The National Grocers Association (NGA), which represents the independent sector of the grocery industry, accompanied U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., to one of SpartanNash’s D&W Fresh Market grocery stores in Grand Rapids, Mich., on an April 13 congressional store tour. The event was part of NGA’s congressional store tour program connecting federal legislators to independent grocers in their respective districts. The visit provided an overview of store operations and a close-up look at how federal policies directly affect independents.
“As conversations continue in Congress about the 2023 Farm Bill and the key nutrition programs included in the legislative package, it’s critical for influential leaders like Sen. Stabenow to hear from independent grocers about how federal policies are impacting their business operations, their store associates and the communities they serve,” said Stephanie Johnson, VP of government relations at Washington, D.C.-based NGA. “Sen. Stabenow has been a champion for independent grocers in the halls of Congress, and we look forward to working with her in the coming months to ensure independent grocers continue to be a driving economic force in Michigan and throughout the United States.”
Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is prominently involved in continuing negotiations on the 2023 Farm Bill. In February, NGA sent a letter laying out its 2023 Farm Bill priorities, which include SNAP, swipe fees and DIR fees, to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and U.S. House Committee.
“It was great to have Sen. Stabenow in store, and we appreciate her perspective on vital issues that affect not just food policy, but other areas of our stores, including pharmacy,” said Tom Swanson, SpartanNash’s EVP, corporate retail. “As a food solutions company that delivers the ingredients for a better life, the team at SpartanNash is passionate about providing healthy food to Americans at an affordable price. We were pleased to discuss continued support for programs we’ve implemented, like Double Up Food Bucks, with a goal to offer fresh fruits and vegetables to store guests receiving food assistance while increasing local produce sales to support local farmers.”
NGA has released an instructional video for NGA members on how they can make a congressional store tour impactful.
In other government relations news, member company representatives of FMI –The Food Industry Association are traveling to the nation’s capital today to advocate for legislative solutions to address industry issues and create opportunities for economic growth.
SpartanNash’s core businesses include distributing grocery products to independent and chain retailers, its corporate-owned retail stores, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges, as well as fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing. No. 41 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company serves customer locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Djibouti, Korea and Japan. SpartanNash also operates 147 supermarkets and employs 17,500-plus associates.