Each year, the Georgia Food Industry Association (GFIA) recognizes a leader with its Legacy Award. This year, however, the group presented a different honor—a Lifetime Achievement Award. Its recipient—Anderson Dilworth, the 87-year-old president of Dill’s Food City, which operates four stores in Royston, Lavonia and Hiawassee.Dilworth is known for cultivating relationships with state legislators and decision makers, according to GFIA President Kathy Kuzava, who said Dilworth understands the “importance of building relationships with legislators before an issue arises.”
Dilworth was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday by State Sen. John Wilkinson and State Sen. Jack Hill during the GFIA 2017 Convention.“He is the epitome of what a small business owner should be,” Wilkinson said of Dilworth, who opened his first store in 1955. Dilworth—alongside his wife of nearly 65 years, Joel, and his family—have run the business ever since. Dilworth, in fact, continues to go to work each day. He will celebrate his 88th birthday next month.“This is a good business—good friends, and it’s been very good to my family,” he told The Shelby Report after receiving the award.Dilworth is a longtime GFIA member and leader. He has received numerous honors over the years, including GFIA’s Legacy Award. In 1971, he was recognized as the Georgia Grocer of the Year and also was the first retail grocer to receive the Alfred Dorman Wholesaler Award presented by GFIA.Dilworth recently was recognized through Senate Resolution 218 for “his lifelong service within his community and state.”
“Anderson’s significant organizational and leadership talents, his remarkable patience and diplomacy, his keen sense of vision, and his sensitivity to the needs of the citizens of this state have earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and associates,” according to the resolution, which calls Dilworth a “remarkable and distinguished Georgian.”
Dilworth has served as president of the Royston Lions Club, where he received the Melvin Jones Fellow Award, and has served as secretary and treasurer of the Royston/Franklin Springs Chamber of Commerce. He has served as mayor of Royston and served in the Georgia Legislature during Gov. Ernest Vandiver’s term. He also served on Gov. Zell Miller’s Commission of Effectiveness and Economy in Government.
Dilworth received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Piedmont College and soon after served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict, receiving the rank 5 of sergeant.
Dilworth has three children, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter and is a member of Royston First United Methodist Church.
In addition, Saturday evening saw Mike Coggins, leader of the Atlanta division of Sherwood Food Distributors, take over as GFIA chairman from Jeff Downing, owner of Foothills IGA in Marble Hill.
Other convention news
The 2017 GFIA Convention wrapped up at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Florida on Saturday.
The convention hosted its annual trade show Saturday afternoon. Booth winners were: single booth—Kraft Heinz; and multiple booths—Coca-Cola.
The convention also raised $71,000 for the GFIA Education Foundation through both a silent and live auction. Since its inception in 1995, the foundation has awarded nearly $2 million in scholarships.
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.