“The importance of this merger cannot be overstated,” said Ronald Fong, CGA president and CEO. “The combining of these two great associations will significantly strengthen the industry’s advocacy efforts at both the state and local levels, while providing greater member services to an even more diverse group of grocery retailers and suppliers.”
Each association has served California’s grocery industry for more than 100 years. CGA represents more than 80 percent of California’s grocery industry, including retail grocery chains, independents, wholesalers, brokers and suppliers. CIGA is comprised of independent grocery store owners operating throughout Northern and Central California.
This is the second merger for CGA in the past 22 years. The Southern California Grocers Association merged with CGA in 1992.
“We warmly welcome our new members from CIGA. Combining our efforts and resources allows the association to better serve grocery retailers throughout California, both large and small,” said CGA Chair Mary Kasper of Fresh & Easy. “More retailers will have access to the resources needed to operate in California’s complex regulatory and legislative environment.”
In addition, Kasper says, the merger expands the association’s diverse membership, brings uniformity to industry messaging and makes CGA even more responsive to industry changes and challenges.
“By merging these two associations,” Kasper said, “CGA firmly establishes itself as the premier voice of California grocery retailers and suppliers. The grocery community is one of the state’s largest employers, and we proudly serve our neighborhoods in many different ways. We look forward to working with and learning from our CIGA colleagues. This merger sends a clear message we are strong and united.”
Added CIGA Executive Committee Chair Bob Parriott of Twain Harte Market in Twain Harte, Calif., “The grocery industry is a vital component of local communities throughout California. By joining these two long-established grocery organizations we will greatly increase our sphere of influence in state and local government.”
CGA has long recognized the critical role independents play in its advocacy efforts, according to immediate past CGA Chair Kevin Davis of Bristol Farms, noting nearly 80 percent of CGA’s member companies are independents.
“As an independent grocer myself, I know that when local, family-owned grocery store owners speak, elected officials are more apt to listen,” he said. “CGA has a very strong advocacy program. Merging the two associations will only serve to strengthen its efforts.”
CGA will retain several CIGA signature programs, including its coupon redemption company, annual educational conference and annual golf tournament.
CIGA President Jeff Snadow will join the CGA executive team and will focus on the association’s for-profit company, along with programming tailored to independent retailers. Fong will continue to serve as president and CEO of the combined entity.
“We are very excited at this opportunity to unite associations,” Snadow said. “This merger is of tremendous benefit to the independent grocer who now has access to many additional industry-related programs.”
“CIGA diligently served the independent retail community for many decades, as has CGA,” Fong said. “Our new members will have access to CGA’s robust suite of membership services, including an expanded government relations advocacy, multi-information channels, numerous networking events and our educational foundation, which provides college scholarships and tuition reimbursement for CGA members.”