ALABAMA GROCERS ASSOCIATION GIVES ANNUAL YEAR AWARDS AND HOSTS LEGISLATIVE SPEAKERS AT FOOD INDUSTRY FINEST LUNCHEON
BIRMINGHAM, AL—The Alabama Grocers Association held their annual Food Industry Finest Luncheon on Thursday, November 1st honoring their wholesaler and vendor of the year award winners. Speakers included Governor Kay Ivey;
Congressman Gary Palmer, District 6;
Commissioner John McMillan, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries;
Rick Pate, Candidate for Commissioner, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries;
and Thom Singer, Motivational Speaker.
The food retail industry in Alabama provides of 69,000 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 dollars.
More than 150 people attended the event at The Club to discuss the work of the Alabama Grocers Association in 2018 and those in the food, beverage and grocery profession here in Alabama.
“Both of these fine individuals hold a special place within the Alabama grocery industry. They are committed to providing outstanding customer service, growth and stability in the Alabama market and serve as examples of excellence in the industry,” said Ellie Taylor, President Alabama Grocers Association. “We are thankful for the opportunity to honor them and their commitment.”
Vendor of the Year
Curtis Lyons was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida to Ruth & Curtis Lyons, Sr. In 1983 he attended Clark College on a football scholarship where he played tailback and ran track, majoring in Education. During summers Curtis worked for Flowers Baking Company as company extra man to make money paying for rent and living expenses.
Halfway through his senior year, with his eyes set on the NFL, God had other plans for Curtis. He tore his knee, ending his football career. Not getting discouraged, Curtis turned to his part time job and in 1985 joined Flowers Baking Company full time running his first bread route. Through the Years Curtis has held positions throughout the company such as District Manager, Sales Manager, Director of Sales and the title he most coveted, Vice President, which he has held since 2005. He contributes achieving his current position through hard work, his leadership abilities and extensive knowledge in the bread and grocery business. Curtis knows you cannot be successful without the team you build around you and is most proud of seeing the District Managers he has been able to help develop and see promoted to Vice Presidents. Mentoring others has always been a passion for Curtis.
Family is a huge part of his life and Curtis feels very blessed with a supportive family. His first wife, Lisa of 22 years gave him 2 amazing children Ashley and Curtis, III and his current wife Deirdre of 6 years has a remarkable son Winston. Some of his favorite time is when the entire family gets together and spends the holiday together as one unit.
Curtis has served on the Alabama Grocers Association Board of Directors for the last 5 years and has served on several AGA Committees. In 2015 Curtis was honored with the Spirit Award at Flowers Foods.
In his spare time Curtis loves sports, running, cycling, golfing and anything that keeps him motivated or spending time with his family and community.
Wholesaler of the Year
Danny Babb began his grocery career at age 17 in Richmond, Kentucky bagging groceries at Thornberry’s SuperValu.
He learned a lot of valuable lessons at Thornberry’s. Be on time, greet and thank the customers and if you work hard and learn to run the cash register you could get a nickel per hour raise! Other lessons learned were that just because you become the shift manager, not everyone will do what you say and not every pretty girl who wants to cash a $100 check can be trusted. With these lessons, Danny took his lessons to Winn-Dixie as he completed his education in Business Administration at Eastern Kentucky University.
Danny moved on to a 10-year career in retail with Winn-Dixie in the Nashville area which was a fantastic launching pad for the rest of his career. Winn-Dixie is also where he met his wife of 30 years, Helen, a former Proctor and Gamble representative. In 1984 Danny had the opportunity to move to the wholesale side of the grocery industry with Malone and Hyde, which was acquired by Fleming and for the last 15 years Associated Wholesale Grocers. During that 34-year time frame he has served as a labor management specialist, retail counselor, customer service supervisor, HBC/GM Group Manager, Director of Training and New Business Development Manager.
Danny has attended Alabama Grocers Association Conventions and events since early in his career and has served on the AGA Board of Directors for nearly two years.
Danny and his wife Helen have two children, Meredith (25) and Neal (23). Meredith lives and works in NYC for Universal McCann advertising agency and Neal, a Mary G Hardin scholarship recipient is a Senior at South Eastern Louisiana University.
“We are honored to have so many amazing people in the grocery industry that care about their customers and the communities they serve. The two individuals we honored today all have a high standard and level of commitment to their companies and the people of Alabama,” said Frank D’Amico, III of BTC Wholesale and Chairman of the Alabama Grocers Association. “I congratulate both of them on receiving the Associations highest honor”.
The Alabama Grocers Education Foundation held its Annual Fall Golf Outing on Thursday, October 18, 2018 at Inverness Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama. This tournament raised funds for the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation. The Alabama Grocers Education Foundation provides scholarships to employees and children of employees of Alabama Grocers Association companies and funds a Tuition Reimbursement Program that helps current AGA member employees further their grocery careers by taking needed educational classes. 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: Bill Davis, Ken Herron, Robert Burnett and Ben Parr of A&R Super Markets.
