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07/28/2021

Jimmy Wright Receives NGA’s Great American Award

Alabama independent grocer honored for work in government relations
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Jimmy Wright Receives NGA’s Great American Award Chris Jones
Jimmy Wright (left), of Wright's Market, receives the Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award from Chris Jones, NGA's SVP of government relations and counsel.

The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, has presented the Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award, the trade organization’s highest honor for government relations, to Jimmy Wright, president of Wright’s Market, in Opelika, Ala.

Wright received the award on July 26 during the Alabama Grocers Association (AGA) 2021 Convention, at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, in Destin, Fla.

“Jimmy Wright embodies the finest qualities of servant leadership among independent community grocers,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NGA. “His efforts to educate our nation’s leaders on the importance of independent community grocers to the country, including presenting testimony before the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture committees, has helped propel NGA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of its members. Jimmy’s unique ability to bring the perspective of a forward-thinking single-store operator has had a profound positive impact on our industry by helping elected officials understand firsthand how policies and proposals impact independent community grocers.”

Last September, Wright testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business on behalf of NGA, during which he discussed the effects of the pandemic on food businesses. In his testimony, Wright noted how the pandemic tilted the economic playing field against small independents in various ways: a lack of antitrust enforcement, the dominance of power buyers in the marketplace, and a limited ability to sell products to SNAP customers online. He also represented independent grocers before the Senate Agriculture Committee in 2017 in its deliberations regarding the 2018 Farm Bill. 

As well as his work with NGA, Wright sits on the boards of directors of the AGA and the Alabama Retail Association, and previously was a member of NGA’s board of directors. He currently sits on NGA’s government relations committee and regularly joins the association during its Washington fly-ins to advocate for the independent grocer in the halls of Congress. Wright started his grocery career in 1973 as a 12-year-old bagger at the Opelika store that his father managed and that Wright has owned since 1997.

First bestowed in 1982, the Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award is presented to an individual or company whose leadership in the food industry best exemplifies active and effective participation in government relations as a citizen and industry representative. The award is named for a past president of the National Association of Food Chains who was very active in public and government affairs, having been patronage chief and personnel director of the Republican National Committee during the Eisenhower administration. 

Also recognized at the AGA annual convention was Alabama State Sen. Jabo Waggoner, who received the NGA Spirit of America Award for his commitment to the independent grocery industry.

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