AWG Honors Retail Members

Annual awards presented to grocers supporting their local community and to the store manager of the year
Greg Sleter
Associate Publisher/Executive Editor, Store Brands
StoreBrands Greg Sleter
AWG honors
At left, Lou Fox Award winner, Kevin Ladd and his wife, Theresa, and, at right, Store Manager of the Year Award winner, Al Cole.

Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) revealed the winners of several prestigious excellence awards as part of the 2023 AWG Innovation Showcase and Annual Meeting.  Highlighting the award winners are Lou Fox Community Service Award Winner Kevin Ladd of Food Giant Supermarkets, Inc., and Store Manager of the Year Al Cole of B&R Stores, Inc. 

The Lou Fox Award is given each year in honor of Lou Fox, general manager and president of AWG, from 1955 until 1983. The recipient is an AWG member retailer that displays outstanding leadership and commitment to their community and upholds the values of AWG. 

[Read more: "Smith to Retire as Associated Wholesale Grocers President/CEO"]

Ladd is president and CEO of Food Giant Supermarkets, Inc. and SVP of Houchens Food Group, Inc. Throughout the years, Kevin has supported Sikeston public schools in Sikeston, Mo., with donations to help fund technology for the district. Cape Girardeau Central High School has also received funds to upgrade its concession facilities. Ladd has supported many other schools over the years with contributions earmarked for academics and athletic programs and has heavily invested in supporting and sponsoring community summer programs in several surrounding areas. For 23 years, Ladd has organized a golf tournament that annually raised thousands of dollars to help local children in various  ways. 

He also supported a variety of other charitable organizations including the YMCA of Sikeston, Kenny  Rogers Children’s Center, local school athletic and booster club programs, Missouri Delta Hospital, Community Counseling Center, and Tennessee Grocers scholarships, 

“Kevin is a great person, an accomplished leader, and an asset to Food Giant and his community,” said David Smith, president and CEO of AWG. “He is a servant leader who has made a sizable impact in the communities he works in.” 

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 extraordinary store operations. “The winner of this year’s award led his store to amazing results through leadership, understanding his  customer, and execution,” said Smith. 

“Al leads with a steady, calm demeanor and sets a tremendous example for his store team when it comes to  service,” said Pat Raybould, CEO of B&R Stores, Inc. “His greatest strength is his humility. He is keenly aware that  we're all on a journey and Al is dedicated to the development, success, and growth of our associates.” 

Valu Merchandisers Company (VMC), a subsidiary of AWG, awarded its Excellence Award to Crest Fresh Market in Oklahoma City, Okla. (owned by Crest Discount Foods, Inc.). Crest sets an example of merchandising excellence and is a leader and best in class in running successful and profitable non-food and specialty programs. 

AWG also announced winners of 10 additional awards through each department. Those winners include: 

  • AWG Brands – Country Mart in Hollister, Mo., owned by RPCS, Inc. 
  • Produce – City Market in Burleson, Texas, owned by Crandall City Market, Inc. 
  • Bakery – Uptown Grocery Co. in Oklahoma City, Okla., owned by Pruett’s Food, Inc.
  • Food Service – Henderson’s IGA in Valentine, Neb., owned by County Fair, Inc. 
  • Floral – Corner Market in Hattiesburg, Miss., owned by Roberts Company, Inc. 
  • Seafood – Strack & Van Til in Highland, Ind., owned by Indiana Grocery Group, LLC
  • Center Store – Edwards Food Giant in Brinkley, Ark., owned by GES, Inc. 
  • Meat – Ralph’s Market in Gonzales, La., owned by Trosclair & Trosclair, Inc. 
  • Merchandising Event – B&G Fresh Market in Chalmette, La., owned by B&G Fresh Market L.L.C.
  • Omnichannel – Riesbeck’s in St. Clairsville, Ohio, owned by Riesbeck Food Markets Inc.

Kansas City, Kan.-based AWG, the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving more than 1,100 member companies and 3,100 locations in 28 states from eight full-line wholesale divisions, is No. 35 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 listing of North America’s top food and consumables retailers in North America.

This article first appeared on the site of sister publication Store Brands. 

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