2 Grocery Pros Honored By Confectionery Industry

NCA recognizes Katie Alexander of Dollar Tree and Susan Grassey of Harris Teeter
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
NCA award
NCA started its Confectionery Leadership Award in 2011.

Two candy category leaders in the grocery business have been recognized by the National Confectioners Association (NCA). The NCA and its official publication, Candy & Snack TODAY, announced that Katie Alexander of Dollar Tree and Susan Grassey of Harris Teeter are the 2024 recipients of the group’s Confectionery Leadership Award.

The awards honor the industry’s best and most innovative champions. Since 2011, NCA manufacturers and brokers have chosen outstanding retailers and wholesalers based on their leadership, industry collaboration, confectionery category promotion and creativity.

“Amid economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures, outstanding retail partners like Katie and Susan have kept consumers returning to the candy aisle to find a moment of happiness, a reason to celebrate, or an affordable treat," said John Downs, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based trade association. "Both of our 2024 Confectionery Leadership Award recipients have been visionary leaders in our industry over the course of their career. Their inclusive approaches to confectionery retailing, readiness to embrace new challenges, and keen understanding of consumer needs and desires continue to drive category growth.” 

According to NCA, Dollar Tree’s candy category director Alexander stood out for her strong communication skills, kindness and constructive feedback in the best interest of shoppers and suppliers. She has worked in the candy segment at Dollar Tree since 2016. 

“Working in the confectionery industry is exciting – you’re able to be creative, follow trends and celebrate momentous occasions with the consumer. I’m honored to win this award and am proud that my contributions and leadership characteristics are being recognized,” Alexander remarked. 

Grassey, a 20-year confectionery industry veteran, is a member of the NCA Candy Hall of Fame. She joined Harris Teeter in 2017 as a candy/general merchandise category manager and is known for using her knowledge of category trends to continually innovate and make Harris Teeter a destination for chocolate, candy, gum and mints, NCA pointed out. 

“Working in the confectionery industry is the sweet spot of my career,” Grassey declared. “I love the people, the products, and the excitement created by these special treats that are directly linked to our most precious memories and celebrations. It’s an honor to be recognized for my contributions and achievements by an industry that I cherish.” 

The 2024 Confectionery Leadership Awards will be presented at NCA’s  State of the Industry Conference, set for March 10-12 in Aventura, Fla. 

Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree operates 16,600-plus Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces, as of Oct. 28. The company is No. 21 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co. employs 36,000 associates at more than 250 stores and 70-plus fuel centers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, Florida and the District of Columbia. Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100. PG also named Kroger one of the Retailers of the Century.

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