The Alabama Grocers Association (AGA) held its annual Food Industry Finest Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 1, honoring its Wholesaler of the Year and Vendor of the Year award winners. Speakers included Gov. Kay Ivey; Congressman Gary Palmer, District 6; Commissioner John McMillan, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; Rick Pate, Candidate for commissioner, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; and Thom Singer, motivational speaker.
“Both of these fine individuals hold a special place within the Alabama grocery industry. They are committed to providing outstanding customer service, growth and stability in the Alabama market and serve as examples of excellence in the industry,” said Ellie Taylor, AGA president. “We are thankful for the opportunity to honor them and their commitment.”
Wholesaler of the Year
Danny Babb, AGA’s Wholesaler of the Year, began his grocery career at age 17 in Richmond, Kentucky, bagging groceries at Thornberry’s Supervalu.
Babb completed his education in business administration and moved on to a 10-year career in retail with Winn-Dixie in the Nashville area. In 1984 Babb had the opportunity to move to the wholesale side of the grocery industry with Malone and Hyde—which was acquired by Fleming— and for the last 15 years with Associated Wholesale Grocers. During that 34-year time frame he has served as a labor management specialist, retail counselor, customer service supervisor, HBC/GM group manager, director of training and new business development manager.
Babb has attended AGA’s conventions and events since early in his career and has served on AGA’s board of directors for nearly two years.
“We are honored to have so many amazing people in the grocery industry that care about their customers and the communities they serve. The two individuals we honored today all have a high standard and level of commitment to their companies and the people of Alabama,” said Frank D’Amico III of BTC Wholesale and chairman of AGA. “I congratulate both of them on receiving the Association’s highest honor.”
Vendor of the Year
AGA named Curtis Lyons is Vendor of the Year. Lyons began working for Flowers Baking Co. during summers while he was in college in the early ‘80s. He joined Flowers full-time in 1985 running his first bread route.
Through the years, Lyons has held a number of leadership positions, including district manager, sales manager, director of sales and now VP, a role he has held since 2005. Lyons attributes his success at Flowers to “hard work, his leadership abilities and extensive knowledge in the bread and grocery business,” says AGA.
“Curtis knows you cannot be successful without the team you build around you and is most proud of seeing the district managers he has been able to help develop and see promoted to vice presidents. Mentoring others has always been a passion for Curtis,” AGA added.
Lyons has served on the AGA’s board of directors for the last five years and has served on several AGA Committees.