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California Perspective: Strength Comes In Unity

Ron Fong
Ron Fong

by Ron Fong/president and CEO, California Grocers Association

Have you ever stopped to closely look at a piece of rope? Like one, for example, used to tie a boat, or even a ship, to a dock?

It can actually be a little shocking. Because if you did, you would see that the big, bulky, strong rope keeping that vessel from floating away is nothing more than a collection of hundreds, sometimes thousands of fibers (some as fine as a piece of human hair) bound together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

In some ways, this realization can be a little disheartening (oh my. that big boat is being kept tied to the dock by a bunch of hairs!) as well as amazing (oh my, that big boat is being kept tied to the dock by a bunch of hairs!). But the strength of the rope actually speaks to the power of unity.

This theme of unity always comes to mind this time of year as we get closer to CGA’s annual Grocers Day at the Capitol, taking place this year on April 3. While our government relations team is always working the halls of power on behalf of grocers and others in our industry, this event is an opportunity for association members to come together and show the strength of our collective to legislators and their staffs here in Sacramento.

While every Grocers Day is important, many issues loom large for our industry this year, from fixing California’s ailing Beverage Container Recycling Program to seeking reform to the state’s shoplifting laws.

When our members come together, bound by a goal to raise awareness for our industry, they form a figurative rope with which to tie our issues to a prominent berth at the metaphorical docks of the legislature – where many ideas are tethered. Past Grocers Days have gone a long way towards keeping us visible in the crowded legislative marina, which has led to maintaining strong relationships with lawmakers as well as success in the execution of our agenda over the years.

If you are a CGA member and have never participated in Grocers Day before, I can’t recommend enough that you try and attend this year’s event. Not only will you learn more about the legislature and how their decisions are made, but you will also have an opportunity to teach legislators how their decisions impact the grocery industry.

Come join us in Sacramento this year to strengthen our rope and show how strong we are when we come together.

Fong became President and CEO of CGA in March 2008. A native Californian and a lawyer, he joined CGA after 12 years with the California Credit Union League (CCUL). At CGA, Fong serves as the association’s chief legislative and political advocate and ­oversees government relations, member services, convention and communication programs. He also is ­president of the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation (CGAEF). His grandfather started Carmichael Supermarket, the first grocery market in Carmichael, California, in 1941, and Fong worked in the ­grocery business as he grew up.

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