The National Grocers Association (NGA) Show closed March 27 with 3,500 industry professionals in attendance for the three-day event, held for the first time in San Diego, California. The annual trade show and conference brought together independent retailers and wholesalers, food retail industry executives, food/CPG manufacturers and service providers from all 50 states to learn, engage, share, network and innovate.
This was the first time the show was produced and managed by Clarion UX as part of the Food and Beverage Portfolio in partnership with the NGA.
“We started this partnership with Clarion UX a year ago and couldn’t be prouder of all we accomplished together to produce an exciting and thought-provoking trade show and conference in the great city of San Diego,” said Peter Larkin, president and CEO of NGA. “We thank our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, attendees, media partners, supporting organizations and partners who helped to make the 2019 NGA Show a huge success. We’ve already received such positive feedback on the content in the education sessions and the top-level thought leaders from across the industry who shared insightful ideas on how grocers can grow their business and better serve their communities.”
Highlights of the event included:
• The exhibit hall, which was 20 percent larger than the event in 2018, offered new products and innovations from nearly 400 exhibiting companies covering more than 55,000 s.f. There were many new exhibitors who participated to make this the largest exhibit hall in the NGA Show history.
• A new Match! program, where Clarion UX staff arranged more than 300 meetings between retailers and wholesalers with participating exhibitors and suppliers.
• The Opening Keynote Session featuring former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and renowned political strategist Donna Brazile, who offered their opinions on the Trump administration, the current state of Congress and the 2020 election.
Several awards were presented including:
- The Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Excellence Award to Trygve (Trig) Solberg of T.A. Solberg Company Inc. This award, named after NGA’s first president and CEO, is one of the most prestigious honors awarded to independent grocers;
- WGA Women of the Year Award to Jan Gee, president and CEO of the Washington Food Industry Association;
- The Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award to Rudy Dory of Newport Avenue Market, in Bend, Oregon;
- Iowa’s Dwayne Campbell of Hy-Vee defeated 22 other best bagger competitors from across the nation to claim the title Best Bagger Champion and a grand prize of $10,000;
- Cecil K’s and Coborn’s earned top honors at the annual NGA Creative Choice Awards. Cecil K’s Hometown Market was presented with the Outstanding Marketer Award and Coborn’s took home the award for Outstanding Merchandiser;
- First place of the Student Case Study Competition went to St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The education program expanded to offer 60 sessions with more than 100 subject matter experts who spoke on a variety of important topics, including people development, finances, focus on fresh, sustainable strategies, tech trends, operating for excellence, family business succession planning, e-commerce, omnichannel marketing, foodservice, merchandising and more.
At the end of the show, the San Diego Rescue Mission picked up 13,000 of pounds of food and beverages to help feed meals to the men, women and children in need in San Diego.
More than 45 percent of the show floor already has been sold for the 2020 NGA Show, which will be held Feb. 23-26 back at the San Diego Convention Center.