
—Judy Gauthier, Buy-Low Foods, Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
—James Grande, King Soopers, Aurora, Colo.
—Steve Gray, MOM’s Organic Market, Frederick, Md.
—Cris Gutierrez, Raley’s, Reno, Nev.
—Angela Hamilton, Al’s Supermarkets, La Porte, Ind.
—Claudette Johnson, Jewel-Osco, Plainfield, Ill.
—Lannie W. Kiser Jr., Brookshire Grocery Co., Kaufman, Texas
—Valerie Lambert, Food City, Wise, Va.
—Ryan Lindner, Hy-Vee, Inc., Madison, Wis.
—Jeff Oelfke, Chief Supermarket, Inc., Bryan, Ohio
—Lisa Paulis, Vons, La Jolla, Calif.
—Joseph Ortiz, Brookshire Grocery Co., Monroe, La.
—Shawn Seely, Price Chopper Supermarkets/Golub Corp., Edwardsville, Pa.
—Rick Stolarik, Big Y Foods, Inc, Tolland, Conn.
—John Thut, Bel Air Markets/Raley’s, Sacramento, Calif.
—Gary Viall, Hannaford Bros., Colonie, N.Y.
—Juronald Williams, Ord Community Commissary, Seaside, Calif.
—Willie L. Williams Jr., The Kroger Co., Englewood, Ohio
—John Wombacher, Hy-Vee, Inc., Iowa City, Iowa
—Craig Yamane, Bel Air Markets/Raley’s, Sacramento, Calif.
The winners are selected based on a number of criteria, including their efforts to increase produce consumption through everyday excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service, and commitment to total customer satisfaction. All winners and their corporate produce directors will be honored at the convention during the Chairman’s Reception & Annual Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 22. At the banquet, five as-yet-undisclosed grand-prize recipients will receive an additional $1,000 cash prize.
Conference attendees will also hear from a panel of the winners on produce success at the store level during “Winning Retail Strategies: Secrets of the Retail Manager Award Winners.” This special event will take place on the afternoon of April 22 and will be broadcast live via UnitedFresh.TV. In this live production, broadcast in real time to the Web, the award-winning retail produce managers will share insider tips about the produce section.
For more information, visit unitedfresh.org.