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TGCSA Recognizes 2024 Retailer, Supplier Of The Year

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The board of directors of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association has recognized Richard K. “Rick” James as its 2024 Retailer of the Year, while also identifying Tommy Harber as Supplier of the Year. 

Rick James

The Retailer- and Supplier of the Year designations represent the highest honors bestowed by the organization’s member leadership, and traditionally go to those who have demonstrated outstanding professional and civic involvement.  James and Harber were recognized at the association’s annual convention and expo May 16 in Murfreesboro.

Owner and CEO of Castle Retail Group in Memphis, Tennessee, James has led a distinguished career in the retail sector, characterized by growth, leadership and community involvement.

Castle Retail Group consists of five supermarkets in the Memphis area: three under the Cash Saver banner, plus High Point Grocery and South Point Grocery. His 47-year career in grocery has been marked by leadership, innovation and community involvement. He was a long-time member of the board of directors of the Mid-South Food Bank, where he served as chairman in 2021-22.  A former chairman of the TGCSA board of directors, James was recently recognized as CEO of the Year by Memphis Magazine.

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As the VP of retail sales for Family Brands, Harber began his career in the food industry in 1982 bagging groceries at Wilkinson’s Cee Bee in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. In 1991, he moved to the supplier side of the food industry, representing various meat purveyors, where he excelled in serving his retail clients. Harber has been active in his community of Chapel Hill and in industry groups, including two terms as a member of the TGCSA board of directors.

Tommy Harber

“TGCSA’s Retailer- and Supplier of the Year awards reflect the admiration and appreciation of the association’s board of directors,” said Rob Ikard, TGCSA president and CEO. “Rick and Tommy both deserve their recognitions because of their distinguished careers and the outstanding examples they have set for the next generation of food industry leaders.”

Ikard also announced the establishment of a new association recognition honoring the founder of TGCSA, Wes Ball. Shane Allison of Alliance Retail Group is the first recipient of the Wes Ball Service Award. 

Shane Allison

“Through his tireless support and activism for TGCSA, Shane Allison highlighted the need to establish this new recognition,” Ikard said. “Because of his long support for the association, and for the scholarship programs of its affiliated nonprofit foundation, we realized that there did not previously exist an award that reflected such broad impact.”

Allison, formerly of Pepsi Beverages Co., has worked for the advancement of TGCSA for his entire career and recently stepped down as chairman of the Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation.

About the TGCSA

The Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association is the only food trade association that represents all segments of Tennessee’s food market.  Membership is comprised of retail grocery store and convenience store operations as well as food industry wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers.  TGCSA has been serving the needs of its members since 1978.

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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