The Alabama Grocers Association (AGA) recently held its 28th Annual Convention at the Sandestin Beach Resort in Destin, Florida. The association brought members from all aspects of the grocery industry together to promote the growth and success of the food industry throughout the state of Alabama.
The convention kicked off with the Larry D. Eddleman Sr. Golf Classic at the Baytowne Golf Club. First-place golf winners included Brent Buriff, Polk’s Meat; Johnny Collins and Manny Shoemaker, Dean Foods; and Ben Parr. The evening included a silent auction and casino party.
A silent auction and raffle chaired by Julie Goolsby of Hershey Foods was held Monday night, raising more than $30,000 for the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation. This year, the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation awarded 60 scholarships valued at more than $57,500, and to date has awarded more than 1.2 million dollars in total scholarships.
A business forum was held the following day and included keynote speaker Mac McCutcheon, speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, who gave a legislative overview. Michael Sansolo, longtime SVP of the Food Marketing Institute and an industry expert, addressed how conventional brick-and-mortar stores can compete with virtual stores in the demanding food industry market. Dr. Glenn Richey, Harbert eminent scholar in supply chain management, Auburn University, discussed his team’s findings relative to alcohol beverage sales in Alabama. Lastly, the day featured a panel by Brandon Hardin, food assistance division director, and Jimmy Wright, president, Wright’s Market, on the upcoming SNAP Pilot and the overall status of SNAP in Alabama.
Tuesday afternoon included an exhibit hall with more than 74 booths with vendors from all aspects of the grocery industry. AGA held the Alabama’s Best Bagger Contest, and Leah Claborn with Guntersville Foodland was the winner of the bagging contest. She will be going to the National Grocers Association Convention to compete on behalf of Alabama.
On Tuesday night, the Chairman’s Banquet featured former football star Cornelius Bennett. AGA announce the recipients of several awards, including the Spirit of Alabama Award, presented to Jimmy Wright of Wright’s Market for his dedication and leadership as an advocate for the food industry and his active involvement in the pursuit to eliminate food deserts in the state of Alabama.