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Brindle, Strack Honored At NGA Show

Rick Brindle and Greg Ferrara

Ideal Market receives community service award

The National Grocers Association, the trade association representing the independent grocery industry, recognized Rick Brindle and Jeff Strack with two of its highest honors at the NGA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ideal Market also was presented with the Peter J. Larkin Community Service Award.

Brindle, an NGA board member, was presented the Industry Service Award in recognition of his years of service in the food industry toward better working relations and understanding between retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers.

“Rick has been a strong partner of independent grocers for many years, developing industry relations that have strengthened communities throughout the country,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “I thank him for his commitment to independent grocers and wish him and [his wife] Dee the best as they enter a new chapter in their extraordinary lives.”

Brindle began his career in the grocery industry with Safeway before earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration, management and marketing in 1982. In 1996, he joined Nabisco, rising to become VP of global sales before joining Kraft Foods in 2001. In 2012, Brindle joined Mondelez International Inc. as VP of industry development, North America.

“He’s been a servant leader, always present, always contributing, focused on making the industry that he loves, better,” Ferrara said.

Strack, president and CEO of Indiana-based Strack & Van Til, was presented with NGA’s Thomas K. Zaucha Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

The award, sponsored by Mondelez International Inc., recognizes an independent retailer who demonstrates persistence, vision and creative entrepreneurship.

Rick Brindle, Jeff Strack and Greg Ferrara

“Since 2009, NGA has presented this award to independent grocers that embody the characteristics of a true entrepreneur. I’m excited to see Jeff Strack join this impressive list,” Ferrara said. “Since becoming president and CEO in 2016, Jeff has strengthened Strack & Van Til with innovative ideas and a resilience that is a hallmark of independent, community grocers across the country. I congratulate Jeff on receiving this award and look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the years to come.”

Founded in 1959, Strack & Van Til began when Ernie Strack and Nick Van Til joined their grocery stores in Northwest Indiana. Now, more than 60 years later, Strack & Van Til grocery stores are the backbone of communities throughout northwest Indiana and northeast Illinois.

Not long after Strack was named president and CEO of the grocery chain in 2016, its then-parent company filed for bankruptcy. Strack organized a successful effort to buy his family’s company out of bankruptcy to preserve its local ownership. He has since worked to ensure Strack & Van Til can continue serving its hometown community.

The Thomas K. Zaucha Award, named after NGA’s first president and CEO, has been presented annually to recognize an independent grocer that exemplifies persistence, vision and creative entrepreneurship. This award is one of the most prestigious honors awarded to independent grocers.

Ideal Market recognized for storm relief, vaccination efforts

New Orleans-area grocery retailer Ideal Market was presented with this year’s Peter J. Larkin Community Service Award during the opening session of the NGA Show.

Ideal Market was recognized for its efforts to administer COVID-19 vaccinations as well as its community outreach in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

“Independent grocers are known for their strong commitment to the communities they serve, not only providing food and fresh produce, but consistently being there through good times and bad,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “This strong connection was reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Ideal Market was the first to provide free vaccines to the community. Then, during Hurricane Ida, they were the only grocery store chain in the area that kept their doors open, making sure the community was fed during challenging times. This award showcases the very best of our industry, and it’s an honor to be here at The NGA Show to present this award to Ideal Market.” Brindle

The award, sponsored by Kimberly-Clark, was established in 2019 to recognize an independent retailer or wholesaler company for their unique and strong service to the community during the previous year.

“I’m honored to congratulate Ideal Market as the recipient of this year’s Peter Larkin Award for Community Service for providing crucial support to the members of its community,” said Denny Belcastro, Kimberly-Clark VP of industry affairs and customer development. “Kimberly-Clark is proud to support such an important award.” 


The NGA Show has been where independent grocers gather for more than 30 years, connecting supermarket retailers and wholesalers, food manufacturers, and service providers worldwide to share innovative solutions and best practices that support and strengthen the independent supermarket channel. The NGA Show is produced and managed by Clarion Events as part of the Food & Beverage Group in partnership with the National Grocers Association.

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Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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