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New California Independent Grocers Leadership Faces Big Challenge

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- When the California Independent Grocers Association (CIGA) welcomes a new slate of elected officials for the 2005-2006 year later this month, it will be giving the incoming directors a formidable task: girding the loins of its members against attack from much bigger players converging on their markets.

"We will continue to promote the independent sector of California's grocery industry, and prepare our members to become activists in their local communities," said Scott Hair, owner of Green Frog Markets in Bakersfield, Calif., and the association's incoming chairman. "More than ever before, we must keep informed of local land use and zoning issues as they pertain to our industry, and we must focus on improving communications with city and county governments."

According to Hair, the association will continue to use the recently published handbook "Big Box and Superstore Development in California," to help members understand California's land-use approval process.

In addition to Hair, the following executive committee officers will be installed: first vice chairman, Del Clegg, Cookie Crock Market, Cambria; second vice chairman/treasurer, Louis Young, Payless Markets, Lockeford; third vice chairman/assistant treasurer, Jim Pallios, Richland Markets, Ceres; and immediate past chairman, Bob Spengler, Save Mart Supermarkets, Modesto.

Other new officials include Troy Cochran of Valley IGA in Waterford, as a new retail board member; Arline Mello of NuCal Eggs, as a new vendor board member; and Joe Falvey of United Western Grocers, as board member emeritus. Board terms for all elected officials start May 1.

A banquet marking the leadership changes will also honor immediate past chairman Jim Pallios, and outgoing directors including Bob Parriott, Deluxe Foods of Aptos; Dale Downing, Sonoma Market; and recently retired CIGA board member Merlin Stigge for their contributions to the organization.

CIGA will also give out awards at the event, including Retailer of the Year, to Chuck and Willy Evans, husband-and-wife owners of Twain Harte Market in Twain Harte; and Associate Member of the Year, to Jacque Vance of J V and Associates, Sacramento.

"Independent grocers are a united and powerful group," noted CIGA executive director Sharon Paxton. "It helps to be part of a large network of like-minded professionals who face similar challenges every day." CIGA has represented the independent retail food industry in California since the early 1900s. Today more than 1,200 independent grocers and supplier companies make up its membership.
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