18-Year-Old Kroger Bagger Crowned Georgia’s Best

Kroger Atlanta President Bruce Lucia congratulates Elijah Allahdem of store No. 619 in Griffin, who was recognized as Georgia's best bagger July 13.

Kroger Atlanta President Bruce Lucia congratulates Elijah Allahdem of store No. 619 in Griffin, who was recognized as Georgia's best bagger July 13.

Elijah Allahdem, an 18-year-old who works at Kroger No. 619 at 1524 Highway 16 West in Griffin, has taken home Georgia’s Best Bagger title. Allahdem beat out three other grocery baggers during two rounds of competition Thursday evening during the 2017 Georgia Food Industry Association (GFIA) Convention’s opening night party at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Miramar, Florida. It was a tough competition, with Lawrence Buchanan of Quality Foods coming in a close second. Other competitors included Drew Asher of Food City and Chandler Wyatt of Publix.

Allahdem, who was cheered on during the competition by his family, friends, co-workers and company leadership, has worked at Kroger since March 2016. He told The Shelby Report following his win that he practiced for the competition “five to six days a week, a couple of hours a day.”

Competitors were judged on a number of criteria, including speed of bagging and weight distribution among the bags.

In addition to a $2,000 cash prize, Allahdem will go on to compete nationally in Las Vegas in February.

Allahdem said he plans to continue to practice in preparation for that competition. In the meantime, he plans to put his winnings from the Georgia competition toward his college education. He will begin his studies at Gordon State College this fall and plans to become a nurse practitioner. His hobbies include sports, swimming and big trucks.

“We’re so proud of Elijah for his accomplishment and wish him well as he proceeds to the National Grocer Association’s competition,” said Felix Turner, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Atlanta Division. “Elijah has exceptional talents, and is a great example of Kroger’s commitment to deliver high-quality service to our customers.”

The GFIA Best Bagger Contest was sponsored by Bunzl, the GFIA Education Foundation and Western Union.

Best bagger competitors included Chandler Wyatt of Publix, Elijah Allahdem of Kroger, Lawrence Buchanan of Quality Foods and Drew Asher of Food City.
Best bagger competitors included Chandler Wyatt of Publix, Elijah Allahdem of Kroger, Lawrence Buchanan of Quality Foods and Drew Asher of Food City.

About The Author

A former newspaper editor and publisher who has handled digital duties for The Shelby Report since 2011. She once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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