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NGA Presents Larkin Community Service Award To AGNE

NGA Show AGNE Peter Larkin award
Associated Grocers of New England won the Peter J. Larkin Community Service Award.

The 2020 NGA Show, the premier tradeshow for the independent supermarket industry, opened Sunday, Feb. 23, with a sold-out expo floor. The NGA Show, which runs through Feb. 25, will feature more than 60 educational sessions and more than 100 speakers discussing issues facing food retail.

“The NGA Show continues to grow, providing a place where independent grocers gather to network and learn best practices,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “Our team is excited about this year’s show and we look forward to further success as we move back to Las Vegas next year for the 2021 NGA Show.”

The show kicked off with a presentation from the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) titled “Independent Retail: What it takes to Thrive in the Age of ‘i’,” covering the top technology trends impacting retail in the future.

During the opening session, NGA presented Associated Grocers of New England (AGNE) with the inaugural Peter J. Larkin Community Service Award. The creation of the award was announced during the opening session at the 2019 NGA Show and is presented to an independent grocer or wholesaler company for their dedication and commitment to the community which they serve.

“AGNE’s commitment to serving their community and employees is a shining example for the independent grocery industry,” Ferrara said. “From their Helping Hands program that offers monetary assistance to employees unable to afford life essential bills to the volunteer committee that makes it easier for employees to find opportunities to give back, AGNE makes service to the community and each other part of their mission.”

The day closed with the opening keynote address—sponsored by The Kraft Heinz Co.—by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who provided insight into what made past presidents great leaders and how they overcame challenges that have shaped American history.

Additionally, during the event, the NGA Board of Directors, by recommendation of its nominating committee and subsequent vote by the NGA membership, announced the 2020 board of directors, officers and executive committee members, as well as the election of five new board members.

“These additions to the board of directors will bring keen insight on the industry that will help the organization enhance resources for our members,” Ferrara said. “I look forward to working with this team over the next year as we develop future strategies to strengthen NGA.”


Board of directors, officers and executive committee

  • Chair: Mike Stigers, UNFI;
  • Immediate Past Chair: Cheryl Sommer, Kaune’s Neighborhood Market;
  • Vice Chair: Ted Balistreri, Sendik’s Food Market;
  • Treasurer: David Smith, Associated Wholesale Grocers;
  • Secretary: Jeff Reagan, Wakefern Food Corp.;
  • At-Large: Kim Eskew, Harps Food Stores Inc.; Roger Lowe Jr., Lowe’s Supermarket; Richard Morgan Jr., North State Grocery Inc.; Jeff Reagan, Wakefern Food Corp.; Zulema Wiscovitch, Associated Supermarket Group; and John Derderian, Allegiance Retail Services.


Incoming board members

  • John Abbene, BRdata;
  • John Bole, Yoke’s Fresh Markets;
  • Emily Coborn, Coborn’s Inc.;
  • Dave Davis, Utah Food Industry Association;
  • Bob Jaskolski, T.A. Solberg Co. (Trigs);
  • Lauren Johnson, Newport Avenue Market; and
  • Amy Niemetscheck, Certco Inc.

NGA would like to thank these outgoing board members for their service: Terrie Baker, Baker’s IGA; Rudy Dory, Newport Avenue Market; Jesse Garcia, Post Consumer Brands; Jan Gee, Washington Food Industry Association; Tim Henderson, Henderson’s IGA; Daniel Shanahan, Buehler’s Fresh Foods; and Ray Sprinkle, URM Stores Inc.

Returning board members include: John Akins, Akins Market; Randy Arceneaux, Affiliated Foods Inc.; Jay Ard, The Coca-Cola Co.; Neal Berube, Associated Food Stores Inc.; Jennifer Bosma, Harvest Market; Kimberly M. Brackett, Brackett’s Market IGA; Trent Brookshire, Brookshire Grocery Co.; Amy Kirtland, KeHE Distributors; Joe Cavaliere, C&S Wholesaler; Dave Conroy, Fiserv; Ron Graff Jr., Columbiana Foods Inc.; Neil Greenstein, Brookdale/Newark ShopRite; Winston Griffin, Laurel Grocery Co.; Steve Heggelke, Bozzuto’s Inc.;  Michelle Hurd, Iowa Grocery Industry Association; Paula Janssen, Janssens Fine Foods; Reed Kessler, Kessler’s Inc.; Kristi Magnuson Nelson, Hugo’s Family Marketplace; Bob McTeir, Merchants Distributors LLC; Brian Moyer, Freshop; Pete Najjar, Cardiff Seaside Market; Michael Needler Jr.,Fresh Encounter Inc.; Tony Patrignelli, Unilever; Eligio Pena, Compare Foods; Lori Raya, SpartanNash Co.; Kevin Proctor, Save-A-Lot; Gary Redner, Redner’s Markets; Art Rosenberg, PepsiCo Inc.; Jeff Strack, Strack & Van Til; Michael J. Violette, Associated Grocers of New England Inc.; and Joe Wolf, Alliance Retail Group.

Ex-officio members are: Carole F. Bitter, Ph.D, Friedman’s Freshmarkets; J.H. Campbell Jr., Associated Grocers Inc.; Chris Coborn, Coborn’s Inc.; Michael S. Needler Sr., Fresh Encounter; John Ross, IGA Inc.; Steve Smith, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc.; Joe Sheridan, Wakefern Food Corp.; and Rich Nieman, Nieman Foods Inc.

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