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AWG Names Award Recipients During Annual Meeting

Kevin Ladd, Lou Fox Award Winner

Kansas City, Kansas-based Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. has named the winners of several excellence awards as part of the 2023 AWG Innovation Showcase and Annual Meeting.

The Lou Fox Award

This award is given each year in honor of Lou Fox, general manager and president of AWG from 1955-83. The recipient is an AWG member retailer that displays outstanding leadership and commitment to their community and upholds the values of AWG. Kevin Ladd is the president and CEO of Food Giant Supermarkets Inc. and SVP of Houchens Food Group Inc.

Throughout the years, Ladd has supported Sikeston public schools in Sikeston, Missouri, with donations to help fund technology for the district. Cape Girardeau Central High School has also received funds to upgrade its concession facilities. Ladd has supported many other area schools over the years with contributions earmarked for academics and athletic programs and has invested in supporting and sponsoring community summer programs in surrounding areas. For 23 years, Ladd has organized a golf tournament that annually raised thousands of dollars to help local children in various ways. 

Over the years, donations have been provided to organizations like the YMCA of Sikeston, Kenny Rogers Children’s Center, local school athletic and booster club programs, Missouri Delta Hospital, Community Counseling Center and Tennessee Grocers scholarships. Ladd has also helped Special Olympics, Girl Scouts of America, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Food Giant employees who have fallen victim to tornado disasters. 

Al Cole, Store Manager of the Year winner

“Kevin is a great person, an accomplished leader and an asset to Food Giant and his community,” said David Smith, president and CEO, AWG. “He is a servant leader who has made a sizeable impact in the communities he works in.” 

Store Manager of the Year Award

The award is given annually to the store manager or director within the cooperative membership that best demonstrated excellence in leadership and store operations.

“The winner of this year’s award led his store to amazing results through leadership, understanding his customer and execution,” Smith said.

From the day B&R Stores took ownership of the Cash Saver in Des Moines, Iowa, it was apparent that Al Cole had the support of his store team. Cole appreciates his associates’ efforts, and, most importantly, lets them know he appreciates them.

“Al leads with a steady, calm demeanor and sets a tremendous example for his store team when it comes to service,” said Pat Raybould, CEO of B&R Stores. “His greatest strength is his humility. He is keenly aware that we’re all on a journey, and Al is dedicated to the development, success and growth of our associates.” 

VMC Excellence Award

Valu Merchandisers Company, a subsidiary of AWG, awarded its Excellence Award to Crest Fresh Market in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The grocer is owned by Crest Discount Foods Inc. Crest sets a great example of merchandising excellence and is a leader in running successful and profitable non-food and specialty programs. 

AWG also announced winners of 10 additional awards through each department. Those winners include: 

  • AWG brands – Country Mart in Hollister, Missouri, owned by RPCS Inc. 
  • Produce – City Market in Burleson, Texas, owned by Crandall City Market Inc. 
  • Bakery – Uptown Grocery Co. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, owned by Pruett’s Food Inc.
  • Food service – Henderson’s IGA in Valentine, Nebraska, owned by County Fair Inc. 
  • Floral – Corner Market in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, owned by Roberts Company Inc. 
  • Seafood – Strack & Van Til in Highland, Indiana, owned by Indiana Grocery Group LLC.
  • Center store – Edwards Food Giant in Brinkley, Arkansas, owned by GES Inc. 
  • Meat – Ralph’s Market in Gonzales, Louisiana, owned by Trosclair & Trosclair Inc. 
  • Merchandising event – B&G Fresh Market in Chalmette, Louisiana, owned by B&G Fresh Market LLC.
  • Omnichannel – Riesbeck’s in St. Clairsville, Ohio, owned by Riesbeck Food Markets Inc.

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