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click image to zoomCourtesy United FreshJeff Oberman (from left), visited with Steve Mendes, produce manager of a Raley’s in Turlock, Calif., and Raley’s district supervisor Troy Schweitz, recently. The United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards is recognizing Mendes and 34 other produce department managers June 11 at the association’s annual conference in Chicago.For a decade the United Fresh Produce Association has honored retail produce managers. This year’s group of honorees includes 35 individuals representing 32 banners, commissaries and independents across 20 states.
Since beginning the Retail Produce Manager Awards program, Ready Pac Foods has been the sponsor, according to a news release from United Fresh. So far more than 230 retail managers representing more than 80 retail banners have been honored out of almost 2,000 nominees.
In an expression of thanks to Ready Pac and to underscore the significance of retail produce managers to the fresh produce industry, United Fresh is honoring 10 additional winners this year, said United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel in the release.
Ready Pac CEO Tony Sarsam said the produce managers are on the front lines of the fresh produce industry.
“Produce managers across this country make a valuable contribution to the success of our industry,” Sarsam said in the release. “These men and women work hard to make sure the produce looks the best on the front lines of retail produce merchandising by engaging and educating their consumers.”
Evaluation criteria for the nominees included efforts to increase produce consumption through excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to customer satisfaction.
The winners and their corporate produce directors are scheduled to be recognized June 11 during the Produce Celebration Gala at Hilton Chicago. Five Grand Prize recipients will receive $1,000 cash prizes.
A panel discussion on the trade show floor in the Fresh Marketplace Learning Center is scheduled to feature the produce manager winners who will share their perspectives on creative produce merchandising strategies, according to the news release.
The 2014 Retail Produce Manager Award Winners are:
- Gustavo Agillon, Arteaga’s Food Center, Gilroy, Calif.;
- Larry Aledo, Food Maxx/Save Mart Supermarkets, Brentwood, Calif.;
- Dan Atkinson, Hy-Vee Inc., Iowa City, Iowa;
- Mike Bawol, Tops Markets, Grand Island, N.Y.;
- Bob Beaudoin, Albertsons, Lemon Grove, Calif.;
- Bill Denault, Price Chopper/Golub Corp., Lenox, Mass.;
- Douglas DeWitte, Meijer, Grand Haven, Mich.;
- Darin Eversaul, Quality Food Centers, Bellevue, Wash.;
- Dan Fabris, Jewel-Osco, Park Ridge, Ill.;
- Alice Firkus, Roundy’s Supermarkets, Steven’s Point, Wisc.;
- Garrett Fowden, Payson Market Place, Payson, Utah;
- Joe Gapp, Hy-Vee, Inc, Lincoln, Neb.;
- Sal Gentile, A&P, Yorktown, N.Y.;
- Kenny Hackman, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Fayetteville, Ark.;
- Jeff Haines, Fry’s Food & Drug Stores, Phoenix, Ariz.;
- Brent Harkleroad, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, Kingsport, Tenn.;
- Luis Huerta, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Oakley, Calif.;
- Gina Johnson, The Kroger Co., Dayton, Ohio;
- Bill Logan, Jr., ShopRite, Medford, N.J.;
- Kendall Lopez-Buitrago, MOMs Organic Market, Alexandria, Va.;
- Steve Mendes, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Turlock, Calif.;
- Abel Meza, Northgate González Markets, Barrio Logan, Calif.;
- Jason Mooring, Safeway Stores, Marysville, Wash.;
- Michele Parks, McClellan Commissary, McClellan, Calif.;
- Patty Patino, Save Mart Supermarkets, Truckee, Calif.;
- Dick Rose, Metcalfe’s Market, Wauwatosa, Wis.;
- Crystal Scherer, Roundy’s Supermarkets, Appleton, Wis.;
- Randy Sheets, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, Va.;
- Derek Sibley, Oak Point Fresh Market, Watson, La.;
- John Spellman, Kings Food Markets, Livingston, N.J.;
- Robert Tanaka, Los Angeles AFB Commissary, Los Angeles, Calif.;
- Justin Warner, Brookshire Grocery Company, Lindale, Texas;
- Gina Wasilefsky, Big Y Foods, Northampton, Mass.;
- Mike Willis, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Charlotte, N.C.;
- Jake Wittman, Weis Markets, Fogelsville, Pa.