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Hy-Vee’s Miller Wins 2021 NGA Best Bagger Championship

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Shown, from left, are Cub Foods CEO and NGA Chairman Mike Stigers, PepsiCo’s Kent Montgomery and Christopher Yemma, Hy-Vee’s Ben Miller and NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara.

Ben Miller from Iowa grocery retailer Hy-Vee defeated nine other contestants in the Best Bagger Championship, sponsored by PepsiCo, Sept. 20 during The NGA Show at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

This is the 35th year that NGA hosted the Best Bagger Championship, which brings together the best grocery baggers from across the country for a chance to compete for the grand prize of $10,000. Contestants are judged by speed of bagging, technique, weight distribution in the bag and style.

 “Each year during The NGA Show, we host the Best Bagger Championship, a unique event that highlights the important customer service skill of bagging in a fun atmosphere, with friends and family of the baggers joining to cheer on these supermarket superheroes. We also livestreamed on NGA’s Facebook page for those who could not make it,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “Over the past year, America’s grocers have been on the front lines, continuing to serve their communities. I see this event not only as a celebration of our baggers but our entire industry. I congratulate Ben Miller and look forward to seeing another group of baggers compete during the 2022 NGA Show at Caesar’s Forum in just a few months.”

Justin Kizilos, from Minnesota’s Kowalski’s Market, came in second place, winning a $5,000 cash prize. Rounding out the five finalists were Fenging Liu from Ohio’s Dorothy Lane Market, Kennedy Kartchner from Utah’s Harmons Grocery and Alexa Sobsey from California’s Nugget Market.

This year’s competition featured an executive round that pitted independent grocery’s c-suite leaders against each other in a checkout lane showdown.

The winner was Pamela Coy, owner of Wisconsin’s Viking Village Markets and the 2021 WGA Woman of the Year, who bested a field that included Cub Foods CEO and NGA Chairman Mike Stigers, Metcalfe Markets’ Tim Metcalfe, PepsiCo’s Kent Montgomery and Christopher Yemma, and Ferrara.

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