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Independent Grocers Are ‘Heart Of America’

Independents success

Nominations open for Exceptional Independents Awards

Shelby Publishing is accepting nominations for its inaugural Exceptional Independents Awards program, which honors the role independent grocers play in the industry.

ROFDA President and CEO Jeff Pedersen said independents are vital to the communities they serve. In many cases, independent grocers may have grown up in that community and they have built relationships.

Jeff Pedersen

“They care,” he said. “They support the community with job opportunities, donations, a great place to shop with friendly faces people know from the area. There are so many stories about someone’s first job being at the local grocery store and the things they did to help whenever there was a need.”

Independent grocers have the ability to make quick decisions on assortment and variety and also can quickly respond to a customer’s need. While chains have to check with “corporate,” Pedersen said independents “tend to have a pulse on the community and their needs. Very seldom are things cookie cutter. Knowing your customer comes naturally.”

He added that customer service is a priority when serving friends, neighbors or family, “which is a point of difference for independents.”
“When you live local or are from the area, I think there is a tendency to try harder to address the needs of your community and your employees,” Pedersen said.

The family- or employee-owned independent grocer is an example of the American dream fulfilled – starting a business, making a living, providing jobs and supporting the communities they serve, Pedersen said.

“It may sound cliché but it’s foundational to what grocers do,” he said. “I believe independent grocers are the heart of America.”

Nominations for the Exceptional Independents Awards are open to independent retailers, wholesalers, technology and other service providers.

“Independents are the backbone of our industry, and this new awards program is an opportunity to recognize them for their contributions,” said Stephanie Reid, president of Shelby Publishing. “Independents are a vital part of their communities and lead the way in caring for their customers. Our Exceptional Independents Awards will shine a light on these businesses that continue to help feed our communities.”

Coverage of the award winners will be featured in the March 2023 editions of The Shelby Report ­– Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, West and Northeast. Awards winners also will be featured on theshelbyreport.com.

Entries must detail why the nominee is qualified for this recognition. Qualifications could be related to independents’ investment in their stores or companies, commitment to supporting neighborhood charities and community involvement, and investment in their employees’ training and advancement.

Nominations are free; there is no charge/fee to nominate. The deadline to submit entries is Jan. 15. The criteria include:

* All independent U.S. grocery retailers, wholesalers/distributors and service providers.

* Information provided in the nomination form will be used in part for the narrative of the print and online stories.

* Limit up to six nominations per company.

* All nominees will be vetted by Shelby Publishing’s editorial staff and advisory board.

* Form must be completed in full to be considered.

* All nominations must be submitted through an official online entry form, which may be found here.

For more information on the program, email Stephanie Reid at [email protected]

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Featured Photo Barons Market Flagship Store
Point Loma Community
Huntington Beach, California
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