President urges group to be ‘present, active and involved’
by Eric Pereira / content creator
There has been some return to normalcy this year with in-person events in North and South Carolina, according to Lindsey Kueffner, executive director of the Carolina Food Industry Council. She recently checked in with The Shelby Report of the Southeast to provide a brief update.
“We were fortunate to be able to safely hold our annual convention over the summer and our golf tournament this fall,” she said. “Retailers, wholesalers and vendors and sales agents were all so glad to be able to see each other in person again. Many of our members hadn’t seen each other in (over) 16 months.”
In regard to government relations, the legislative session in the Tarheel State is ongoing.
“North Carolina’s legislature is really making sure that this year’s ‘long session’ lives up to its name, as the state’s general assembly is still in session,” Kueffner said. “South Carolina’s legislature adjourned in June and will reconvene in January.
“While the policy details are different in both states, in general we’re focused on advocating for the industry on issues such as alcohol modernization laws, energy policy, WIC and SNAP benefits and pharmacy issues.”
When it comes to the concerns of CFIC members, the main one facing the industry is the continued impacts from COVID-19.
“Staffing is a challenge for almost every industry and the retail grocery industry is no exception,” Kueffner said. “There’s still an increased demand on grocery stores and so the industry is quite literally tasked with doing more with less. Of course, there continue to be sporadic challenges when it comes to product availability, transportation and raw materials. So it’s a bit like playing ‘whack-a-mole’ every day.”
CFIC is looking forward to gathering again with members July 17-20, 2022, for the 18th Annual CFIC Convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Members also will see each other again in the fall for the annual golf tournament, set for October 27, 2022, in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Tim Lowe, president of Lowes Foods and head of Alex Lee Retail, was elected CFIC’s 17th president at the CFIC Convention in July. Lowe has been involved with the council for eight years and has served on the CFIC Board of Directors for the past three.
As president, Lowe wrote on the council’s website that he wants to continue advancing representation for retailers across the Carolinas.
“CFIC serves the retail community in many, many ways. One of the biggest ways that I have observed is the ability to represent us to our state and local legislatures so that we can continue to focus on creating a growth environment for our industry and, at the same time, keep the focus on being able to serve the communities that we call home.”
He went to advise CFIC members to “be involved.” Per the statement, “Don’t sit around and wait for others to protect your interests. To be your best, you should be present, active and involved.”