2019 Convention Press Release

Alabama Grocers Association Holds Annual Convention

The Alabama Grocers Association recently held their 29th Annual Convention at the Sandestin Beach Resort in Destin, Florida.  The Association brought members from all aspects of the grocery industry together to promote the growth and success of the food industry throughout the state of Alabama.The convention kicked off with the Larry D. Eddleman, Sr. Golf Classic at the Baytowne Golf Club.  First Place golf winners included Gene Phillips, Truno, Josh Ray, Shop Hero, and Brad Conner, Birmingham Beverage (pictured below);

Second Place winners included Greg Rains, Alabama Crown, Andrew Virciglio, Piggly Wiggly Birmingham, Lance Smith, Mark Twain Brewing, and Ronnie Ellis, Southern Champion; and Third Place winners included Don Richardson, Birmingham Coca-Cola United, Greg Waldrop, Gateway Foods, Kyle Butler and Dana Bowen, Frito-Lay.  The Closest to the Pin was Greg Rains, Alabama Crown and the Longest Drive was Brad Conner, Birmingham Beverage. The evening followed with a silent auction and casino party.

A silent auction and raffle were held Monday night which raised more than $28,000 for the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation. This year the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation awarded 61 scholarships valued at more than $57,750, and to date has awarded more than 1.28 million dollars in total scholarships.

The business forum was held the following day and included Keynote Speaker, Shawna Suckow who discussed how to create and keep customers in a culture saturated with marketing messages.  Commissioner Rick Pate and Ellie Watson, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, spoke on the new agriculture program – “Sweet Grown Alabama” – which will be rolling out in stores soon.  A Local Product Retailer Panel moderated by Dr. Glenn Richey, Auburn University, outlined how retailers large and small source and promote local products.  Featured on the local panel were Mr. Mike Tanner, Director of Merchandising, Publix Super Markets, Jacksonville Division; Mr. Austin Virciglio, Vice President, Piggly Wiggly Birmingham; Mr. Rob Renfroe, Vice President, Renfroe’s Market; and Mr. Glen Wilkins, Director, Public Affairs, Wal-Mart (pictured below).  A 2019 Legislative Overview and 2020 outlook was given by Mr. Patrick McWhorter, AGA Legislative Consultant and Mr. Paul DeMarco, Parsons, Lee and Juliano, P.C.

Tuesday afternoon also included an exhibit hall with more than 70 booths with vendors from all aspects of the grocery industry. Featured in the exhibit hall was our Alabama State Best Bagger Contest sponsored and run by Bunzl Distribution.  Miss Jessica Stevens, Publix Super Markets, Inc. will represent AGA in the National Grocers Association Best Bagger Contest on February 24, 2020 in San Diego, California. Bagger winner pictured below.

On Tuesday night, the Chairman’s Banquet was held with renowned comedian Henry Cho as the celebrity entertainment.

Several Awards were given including the Spirit of Alabama Award, presented to Mr. Reed Ingram, Alabama House of Representatives, District 75 for his work this legislative session in the passing of our Sunday Sales bill that will allow any wet county or municipality by resolution or ordinance to permit and regulate the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

New Officers and Directors were installed. Mr. Frank D’Amico, III, BTC Wholesale, was given the Chairman’s Plaque of Appreciation for his dedicated work during his two-year term as Chairman and the gavel was transferred to Mr. Johnny Collins, Organic Valley Fresh, who will serve as Chairman until 2021.

About the Alabama Grocers Association: The Alabama Grocers Association is a state trade association representing the grocery retail industry since 1990. With more than 135 retail members operating over 850 stores statewide, as well as over 225 manufacturers, brokers, wholesalers and other members, the AGA is the voice of the industry in the state of Alabama. The food retail industry in Alabama provides over 70,000 jobs with over $2.2 billion in annual wages paid. Grocers pay over $1.2 billion in state taxes and have a total economic impact on the state’s economy of over $12 billion. For more information, go to www.alabamagrocers.org.