The 2017 Buy Alabama’s Best Retail Campaign Launch Awards luncheon was recently held at The Club. The group is made up of the Alabama Grocers Association, the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, and the Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association.
Presentations were made by Mr. Don Wambles, Director of AG Promotions with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; Mrs. Ellie Taylor, President, Alabama Grocers Association; Mr. Frank D’Amico, III of BTC Wholesale Distributors and Vice Chairman, Alabama Grocers Association; Mr. Keith Lusk of Golden Flake Snack Foods and Vice President, Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association; Ms. Sara Franklin, the Lollar Group; and Dr. Kimberly Whelan, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s of Alabama. Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association members as well as retailers and wholesalers throughout the state of Alabama were also in attendance.
Mr. Don Wambles, Director of AG Promotions with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; Mr. Keith Lusk, Vice President, Alabama Food Manufactures and Producers Association; and Mr. Frank D’Amico, III, Vice Chairman, Alabama Grocers Association, presented Display Contest Award Certificates for 2016.
These displays featured participating Alabama food products to help consumers identify which products are headquartered, produced or manufactured in the state of Alabama. Awards were given to the following retailers:
- Sav Mor Food Outlet, Calera, AL
- Foodland, Gardendale, AL
During the months of March and September, a portion of the sales of participating Alabama food product companies along with retail sales of icons raised monies for the UAB Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Children’s of Alabama.
A check was presented to Dr. Kimberly Whelan in the amount of $54,977 for 2016. Since 2006, the Buy Alabama’s Best Campaign has raised $678,308 to fight pediatric cancer.
“This generous donation from local Alabama businesses associated with the Alabama Grocers Association will help us meet our mission of working to cure every child with cancer,” said Whelan. “Children’s of Alabama is working to find a cure each and every day.”
Mrs. Ellie Taylor, President, Alabama Grocers Association announced to those in attendance that the Buy Alabama’s Best Campaign would be a quarterly event going forward. This year they will target March, June, September & December as designated months for retailers to show support of the Alabama products.
Following the presentation, a buffet featuring all Alabama food products was enjoyed by those in attendance.
The purpose of the Buy Alabama’s Best Campaign is to identify and increase awareness of Alabama food products and increase sales of those products. Alabama food product sales have a $2 billion impact in Alabama’s economy, tax base and along with the food service industries, employ one out of every four Alabamians.
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The Alabama Grocers Association held their annual Food Industry Finest Luncheon on Wednesday, October 26th honoring their retailer, wholesaler and vendor of the year award winners. Speakers included John Merrill, Secretary of State
and Dr. Kevin Elko, Motivational Speaker.
Grocery stores in Alabama generate over $3.6 billion in annual sales. They provide over 25,000 stable, reliable jobs with over $750 million in annual wages paid. They pay in excess of $300 million in state and local taxes and Alabama food product sales have a $2 billion economic impact on Alabama’s economy.
More than 200 people attended the event at The Club to discuss the work of the Alabama Grocers Association in 2016 and those in the food, beverage and grocery profession here in Alabama.
“Each of these fine individuals hold a special place within the Alabama 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.”
Vendor of the Year
Vendor of the Year is Mr. Johnny Collins of Barber’s Dairy. Johnny Collins started his career in the grocery industry by sacking groceries at the Food Giant in Roebuck, Alabama. He also worked several summers as a helper on an ice cream truck at Barber’s, which led him to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. Johnny’s grandfather and mentor spent 45 years at Barber’s before he retired as VP, General Manager.
In 1995, the year his grandfather retired, Johnny started to work for the company. Over his 21-year career, Johnny has held the titles of Key Account Manager, Branch Manager, Division Manager, Sales Manager and his current position of General Manager. Johnny joined the Alabama Grocers Association in 2001 and has been an enormous asset to AGA.
Johnny is also proud to be one of the founding companies to start the Buy Alabama’s Best campaign 10 years ago. This campaign was formed to help promote products that are made, manufactured, produced or headquartered in the state of Alabama. Johnny truly has a love for this state and our industry.
Retailer of the Year
Retailer of the Year is Mr. Naseem Ajlouny of Piggly Wiggly. Naseem has worked in the grocery industry his entire life starting when he was at Ramsey High School stocking groceries in a local store after school.
By the time he was 16, he was running his uncle’s grocery store located behind the Birmingham International Airport. After 15 months of running the store, his uncle decided to move back to California and Naseem convinced his dad to buy the store. Within the first month he doubled the business of the store by adding additional shelving. After graduating high school, he bought a small store called Woodlawn Ice House. This store sold ice, beer, wine and snacks. In 1975, he remodeled the store and converted it into a convenient store.
