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NGA Executive Conference and Public Policy Summit Set for October

Event for independent grocers features Daily Beast columnist Matt K. Lewis as keynoter
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Attendees of NGA's Executive Conference and Public Policy Summit can take advantage of impactful education and networking sessions and access to federal representatives who create policies affecting their businesses. 

This year’s National Grocers Association Executive Conference and Public Policy Summit (ECPPS), the annual gathering of executives from the independent grocery industry, is scheduled to take place Oct. 22-25 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The event aims to give retail, wholesale and supplier executives and their leadership teams the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace via in-depth forecasts on the future of the industry, outlooks of emerging economic and business trends, and the chance to bolster relationships with trading partners throughout the supply chain. Attendees can take advantage of impactful education and networking sessions and access to federal representatives who create policies affecting their businesses

Kicking things off, Scott Moses, partner and head of grocery, pharmacy and restaurants at New York-based Solomon Partners, who will moderate a panel featuring North State Grocery Executive Director Richie Morgan, Affiliated Foods President/CEO Randy Arceneaux, Wakefern Chief Customer Officer Steve Henig and Econo Health Path Markets CEO Enid Barillas. They will discuss the “State of the Independent Grocer,” exploring the current economic, regulatory and customer-first landscape and how well operators are positioned for the future. 

[Read More: “Independents Withstand Inflation, Competition, Supply Chain Issues: Study”]

The agenda also includes Coborn’s VP of Marketing Dennis Host, Merchants Distributors Inc. EVP of Sales and Merchandising Nick Carlino, Alliance Retail Group CEO Jena Sowers and A-R Marketing Principal Eric Anderson exploring the “Future of Marketing”; KraftHeinz Head of Strategic Planning and Industry Stacy Cobb, Clorox Director of Trade and Industry Relations Bob Richardson, and Topco VP of Center Store Category Management and Insights Katie Waeltz on the “Future of Center Store”; UNFI SVP of Produce Dorn Wenninger, Newport Avenue Market President/CEO Lauren Redman and BrightFarms Chief Commercial Officer Abby Prior discussing the “Future of Fresh”; and AWG incoming President and CEO Dan Funk, URM Stores President/CEO Ray Sprinkle, KeHE VP of Regional Chain Sales Shellie Wood, and Certco President/CEO Amy Niemetscheck weighing in on the “Future of Grocery Distribution.”

Further, NGA SVP of Government Relations Chris Jones will tackle the “Future of Retail Policy”; Shawn Stevens, founder of the Food Industry Council, will address the “Future of Food Safety Regulation and Litigation”; and Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NGA, will lead a panel discussion with UNFI COO Erin Horvath, Weis Markets COO Kurt Schertle and Lowes Food President Tim Lowe on the “Future of Retail Leadership.” 

“This high-level gathering of industry leaders not only offers a deep dive into the trends driving your industry, but an exploration of the issues surrounding the policy that sets the rules for how you operate,” noted Ferrara. “If you’re an owner, operator, CEO, senior leader, or a supplier or service provider to independent grocers, the Executive Conference and Public Policy Summit is for you.” 

The event will also offer sessions on the economy, talent, technology, positioning and nutrition policy; breakouts on deli, dairy, bakery and emerging brands; and a B2B program, as well as ample networking time.

As a further enticement, the luncheon keynote speaker on Tuesday, Oct. 24 will be Matt K. Lewis, a senior columnist for the Daily Beast and author of the book “Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots).” Lewis has made numerous television and radio appearances as a center-right critic of American politics and pop culture.

Conference participants can also attend the NGA Foundation fundraiser on the evening Oct. 24, Mini-Golf, Major Impact, playing a round at the indoor mini-golf course while networking and partaking of substantial hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. Tickets will benefit the foundation’s work in industry promotion, student programs, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and technical assistance.

Additionally, the WGA Emerging Female Leader (EFL) share group and Executive Female Leaders (EXFL) Network meetings are co-located with the summit. EFL will meet Oct. 24-25 and EXFL will convene immediately following ECPPS, starting Oct. 25 through midday Oct. 27. 

In other NGA news, the organization recently worked with Tops Markets LLC on the rollout of a nutrition incentive pilot program at two of the grocer’s stores in the greater Buffalo, N.Y., area. The rollout was the culmination of a nearly three-year effort between the NGA’s Technical Assistance Center, Tops, project grantee Field & Fork Network and shopper intelligence provider Catalina. 

This collaboration led to the development of an automated solution that allows Double Up Food Bucks NY to distribute the incentive more equitably and eliminates the registration process, which posed a significant barrier to program participation. The program aims to boost access to fresh produce and make it more affordable for people with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by providing a dollar-for-dollar match on produce purchases (up to $5 per day). Tops is now the largest grocery chain to take part in the Double Up Food Bucks NY program to date. 

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC has approximately 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, northern Pennsylvania and Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc., is No. 45 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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