by Peter J. Larkin/president and CEO, NGA
Special to The Shelby Report
Three decades ago, a new organization was created to represent the independent sector of the supermarket industry. Today, the National Grocers Association (NGA) remains the only national trade association exclusively focused on representing the independent sector of the food industry. Over the past 30 years a lot has changed in the industry, and yet NGA has not wavered from its mission: Ensuring independent, community-focused retailers and wholesalers have the opportunity to succeed and better serve their consumers through its policies, advocacy, programs and diverse services.
NGA was created on Oct. 1, 1982, by a merger of the independent grocers of the National Association of Retail Grocers and the food distribution executives of the Cooperative Food Distributors of America. The leaders of both organizations had foresight and a shared vision that the future of the independent sector was based upon a foundation of interdependence between retailers and wholesalers, as well as on collaboration with manufacturers and suppliers. Today, those principles still hold true, just as they did at NGA’s inception 30 years ago.
In 1983, NGA held its first Annual Convention in San Francisco. Today, thousands of independent retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, suppliers and industry experts continue that tradition each February at The NGA Show, “Where Independents Gather,” held in Las Vegas. Each year builds upon the past into what is recognized as the premier event for the independent sector of the supermarket industry.
As NGA celebrates its 30th anniversary, our organization also is clearly focused on the future by ensuring our members can grow their businesses and succeed in an ever-changing marketplace.
NGA’s Member Value Proposition Program continues to guide our association’s mission each and every day. We are proud that these efforts are having positive results for our industry and NGA, including welcoming more than 100 new members to the association over the past 12 months.
For decades, independent retail grocers and wholesalers have been the economic engines of their communities, standing fast in good times and bad. To identify the significant role independents play in the economy, NGA has embarked on a first-of-its-kind economic impact study—with sponsorship from The Shelby Report—to capture the extraordinary economic impact of the independent grocery channel on the food distribution system and on the nation’s economy. The results will measure data ranging from sales volume and employment figures to taxes paid and capital invested in local communities. We look forward to presenting the results at The NGA Show.
Thirty years ago, a group of industry leaders had the vision to create an organization solely dedicated to the independent grocery sector, and we are forever grateful for their leadership and commitment. Today, NGA and the independent sector continue to flourish because retailers and wholesalers are committed to promoting diversity in the marketplace and providing their consumers with choice in price, variety, quality, service and value. As I have traveled across this country, I’ve seen independents still winning the battle and succeeding in serving their customers, associates and their communities. The road ahead is bright, and NGA will continue our rich tradition of advocacy programs to support community-focused grocers as well as the wholesalers who supply them, while not forgetting our important history.
We look forward to continuing our celebration with the industry Feb. 10-13 in Las Vegas at The NGA Show. Find out more at www.thengashow.com.