The Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA) recognized several individuals and grocers as vendor of the year, retailer of the year and for community service.
Hal Blanton of Blanton’s IGA in Packwood, Washington, was named WFIA 2018-19 Retailer of the Year.
“Hal has been a strong supporter of training for his employees in this remote community where experience and prior time in the industry is hard to come by,” said Jan Gee, WFIA president and CEO. “Visit and walk through the store with Hal, and you’ll quickly see there are few customers that Hal does not know by their first name.”
“Hal is a treasure and we are so honored to recognize him this year for his longtime dedication and excellence as an independent grocer,” she said.
Rosauers President and CEO Jeff Philipps was presented with the WFIA Community Service Award April 17 at a surprise ceremony at the corporate office in Spokane.
“Jeff’s passion for community service is second to none—a commitment that is reflected in everything he does as both an industry leader and as a member of the Spokane community,” said Gee. “Although a very busy CEO, he always makes much time to participate in events that help those less fortunate in his community, whether it’s a food drive, charity walk or holiday event. Jeff has a heart of gold and truly cares about everyone. He is also a great leader, giving 100 percent to any task at hand, which is why we are so happy to present him with this award.”
Tim Harper and Ben Piatt of Franz Bakery received the WFIA 2018-19 Vendor of the Year award.
Harper serves as general manager of the Spokane division for the Portland, Oregon-based company. Piatt is the director of bakery operations—east division for Spokane and Montana. Both were recognized during a surprise visit to the Spokane bakery on April 17.
“Franz is a critical partner for every independent grocer across our state. In Eastern Washington, Tim, Ben and their staff have worked diligently to establish mutually beneficial relationships with their customers—our members—with not only the promise but the execution of outstanding service,” Gee said. “Franz is a family business and continues to operate as one today. The Franz team is comprised of many long-time employees who are always available and responsive to store-level needs. Tim and Ben and their entire team are always incredibly flexible and willing to do what is necessary to create success.”
These are several awards the WFIA announced recently. The Excellence in Safety Awards were presented to Harbor Wholesale Foods and Olympia Grocery Outlet last week.