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The Washington Food Industry Association recently announced the year’s winners of their prestigious grocery industry awards for their contributions to the industry.
The WFIA awards, which were voted on by the association’s full membership, then presented by president Jan Gee on behalf of the Washington state grocery industry to three top leaders in the following categories: Grocer of the Year: Kevin Stormans of Stormans Inc., Olympia; Vendor of the Year: Greg Miller of Supervalu, Tacoma; and the Keystone Award—for excellence in Government Affairs: Representative J.T. Wilcox of Wilcox Farms in Roy.
Stormans is a third generation grocer with the unique history of also being a third generation Grocer of the Year. In the early 60’s, WFIA honored Ralph Stormans, president of Stormans, Inc., grandfather to this year’s recipient. In the early 80’s, the Grocer of the Year Award was presented to Ken Stormans, then president of Stormans, Inc. and father of this year’s recipient.
Today, Kevin Stormans, along with his brother Greg and sister Charelle, manage two flagship stores in Olympia – Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway -- and a successful catering business. Stormans is a long time member of the board of directors of the Washington Food Industry Association, serving since 1985. He took the helm as chair from 2004 through 2006. This year he was elected to the Executive Committee as vice chair of finance. He has also been a long time leader, board member and key participant in Associated Grocers, Unified Grocers and Northwest Grocers and he’s always willing to share with other retailers his best practices in training, technology, programs and new and innovative industry ideas. Stormans has also received numerous charitable awards from his local community including the Thurston County Food Bank and Olympia Downtown Association.
Miller is a well-respected leader in his company and his industry. As a vendor, Miller has a large territory to travel but through the development of lead advocacy team work his group consistently improves customer service and makes each retail customer feel like they are the most important account. He offers unique and innovative support initiatives for independent retailers such as a remodel incentives program that offered significant rewards for investment in grand re-opening sales events.
Miller’s commitment to the growth and strength of the Washington Food Industry Association has been endless, the association said. He has served on the board of directors since 2006 and as chair of the board in 2007-08. He is one of the Washington Food Industry Association’s greatest advocates for building a large and effective political program that assures WFIA and the industry can financially back business and grocery industry friendly candidates that will be a partner in protecting and promoting the independent grocery industry. Each year, the WFIA makes an annual trip to Washington D.C. in partnership with its national organizations, FMI and NGA, and said that Miller is the biggest cheerleader and recruiter of industry leaders because he knows how important it is to tell both national and state lawmakers that the independent grocery industry has needs that are not always the same as large, national retailers.
The Keystone Award is presented each year by the Washington Food Industry Association to a member in recognition of excellence in political action to advance and protect the interests of the independent grocery industry. This year, the selection went to J.T. Wilcox of Wilcox Farms, who is State Representative of the 2nd District J.T. Now in office, Wilcox keeps the interests of the independent grocery industry at the forefront of minds when making policy decisions. Wilcox’s financial and business skills have quickly identified him to legislative leadership, and he received a position on the prestigious Ways and Means Committee as a freshman – an appointment long sought by much more senior members of the legislature.
The Washington Food Industry Association, founded in 1899, is a Washington State based non-profit trade association for the independent grocery industry. Its 480 members including retail grocery stores, wholesale distributors and food producers.