Last updated on July 30th, 2015 at 04:38 pm
This year’s Missouri Grocers Association (MGA) Annual Convention & Merchandising Show was moved to another venue—Osage Beach—and a different month. Dan Shaul, MGA state director, and Balls Food Stores COO Mike Beal, new president of the MGA’s board, said both factors had a role in the event’s success.
“This year, we moved the convention from Branson, Missouri, which is southwest, to the middle part of the state, which I think has been a great benefit,” Shaul told The Shelby Report’s Geoff Welch.
“This is our first time back in the Ozarks in probably about four or five years, and the turnout has been great,” Beal said. “It’s a great place for families to come and grocers to come. Also, I think the timing worked well, with us this year having it in July instead of late in August, when a lot of school districts are back in school and it’s harder to get kids out.”
The number of retailers, exhibitors and attendees all increased this year.
“It has been much more lively,” Shaul said.
The annual show is the venue for the state best bagger competition. Rebecca Flynn, Cosentino’s Price Chopper in Lee’s Summit was the overall winner. MGA holds a junior best bagger contest for children as well.
Shaul, who also is a state representative, got to compete against a candidate running to be the next governor of Missouri, Katherine Hanaway. She is the first female speaker of the Missouri house. She was one of four gubernatorial candidates in attendance at some point during the MGA convention and show.
“Our members are more politically active than ever, and I think they feel as though they can really make a difference now, and that’s what it’s all about,” Shaul said.
Things literally got lively when thunderstorms rolled in just before a pool party.
“We had to move a party inside with an hour and 15-minute notice and it was amazing to watch the team work,” Shaul said. “The MGA team and the board members came together with the hotel staff, and we put on probably a better event than we would have had outside. It’s great to work with great people that have great people skills, and I know I’ve used the word ‘great’ too many times, but it’s a true pleasure to work for the Missouri grocers.”
Beal said there was a lot of enthusiasm at the show, and that carried over despite issues caused by weather.
“We had as much fun inside at the pool party as what we would have expected outside, and it was just fun to see everybody having a good time,” Beal said.
Go here to see photos from the show.