AGEF Fall Clay Shoot Press Release

The Alabama Grocers Education Foundation held its First Annual Fall Clay Shoot on Thursday, October 15, 2020 at Selwood Farms in Alpine, Alabama. This tournament raised funds for the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation, to provide scholarships to employees and children of employees of Alabama Grocers Association companies. To date AGEF has awarded over 1.2 million dollars because of the tremendous support of our members at golf tournaments such as this one.

The winners of the golf tournament were as follows:  First Place Team: UTZ Team.

Second Place Team: Red Diamond Team

Third Place Team: Associated Wholesale Grocers Team

The Alabama Grocers Education Foundation Clay Shoot would not be as successful without the many companies that sponsored this event and contributed their goods. The Presenting Sponsor for this event was Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc. Additional sponsors of the AGEF 2020 Clay Shoot included A&R Super Markets; Associated Grocers of the South; Associated Wholesale Grocers; Buffalo Rock / Pepsi; Bunzl Distribution; Byars | Wright Insurance; Cobbs Allen; Federated Insurance; Merrill Lynch; Mitchell Grocery Corporation; Post Consumer Brands; Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing; Red Diamond Coffee & Tea; Retail Data Systems Mid-South; Smucker’s; Sunset Farms Foods; United Johnson Brothers (3 Teams); and UTZ Quality Foods.

Chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Bob Crawford made the announcements of the winners via video for this event. To view this video on the AGA YouTube channel, click here.

A special thanks to AGEF Trustee Member Mr. Mike Hanson of Milo’s Tea for helping with the beverages and running the beverage cart!

Buy Alabama’s Best Retailer Luncheon

The 2020 Buy Alabama’s Best Retail Campaign Launch Awards luncheon was recently held at The Club. The Alabama Grocers Association, the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, and the Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association were all in attendance.

Presentations were made by Assistant Commissioner Bob Plaster, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; Mrs. Ellie Taylor, President, Alabama Grocers Association; Mr. Johnny Collins, Dean Foods and Chairman, Alabama Grocers Association; Mr. Mike Hanson, Milo’s Tea and President, Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association; and Ms. Laura Lester, Executive Director, Alabama Food Bank Association.  Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association members, as well as retailers and wholesalers throughout the state of Alabama, were also in attendance.

Assistant Commissioner Bob Plaster, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; Mr. Mike Hanson, President, Alabama Food Manufactures and Producers Association; and Mr. Johnny Collins Chairman, Alabama Grocers Association, presented Display Contest Award Certificates to Gardendale Foodland for First Place Dry and First Place Wet, Food Giant Hueytown for Honorable Mention, Food Giant Leeds for Honorable Mention, and Piggly Wiggly Homewood for Honorable Mention all for the 2019 year.  These displays featured participating Alabama food products to help consumers identify which products were headquartered, produced or manufactured in the state of Alabama.

The Alabama Grocers Association was also proud to announce a new partnership with the Alabama Food Bank Association.  According to Feeding America, the food insecurity rate in Alabama is over 16.5%.  Children and seniors are at the greatest risk of food insecurity.  One in six children may not know where they will get their next meal.  When children experience food insecurity, they often experience developmental delays and impairments in areas like language and motor skills, have more social and behavioral problems and often have to repeat grades in school.  For Alabama seniors, 19.3% are marginally food insecure, 12.8% are food insecure and 5.0% are very low food insecure.  Alabama ranks sixth in senior hunger.  

“We are really excited for changes in the new year, especially our new partnership with the Alabama Food Bank Association,” said Mrs. Ellie Taylor, President, Alabama Grocers Association.  “As a food organization, we meet people’s most basic needs by feeding them, so raising funds for food banks across our state could not be more appropriate.”

Laura Lester, Executive Director, Alabama Food Bank Association, gave the group an overview of the importance of food banks across the state of Alabama.  She extended her thanks for the support of these important community organizations made possible through impactful partnerships throughout the state of Alabama.  

“We could not be more thankful for this opportunity to partner with the Alabama Grocers Association,” said Laura Lester, Executive Director of the Alabama Food Bank Association.  “Alabama has a high need food insecurity rate, but this partnership will give us the opportunity to directly impact those in need and change food insecurity throughout our state.”

The purpose of the Buy Alabama’s Best Campaign is to identify Alabama food products, raise awareness of those products, and increase sales for those products. Alabama food product sales have a $2 billion impact on Alabama’s economy, and along with the food service industries, employ one out of every four Alabamians.

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.

Food Industry Finest Luncheon


BIRMINGHAM, AL— The Alabama Grocers Association held their annual Food Industry Finest Luncheon on Wednesday, October 23 honoring their Industry Award winners.

Speakers included Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth

and Dr. Bruce Bright, On Target Leading.

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.

More than 150 people attended the event at The Club to discuss the work of the Alabama Grocers Association in 2019 and those in the food, beverage and grocery profession here in Alabama.


“Each of these fine individuals exemplify leadership and excellence Alabama’s grocery industry.  They are committed to growing and improving the grocery industry in Alabama,” said Ellie Taylor, President Alabama Grocers Association.  “We are thankful for the opportunity to honor them and their commitment today.”

The Retailer of the Year Award was presented to Andy Virciglio of Piggly Wiggly Supermarkets Birmingham.

“It has been an honor for our family business to be a part of this community for three generations,” said Andy Virciglio, Piggly Wiggly Supermarkets. “Our employees are focused on providing outstanding service to our customers every day.”

If you would like to see a video of Retailer of the Year, please click here.

The Wholesaler of the Year Award was given to Ken Miller of Associated Grocers of the South.

“Our team is strong, and we have worked hard to grow our business and be competitive,” said Ken Miller, Associated Grocers of the South. “This award is a reflection of our goal to provide our members with the lowest cost of goods that enables them to increase both their sales and profits.”

The Vendor of the Year award recipient was Paul Burnett, Byars | Wright.

“We believe in supporting the needs of Alabama Grocers, they are the foundation of our communities,” said Paul Burnett, Byars | Wright. “Our team considers it an honor to support and work along side these dedicated businesses.”

If you would like to see the Video of Vendor of the Year, Click Here.

In addition, Greg Ferrara, President, National Grocers Association presented the prestigious Spirit of America Award to David Mitchell, Mitchell Grocery Corporation for his active and effective participation in government affairs and as a strong and effective advocate for the independent food distribution industry in Alabama and across the Nation.

To view all the photos from this event, visit the AGA’s Facebook Page.

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