KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) announced 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. Kevin Ladd is the 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. Kevin has supported many other area 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, Kevin has organized a golf tournament that annually raised thousands of dollars to help local children in various ways.
Over the years, substantial donations have been provided to organizations like the YMCA of Sikeston, Kenny Rogers Children’s Center, local school athletic and booster club programs, Missouri Delta Hospital, Community Counseling Center, Tennessee Grocers scholarships, and much more. Kevin is also delighted to have been able to help Special Olympics, Girl Scouts of America, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Food Giant employees who have fallen victim to tornado disasters.
“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 sizeable 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 David Smith, President, and CEO.
From the day B&R took ownership of the Cash Saver in Des Moines, Iowa, it was apparent that Al Cole had the support of his store team. Al is genuinely kind, appreciates his associates’ efforts, and, most importantly, lets them know he appreciates them. Whether you’re a newcomer or veteran, Al’s staff primarily appreciates him because he holds people accountable and truly coaches them. His listening skills and engagement with the team encourage them to become great associates.
“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 a great 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
ABOUT ASSOCIATED WHOLESALE GROCERS, INC.
Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving 1,100 member companies and over 3,400 locations throughout 31 states from 9 wholesale divisions. Consolidated sales for AWG are $12.3 billion. In addition to its cooperative wholesale operations, the company also operates subsidiary companies that provide certain real estate and supermarket development services, health and beauty care, general merchandise, pharmaceutical products, specialty foods, and natural and organic products. For more information, visit AWGinc.com and follow @AWGCorporate on Twitter.