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WFIA Names Top Retailer Of The Year, Other Honorees

WFIA The Myers Group

Last updated on June 27th, 2024 at 04:22 pm

The Myers Group, owner and operator of grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations and restaurants in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, recently was recognized by the Washington Food Industry Association as its Retailer of the Year for 2023-24.

WFIA President and CEO Tammie Hetrick made the presentation May 13 during a surprise ceremony at the company’s offices in Clinton.

“The Myers Group has long been a fixture in the independent food industry in our state,” Hetrick said. “We at WFIA are especially grateful for the leadership of Tyler Myers, who gives generously of his time and talent as a member of the WFIA board.

“He lends his voice and knowledge when we are meeting with our state representatives. He is a trusted advisor to WFIA staff … is always on point, and can be counted on to provide thoughtful feedback to our board, staff and membership.”

The Myers Group first began in 1978 when Kent Myers opened Casey’s, a single grocery store on Whidbey Island. The small family business of 25 people has grown into a retail management company of 600-plus with less than 10 percent employee turnover.

The Convenience Group
The Convenience Group

In Washington, the company operates The Goose Community Grocer on Whidbey Island; Camano Plaza IGA on Camano Island; Ocean Shores IGA in Ocean Shores; and Darrington IGA in Darrington. Myers is a strong proponent of the Retail Management Certificate Program and the USC Food Industry Management Program, WFIA added.

[RELATED: Jack’s Country Store Honored By WFIA For Community Service]


The Convenience Group takes top spot in category

The Convenience Group was named WFIA’s Convenience Retailer of the Year for 2023-24. The company operates six Mini Mart stores in the greater Vancouver area. The stores sell popular and local wines and beers, quality coffee, grocery items, household products, local dairy products and snacks, among other items.

WFIA’s Hetrick lauded President and CEO Don Rhoads. His “leadership and industry insights have made him a valued member of the food industry at the state and national level,” she said. “His guidance to our board, and to others in the industry, have guided us through some of the industry’s most challenging times.

“Don’s talents continue to shine herein the Greater Vancouver area, where he has developed The Convenience Group into a successful business and community partner. From local food banks and schools to the Humane Society and local hospital foundation, The Convenience Group is consistently focused on service to others and the communities where they operate,” Hetrick added.

Organic produce company tapped as top vendor

The WFIA has awarded the Organically Grown Company with its Vendor of the Year award for 2023-24.

OGC was founded in 1978 by a group of gardeners, small-scale farmers, hippies and environmental activists with a shared vision to expand the availability of and demand for organic produce. OGC started as a nonprofit but evolved into a community-led cooperative with a mission to develop a fair and just marketplace. It continues to be a leader in promoting organic agriculture and sustainable food systems.

It also has become a valued distributor to Washington and Oregon’s independent grocers, according to WFIA.

Organically Grown Co.
Organically Grown Co.

“Small, independent grocers often struggle to offer locally grown specialty products. Organically Grown Company is a huge lifeline for our members, connecting specialty farmers to independent grocers,” Hetrick said. “We are thrilled to celebrate OGC this year as our Vendor of the Year and are so grateful for their continued efforts to support small grocers with organic products.”

OGC partners with more than 350 suppliers representing 1,000 organic farms to source and supply grocers, restaurants and food makers with premium organic produce.

Charlie’s Produce hailed for workplace safety

Charlie’s Produce is the recipient of WFIA’s 2024 Workplace Safety Award.

According to WFIA, the honor acknowledges Charlie’s Produce for its efforts in implementing and maintaining safety protocols, training programs and fostering a safe environment for all employees.

The company’s detailed employee safety measures not only safeguard the well-being of workers but also enhance productivity, morale and overall organizational success, WFIA said. In addition, its driver safety program includes ongoing training, regular safety meetings and incentives for safe driving behaviors.

Employee-owned Charlie’s has served the West Coast since 1978. It has facilities in Seattle and Spokane, as well as Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles, California; and Anchorage, Alaska.

Charlie's Produce
Charlie’s Produce

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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