The National Grocers Association, the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, has recognized Jimmy Wright with the Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award, NGA’s highest award for government relations.
Wright, president of Wright’s Market in Opelika, Alabama, received the award July 26 during the Alabama Grocers Association 2021 Convention at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, Florida.
“Jimmy Wright embodies the finest qualities of servant leadership among independent community grocers,” said NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara. “His efforts to educate our nation’s leaders on the importance of independent community grocers to the country, including presenting testimony before the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture committees, has helped propel NGA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of its members. Jimmy’s unique ability to bring the perspective of a forward-thinking single-store operator has had a profound positive impact on our industry by helping elected officials understand firsthand how policies and proposals impact independent community grocers.”
In September 2020, Wright testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business on behalf of NGA, to discuss the effects of the pandemic on food businesses in a hearing titled, “How COVID-19 Is Impacting Small Businesses Across the Food System.” In his testimony, Wright called out how the pandemic has demonstrated a tilt in the economic playing field against small independent operators in several ways: lack of antitrust enforcement, dominance of power buyers in the marketplace, and limited ability to sell products to SNAP customers online.
He also represented independent grocers before the Senate Agriculture Committee in 2017 in its deliberations around the 2018 Farm Bill.
In addition to his work with NGA, Wright is a member of the boards of directors of the Alabama Grocers Association and Alabama Retail Association, and previously served on the NGA Board of Directors. He currently serves on NGA’s Government Relations Committee and regularly joins NGA during its Washington fly-ins to press the case in Congress for the independent grocer.
Wright began his grocery career in 1973 at age 12 as a bagger at the Opelika store his father managed, which Wright has owned since 1997.
Initiated in 1982, the Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award is NGA’s most distinguished government relations award that is presented to an individual or company whose leadership in the food industry best exemplifies active and effective participation in government relations as a citizen and industry representative. The award’s namesake, Clarence Adamy, was a past president of the National Association of Food Chains and was very active in public and government affairs, having served as patronage chief and personnel director of the Republican National Committee during the Eisenhower administration.
A list of past award recipients can be found at nationalgrocers.org/nga-awards/.
Also recognized at the AGA annual convention was Alabama State Sen. Jabo Waggoner, who received the NGA Spirit of America Award. AGA presented the award to Waggoner for his commitment to the independent grocery industry.
“Senator Waggoner has worked tirelessly for the grocery industry and business community in Alabama. This award represents his unwavering support of pro-business legislation that allows our members to continue to grow and prosper,” said Ellie Taylor, president of the Alabama Grocers Association. “It is also in appreciation of his active and effective participation in the ‘Buy Alabama’s Best’ Campaign and as an advocate for products made, manufactured, produced or headquartered in our great state.”
Established in 1982, the NGA Spirit of America Award honors key industry and community leaders in the areas of community service and government relations on behalf of the independent supermarket industry. NGA has presented this award to distinguished individuals who serve the grocery industry and the public interest, including Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
Washington, D.C.-based NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats.
The independent grocery sector is accountable for about 1.2 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating more than $250 billion in sales, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages and $36 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers located in every congressional district across the country, as well as state grocers’ associations, manufacturers and service suppliers.
For more information about NGA, visit nationalgrocers.org.