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United Fresh Names 25 Retail Produce Manager Award Honorees

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Marking 17 years of recognizing exceptional retail produce managers, United Fresh Produce Association recently announced the honorees of its 2021 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. This year’s cohort of 25 produce managers represents supermarket banners, commissaries and independent retail stores from 21 different states and one Canadian province. 

The winners will be the honored guests during United Fresh 2021 this June.

Sponsored by Dole Food Co., the program pays special recognition to produce managers working every day on the front line to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since the program’s inception in 2005, more than 375 retail produce managers, representing more than 120 different retail banners, have been honored for their contributions to the industry.

“Produce managers are the face of our industry to the consumer. Their creative merchandising and positive approach to customer service directly correlates to the growth of sales and ultimately consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “We are grateful to Dole for once again sponsoring this program and for their partnership in recognizing these 25 deserving honorees. I look forward to celebrating our winners this June.”                                                                     

The 2021 Retail Produce Manager Award Winners are:

  • Fadi Abou-Ali, Metro Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada;
  • Toni Adams, Harps Food Stores Inc., Springdale, Arkansas;
  • Lee Anderson, Hy-Vee Inc., Omaha, Nebraska;
  • Bobby Andrake, Haggen Northwest Fresh, Olympia, Washington;
  • Chad Bays, Food City, Prestonburg, Kentucky;
  • William Blalock, The Kroger Co., Atlanta, Georgia;
  • Maria Broda, West Point Commissary, West Point, New York;
  • Jacqulyn Brodell, Meijer, Greenfield, Wisconsin;
  • Stephany Buonomano, Bob’s Windham IGA, Windham, Connecticut;
  • Mikaela Claude, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Las Vegas, Nevada ;
  • Tyler Christy, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Charlotte, North Carolina;
  • Chris Contakos, Price Chopper/Market 32 Supermarkets, Schenectady, New York;
  • Shawn Fast, Coborn’s Inc., Sauk Rapids, Minnesota;
  • Jessica Granier, Rouses Markets, Thibodaux, Louisiana;
  • Jesse Jordan, Fred Meyer, Bellingham, Washington;
  • Adam Kalurza, Jewel-Osco, Naperville, Illinois;
  • Jim Keller, Hornbacher’s Foods, Fargo, North Dakota;
  • Peter Kenney, Big Y Foods, Inc., Ludlow, Massachusetts;
  • AK Khalid, Giant Food Stores Inc., Front Royal, Virginia;
  • Karen O’Dell, Martin’s Super Market, Granger, Indiana;
  • Joe Ortiz, Brookshire Grocery Co., Monroe, Louisiana;
  • Apolinar Parra, Gelson’s Markets, Century City, California;
  • Dusty Taylor, Tops Friendly Markets, Amherst, New York;
  • John Truncale, Brattleboro Food Co-Op, Brattleboro, Vermont; and
  • Jeff Wilmes, Roth’s Fresh Market, Salem, Oregon.

“During the tumult of this past year, one consistency in every store was the fortitude of the frontline store workers. Every day, these dedicated individuals and the companies that they represent placed the needs of their customers as a top priority,” said Johan Linden, president and CEO of Dole Food Co. “The product knowledge and expertise that they share and advocate help all of us be successful. The United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Award program is an opportunity for Dole, and the broader industry, to say thank you for a year and a career of promoting produce.” 

This year’s winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry. Nominations were evaluated on several criteria, including efforts to increase produce consumption through excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to customer satisfaction.

All winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will be honored during United Fresh 2021. In addition to their awards, five grand prize recipients will each receive a $1,000 cash prize. 

Companies around the world will have the choice to do business at United Fresh 2021 in the heart of Los Angeles or from the comfort of their home or office. The event will offer participants the opportunity to make new business connections, discover the latest innovations in the fresh produce industry, find solutions to pressing business challenges and share in engaging education and dialogue. More information is available at unitedfreshshow.org.

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