Second Place Team: Morgan Hollifield of Five Hour Energy; Jimmy Clark of Crown Poly and Cory McGuffie of D&T Sales.
Third Place Team: Wade Payne of Food Giant Supermarkets; David D’Amico of BTC Wholesale Distributors; Chris Crosby of UTZ/Golden Flake; and Marshall Epply of BTC Wholesale Distributors.
Closest to the Pin: Ken Herron of A&R Supermarkets.
Longest Drive: Bill Nabors of EdLinco.
The Alabama Grocers Education Foundation Golf Outings would not be as successful without the many companies that sponsored this event and contributed their goods. The sponsors of the AGEF 2018 Fall Tournament included 5 Hour Energy, A&R Super Markets, Advantage Solutions/PictSweet, Alabama Power Company, Associated Grocers of the South, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Bevco Beverages, BTC Wholesale Distributors, Buffalo Rock Pepsi Cola Co, Bunzl Distribution, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United, Inc., D&T Sales, Dean Foods, Edlinco, Federated Insurance, Frito-Lay, Frozen Specialties, Ice Cream Specialties, Merrill Lynch, Mitchell Grocery Corporation, Orchids Paper Company, Piggly Wiggly Alabama Dist., Publix Super Markets Charities, Red Diamond Coffee & Tea, SuperValu, Inc., United Johnson Brothers and UTZ/Golden Flake.
The Companies that donated their products for this golf outing include: 5 Hour Energy, Advantage Solutions, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Associated Wholesale Grocers, Barber’s Dairy, Birmingham Budweiser, Bud’s Best Cookies, Buffalo Rock Pepsi Cola Co., Campbell Snacks, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United, Inc., Community Coffee, D&T Sales & Marketing, Eternal Water, Federated Insurance, Ferrero USA, Flowers Baking Company, Frito-Lay, Ghost Train Brewery, Maplehurst, Mars Wrigley Confectionary, Merrill Lynch, Milo’s Tea, Mitchell Grocery Corporation, Mrs. Stratton’s Salads, Peake & Associates, PictSweet, Post Consumer Brands, Red Diamond Coffee & Tea, Sahale Snacks, Sister Schubert Rolls, The Father’s Table, UTZ /Golden Flake and Vietti Foods, Inc.
Please go ahead and mark your calendars for the 2019 dates which are: AGEF Spring Golf Outing, April 4, 2019 at Inverness Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama; AGA Annual Convention, July 29-31st at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, Florida; AGEF Fall Golf Outing, October 24, 2019 at Inverness Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama and the Alabama’s Food Industry Finest, October 30th at The Club in Birmingham, Alabama.
AGA WORK ON HEALTHY FOOD FINANCING TO BECOME A REALITY
On Wednesday, April 4th, Governor Kay Ivey awarded a total of $300,000 in grants to provide primarily low-income persons and senior citizens with improved access to healthy and fresh foods. These grants stemmed from the work of our Association, Voices for Alabama’s Children, and the Joseph S. Bruno Foundation and a Food Summit, held in November 2014 to discuss the possibility of Healthy Food Financing in Alabama and how we could use a variety of tools to bring this to our state. Through research and working with The Food Trust a report was created showing over 1,8 million Alabama residents, including nearly half a million children live in lower-income communities underserved by grocery stores.
All this pre-work served as the catalyst to SB260, the Healthy Food Financing Act, Sponsored by Senator Greg Reed, which passed in the 2015 Legislative Session, which provided the vehicle for private and public funding and was to be housed under the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Projects eligible for financing include construction of new grocery stores as well as store renovations, expansion and infrastructure upgrades that improve the ability and quality of fresh produce and other healthy foods. Financing can be used for site acquisition and preparation, construction and build-out costs, equipment and furnishings, workforce training and security, pre-development costs such as market studies and appraisals, energy efficiency measures and working capital for first-time inventory and start-up costs.
In 2016, we passed SJR105, the Healthy Food Financing Study Commission to report to the Legislature on the need for funding. We know that in addition to increasing families’ access to healthy foods, new and improved grocery stores can help revitalize lower-income neighborhoods by generating foot traffic and will attract complementary services such as banks, pharmacies and restaurants, thus reducing poverty and crime. It also creates and maintains local jobs through new hiring opportunities and provides upgrades and renovations that help keep stores viable, helping to retain existing jobs in local communities.
Out of the $300,000 that was awarded, $110,000 was awarded to the grocery community. Click here to see the Governor’s Press Release and the full list of winners.
Congratulations to our AGA Member Winners –
- Peoples Piggly Wiggly of Cherokee – $50,000 to renovate and upgrade equipment to reopen a grocery store. The need for the store is in response to the closing of the town’s only grocery store in 2017, requiring residents to travel about 40 miles round-trip to obtain a full-line of groceries including fruits, vegetables and meats.
- Wright’s Markets Inc. of Opelika – $60,000 to customize two vans to expand its Wright 2 U Online Shopping and Delivery program in Lee and Russell counties.