The Alabama Grocers Association held its annual Food Industry Finest Luncheon this week, honoring its retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer and broker of the year award winners. More than 150 people attended the event at The Club in Birmingham to discuss the work of the Alabama Grocers Association in 2014 and those in the food, beverage and grocery business in the state.
“We are proud to have honored each of these fine individuals. They are an asset to the Alabama Grocers Association and to the grocery industry in the state of Alabama,” said Ellie Taylor, president of the Alabama Grocers Association. “We are lucky to have such a thriving industry in our great state and each of these individuals makes this possible.”
• Retailer of the Year: Wade Payne, director of retail operations at Mitchell Grocery’s retail division
This division is part of Mitchell Grocery Corp. and encompasses the banners of Food Giant, Foodland, Warehouse Discount Grocery and Super Dollar for a total of 32 stores that employ more than 1,250 people throughout the state.
• Wholesaler of the Year: Billy Leverett, VP of sales at Associated Grocers of the South
As one of the oldest grocery wholesale cooperatives in America, Associated Grocers of the South celebrated its 85th anniversary in 2013. The warehouse serves more than 300 independent grocers in a five-state area of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and the panhandle of Florida.
• Broker of the Year: Greg Phillips, recently retired from Advantage Sales and Marketing
Phillips is a distinguished Vietnam veteran having been awarded the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Advantage Sales and Marketing is a food brokerage firm leading the sales and marketing industry with a workforce of more than 38,000 associates generating more than $65 billion in sales.
• Manufacturer of the Year: John D. Fox Jr., regional VP at Moore’s Marinades and Sauces, a division of Fenwick Capital Group
Fenwick Capital Group is a private equity firm headquartered in Birmingham that focuses exclusively on investing in companies operating in the consumer packaged goods industry.
This year’s legislative panel focused on business tax issues. The panel included Speaker Mike Hubbard, Alabama House of Representatives, District 79; Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, Alabama House of Representatives, District 43; Sen. Jabo Waggoner, District 16; and Commissioner Julie P. Magee, Alabama Department of Revenue.
Find photos, including those of the award winners, here.