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AWG Names 2024 Excellence Award Winners At Annual Meeting

AWG Excellence Award winner John McKeever and family
AWG Excellence Award winner John McKeever and family

Associated Wholesale Grocers has named the winners of several Excellence Awards as part of its 2024 AWG Innovation Showcase and Annual Shareholders Meeting. 

Top Excellence Awards recipients were Lou Fox Community Service Award winners John McKeever family of McKeever Enterprises Inc.; Jim and Barbara Queen family of Queen Enterprises L.L.C.; and Store Manager of the Year Award winner Korey Daubenspeck of Riesbeck’s Food Markets Inc. 

Store Manager of the Year Korey Daubenspeck
Store Manager of the Year Korey Daubenspeck

The Lou Fox Community Service 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 who displays leadership and commitment to their community and upholds the values of AWG. 

John and Jim have retired from the grocery business, however, the McKeever and Queen families have ensured the businesses that their fathers started are continuing to thrive today. These families continue to serve AWG, their employees, their communities and consumers.

“The John McKeever and Jim and Barbara Queen families both have incredible legacies,” said Dan Funk, president and CEO of AWG. 

“The Lou Fox Community Service Award serves as a fitting acknowledgment of their  countless contributions to the grocery industry, AWG and their local communities.” 

The AWG Store Manager of the Year 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 leading by example and a hands-on approach to marketing, advertising and customer service,” Funk said.

Korey Daubenspeck starts every day with a single goal in mind – coaching his team to excellence. He leads by example and shows his team that fast and friendly service is what a customer looks for when  shopping the store, often saying his motto of ‘Time is valuable so why waste it?’

“If you ask Korey, providing excellent customer service is what he is most proud of and what he believes can only be achieved by having a team that understands customer satisfaction,” said Richard Riesbeck, CEO of Riesbeck’s.

“Korey also believes that recognizing his team and letting his community know how proud he is of them is equally important.” 

AWG also announced the winners of 10 additional awards from each department: 

  • AWG Brands – Hays in Osceola, Arkansas, owned by Hays Food Town Inc. 
  • Bakery – Tony’s Fresh Market in Hanover Park, Illinois, owned by Heritage Grocers Group LLC 
  • Center Store – Price Cutter in Fairmont, West Virginia, owned by G&T Food Services Inc.
  • Floral – McKeever’s Price Chopper in Leawood, Kansas, owned by McKeever Enterprises Inc.
  • Food Service – Fairplay Foods in Worth, Illinois, owned by Fairplay Inc. 
  • Meat – Elden’s Fresh Foods in Alexandria, Minnesota, owned by JTDM Alexandria Market LLC
  • Merchandising Event – Ball’s Food Stores (Kansas City metro area), owned by Four B Corp.
  • Omnichannel – Sooner Foods (Sulphur, Davis, Tishomingo) in Oklahoma, owned by Sooner Foods Inc. 
  • Produce – Ken’s SuperFair Foods in Aberdeen, South Dakota, owned by Ken’s Supermarkets Inc. 
  • Seafood – Harps Foods in Fayetteville, Arkansas, owned by Harps Food Stores Inc. 
  • VMC – Ball’s Price Chopper in Kansas City, Missouri, owned by Four B Corp. 
AWG Excellence Award winners Jim and Barbara Queen and family
AWG Excellence Award winners Jim and Barbara Queen and family

About AWG

Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently-owned supermarkets, serving 1,100 member companies and more than 3,300 locations throughout 33 states from nine wholesale divisions. 

In addition to its cooperative wholesale operations, the company also operates subsidiary companies that provide certain real estate and supermarket development services, health and beauty care, general merchandise, pharmaceutical products, specialty foods and natural and organic products.

Read more wholesaler and distributor news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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