In 1977, Naseem bought his first grocery store, Mundi’s Food Center on the Bessemer Super Highway. He convinced his father to sell their store behind the airport and his father and brother Basim came to work with him. In 1978, he doubled the size of Mundi’s and in 1979 he bought LaRocca’s Food Center store in Midfield.
In August of 1984, Naseem went to see Mr. Stanley Virciglio, who owned the Piggly Wiggly rights for Jefferson County. Naseem asked to join the Piggly Wiggly name and after the blessing from Stanley converted his then 3 stores to Piggly Wiggly’s. This began the growth of what is now an eleven store operation with their newest location in Crestline Village.
Naseem stays involved in several organizations. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company, sits on the Compass Bank Advisory Board and sits on the council and financial board for the Saint George Catholic Church. He is also a former member of the Alabama Grocers Association Board of Directors and has been a member of AGA since 1992.
Wholesaler of the Year
Wholesaler of the Year is Mr. Jack Carlile of Supervalu. Jack has been involved in the grocery industry since 1972 when he started as a bagger for Big Star Supermarket in high school in Cookeville, TN. He continued to work for the company for 6 years working his way through various positions until he graduated from college.
Jack continued his career in the grocery industry working for Wetterau, Inc. in Greenville, Kentucky as their produce buyer; Fleming Companies as Perishable Merchandising Manager in Johnson City, Tennessee; Food Lion as Area Supervisor in both Virginia and Tennessee and in 1994 Jack went to work for Supervalu. Jack started with Supervalu in Quincy, Florida as an account manager, moved to Kenosha, WI as Area Marketing Director and then in 2000 he moved to Atlanta, Georgia as Area Sales Director. Traveling is a requirement for his position as his territory includes Georgia, Alabama, Florida and the Caribbean.
Jack stays active in state associations throughout the Southeast. He serves on the Board of Directors at the Georgia Food Industry Association, is involved with the Florida Retailers Association and has been on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Grocers Association since 2012. Over the last 4 years, Jack has served on the AGA Convention Committee and Membership Committee.
Bagger of the Year
There are over 3,600 grocery baggers in Alabama. Four competed on Wednesday for the Alabama State Bagger of the Year, they are: Jerrico Everhart from Foodland in Guntersville; Denise Porter from Autry Greer & Sons, Inc. “Greers” Grocery in Pritchard; Angela Winters from Foodland in Tuscumbia; and Jamal Adams from Food Giant in Pinson. All four competitors were winners from their respective companies and thus allowed them to compete in the state competition.
The winner of the Alabama State Bagging Competition was Jerrico Everhard from Foodland in Guntersville, Alabama and will represent the state of Alabama at the National Grocers Association Competition in Las Vegas, NV on February 13, 2017.
About the Alabama Grocers Association: The Alabama Grocers Association is a state trade association representing the grocery retail industry since 1990. With over 125 retail members operating nearly 1,000 stores nationwide, as well as over 225 manufacturers, brokers, wholesalers and other members, the AGA is truly the voice of the industry in the state of Alabama. For more information please contact Ellie Smotherman Taylor at 205.823.5498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Senate debates new voting rights law Wednesday
WASHINGTON – Since the Supreme Court ended close federal oversight of elections in Alabama and some other states one year ago, discrimination against minority voters has crept back into place, voting rights advocates say.
“The result of that decision is that minority voters have been left without critically needed voting protections for an entire year,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony today that, because the Justice Department is no longer looking over their shoulder, several local and state governments around the country have restricted some people’s access to the ballot box.
Last year’s Supreme Court case said the formula used to determine which states needed extra supervision in conducting elections was outdated and no longer constitutional.
That decision, in a case filed by Shelby County, Alabama, effectively nullified the Voting Rights Act’s “pre-clearance” provision, which had required that all or parts of 14 states get advance permission from the Justice Department before making any changes in voting procedures.
“It is clear that political entities previously covered…
Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. (CST) on Friday August 1, 2014, and ending at twelve midnight on Sunday August 3, 2014, Alabama will hold its eighth annual sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers, and clothing free of state sales or use tax. Local sales and use tax may apply – see list of participating cities and counties.
Retailers are required to participate and may not charge tax on items that are legally tax-exempt during the Sales Tax Holiday.
- Sales Tax Holiday Quick Reference Sheet of Exempt Items
- Participating Cities & Counties
- Sales Tax Holiday for “Back-To-School” Rule 810-6-3-.65
- Sales Tax Holiday for “Back-To-School” Law
- Sales Tax Holiday Act No. 2006-574