Last updated on February 5th, 2015 at 04:13 pm
Rudy and Debbie Dory and their daughter Lauren Johnson—owners of Newport Avenue Market in Bend, Oregon—received the 2015 “Ben Schwartz Retail Grocery Visionary Award” from Unified Grocers at a special awards dinner Tuesday in Los Angeles. This is the 10th year that Unified has presented the award to an outstanding independent retailer.
“It’s an honor to receive this prestigious award and I’m proud that Newport Avenue Market is the first single-store recipient,” said Rudy Dory.
In presenting the award, Bob Ling, president and CEO of Unified Grocers, said that Newport Avenue Market has thrived because it’s a reflection of the Dory family.
“Rudy, Debbie and Lauren are committed not only to their customers and their staff but also to the local community and that’s reflected in their many successes over the years,” said Ling. “Their passion to create a unique shopping experience is clearly evident as you walk through the store. Innovation, quality and a friendly, knowledgeable staff are central to the success of Newport Avenue Market and that’s why customers come from near and far.”
The annual award is named after Ben Schwartz, a former Unified board chairman. Schwartz attended the awards dinner.
The award is given to an independent retail grocer or grocery company that is a leader and innovator in the retail grocery industry. The award recognizes retailers who, by their practice and example, have consistently demonstrated initiative, creativity and leadership within their businesses and, in the process, have inspired others to think and act creatively and with passion in the grocery field. To be eligible, retailers must be—or have been—a member of Unified Grocers or one of its predecessor companies.
“The award carries the name of a true retail visionary,” Ling said. “The idea behind it is to recognize someone in our retail community who exemplifies the spirit and character Ben Schwartz demonstrated throughout his long career. We’re proud to give this award to the Dory family. Newport Avenue Market is a great store and the best is yet to come.”
In addition to the award that was presented to Newport Avenue Market, a duplicate is on permanent display in the lobby of Unified’s headquarters building in Commerce, California. A plaque recognizing Newport Avenue Market as the 2015 winner has been added to the permanent award.
Three retailers elected to Unified’s board of directors
In other Unified news, three retailers have been elected to the company’s board of directors. Vache Fermanian, co-owner of B&V Enterprises Inc.; Rob McDougall, president and CEO of Gelson’s Markets; and Greg Saar, president and CEO of Saar’s Inc. were elected during a company board meeting Feb. 4.
“We are extremely pleased to have three very successful and talented retailers join our board,” said Richard E. Goodspeed, board chairman. “They bring many years of grocery industry experience and retail expertise to our board. Their wealth of knowledge gained from running stores of various formats and sizes will benefit the board and strengthen its overall composition.”
Added Unified President and CEO Bob Ling, “We are pleased to welcome Vache, Rob and Greg to the board of directors. The quality and strength of their retail organizations reflect their leadership skills and they will be strong representatives for all of Unified’s owners.”
Vache Fermanian is co-founder of Super King Markets, a family-owned chain of six Southern California grocery stores founded in 1993 in Anaheim. Over the years, Super King Markets have become recognized for their array of high-quality international foods, low prices and excellent service.
Rob McDougall has been in the grocery industry for more than 40 years. He joined Gelson’s Markets in 2007 and assumed leadership of the company in January 2012. Gelson’s Markets is a chain of 18 Southern California supermarkets founded in 1951 that prides itself on quality and unmatched customer service.
Greg Saar owns eight supermarkets in the Puget Sound region operating under the Saar’s Market Place and Saar’s Super Saver Foods banners. He opened his first store in 1988 in Oak Harbor, Washington, and has continued to grow the business with a focus on value and meeting the diverse needs of the communities surrounding his stores.