Last updated on October 22nd, 2014 at 12:00 pm
The Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA) last week presented its annual awards during a surprise ceremony that highlighted the many achievements of the state’s grocery industry.
Vashon Thriftway recognized with excellence award
Norm Mathews, owner of Vashon Thriftway, was presented with the 2014 Excellence in Operations Award by the WFIA.
“Norm has worked tirelessly to improve his store and better his community,” said Jan Gee, president and CEO of WFIA. “The Vashon Thriftway is a perfect example what our local industry strives to be. Norm has been an outstanding leader and his actions demonstrate his ongoing commitment to providing the best service and products available.”
Mathews began his career as a “box boy” with Tradewell stores in 1946. Within five years he was able to work his way into management. He later purchased Vashon Thriftway and has been active within his community. Mathews has been recognized by a number of organizations for his work, and his store regularly donates to Vashon schools, foods banks, youth sports and the Red Cross.
Candidates for the Excellence in Operations Award are nominated by WFIA members based on the store’s proven history to excel in the daily operations of the store, merchandising products and exceptional employee relations. The award also recognizes dedication to the prosperity, ethics and image of the independent grocery industry in that Norm Mathews is always open to help a fellow grocer with ideas to improve operations. Winners are chosen by the WFIA’s board of directors.
Paul Kapioski of West Seattle Thriftway receives Grocer of the Year Award
Paul Kapioski, owner and president of West Seattle Thriftway, was presented with the 2014 Grocer of the Year Award by the WFIA. The award recognizes Kapioski’s business leadership and community involvement.
“Paul is passionate about his store, his employees and the grocery industry, and his ongoing success clearly demonstrates that,” said Gee. “Paul has had an outstanding career and he embodies the very best of our industry. This award is well deserved.”
Kapioski began his career in the grocery industry at age 16 as a bagger for another local Thriftway store. By working his way into management he was eventually able to purchase his own Seattle-area store. Kapioski cares deeply about his employees, with nearly 70 percent having been with his stores for more than 10 years. The company also is involved in a number of local charities, including the King County Humane Society and Northwest Harvest, and provides a 1 percent cash-back program for community philanthropy.
Candidates for the Grocer of the Year Award are nominated by WFIA members based on their achievements within the independent grocery industry. Nominees must demonstrate a lifetime commitment to the prosperity, ethics and image of the local grocery industry. Winners are then chosen by the WFIA’s board of directors.
Darrington IGA honored with Community Service Award for Oso mudslide aid
Kevin and Randy Ashe, owners of Darrington IGA, were presented with the 2014 Community Service Award by WFIA. The Ashes and their store were honored for their support for victims, rescuers and the community at large during the Oso mudslide tragedy earlier this year.
“The Ashes and Darrington IGA represent the very best of our industry,” said Gee. “The Ashe brothers have demonstrated the unique opportunity that a local, community grocer has in serving as a hub of information, connection and a provider of safe and healthy food during a community crisis. The Ashe brothers exemplify what it means to be a ‘community’ business as they stepped up to every need of the community that they could possibly serve.”
In the wake of the Oso tragedy, Darrington IGA was quick to participate—providing food and water to survivors, and the rescue teams. The store remained active throughout the relief effort with many employees volunteering to be on the search teams. The Ashe brothers continue to give back. They held a fundraiser to help a small town in Colorado that also suffered through a landslide.
Candidates for the Public Service Award are nominated by WFIA members based on their dedication and support to their community. Nominees must also exemplify the highest standards of service in both business and community to positively influence and enhance the lives of others. Winners are then chosen by the WFIA’s board of directors.
D&S Enterprises of Chehalis given excellence award
D&S Enterprises, owner of Shop’n Kart at Yardbirds, Shop’n Kart at Fuller’s and 13th Street Market, was presented with the 2014 Excellence in Operations Award by the WFIA. President Darris McDaniel accepted the award.
“Mr. McDaniel and D&S Enterprises are role models for the local grocery industry,” said Gee. “We applaud him for his commitment to excellence and, most important, his dedication and involvement within the local community. This award is well deserved.”
Added Craig Gaylord, president of Fiesta Food and WFIA member, added, “The No. 1 reason I nominated Darris is his ability to stay in business against the big guys and through the recession and the local flooding. I also nominated him because he doesn’t have a big ego. When I opened up my store and I had only been in business for three months Darris wanted to learn more about what I was working on. He is always looking for ways to improve his business.”
McDaniel began his career in grocery industry at age 18 as a bagger. Within a year, he was promoted to management, and went on to become a store owner. He now owns three stores and continues to expand and stay involved in his community. His favorite community activity is the D&S Enterprises-hosted “Kid’s Day,” which creates a small carnival for all children, including free food and games.
Candidates for the Excellence in Operations Award are nominated by WFIA members based on their dedication to prosperity, ethics, and image of the independent grocery industry. Winners are then chosen by the WFIA’s board of directors.
Darigold named Vendor of the Year
Darigold VP of Consumer Products Shawn Campbell was awarded the 2014 Vendor of the Year Award by the WFIA. Campbell received the award in an impromptu presentation at the local dairy company’s Seattle headquarters.
“Darigold’s effective support of our local independent grocers springs from the fact that it is a Washington owned company and that they are a part of our community,” said Gee. “We’re very lucky to have a company like Darigold in our state. They are a fantastic model for other vendors.”
Darigold was founded in 1918 with five local dairy owners who came together to form a co-op. The company operates 10 plants that serve more than 500 independent dairy farm families. Currently, it is one of the largest dairy producers in the country with annual sales of approximately $2 billion. Darigold has consistently demonstrated a commitment to working with independent retailers and has been a WFIA member for many years.
Candidates for the Vendor of the Year Award are nominated by WFIA members based on their record of success in partnering with local independent grocers. Winners are chosen by the WFIA’s board of directors.