NGA Announces Inaugural Peter J. Larkin Award for Community Service

San Diego, CA – The National Grocers Association announced at the Opening Keynote Session of The NGA Show the establishment of the Peter J. Larkin Award for Community Service in honor of Peter’s retirement at the end of 2019. This award will be presented annually to an independent retailer or wholesaler for his or her dedication and commitment to the communities he or she serves. 

“Peter’s passion for our industry and the independent grocer is unwavering, but it’s the independent grocer’s commitment and service to their community that he is most proud of,” said Cheryl Sommer, Chair of NGA Board of Directors and owner of Kaune’s Neighborhood Market during the Opening Keynote Session at The NGA Show.

Larkin’s retirement from NGA at this end of this year will cap off a nearly 40-year career in the supermarket industry. During Larkin’s tenure at NGA, the organization has experienced growth in retail and wholesale membership as well as member engagement in share groups and committees, and attendance at The NGA show.  Additionally, NGA’s government relations and advocacy efforts have expanded and produced numerous wins for independent supermarkets under Larkin’s leadership, and the NGA Grocers Political Action Committee, which was launched during Larkin’s term, has helped support candidates for Congress who champion important policies to Main Street grocers.  He has also revitalized the NGA Foundation, which is focused on programs and services that support store  associates and the next generation of the independent supermarket industry.

Additionally, at the 2019 NGA Show, the NGA Board of Directors, by recommendation of its nominating committee and subsequent vote by the NGA membership, announced the 2019 Board of Directors, Officers and Executive Committee members, as well as the election of nine new Board members.

“These industry leaders come to NGA’s Board of Directors at an imperative time for independent grocers as we enhance NGA’s benefits and resources for store operators to thrive in today’s rapidly-changing marketplace. I look forward to working with each of them to advance the independent supermarket industry,” said Peter Larkin, president and CEO of NGA.

The 2019 NGA Board of Directors includes:

Appointed Board of Directors Officers and Executive Committee

Chair: Cheryl Sommer, Kaune’s Neighborhood Market

Immediate Past Chair: Rich Niemann, Jr., Niemann Foods, Inc.

Vice-Chair: Mike Stigers, UNFI/SuperValu

Secretary: Ted Balistreri, Sendik’s Food Markets

Treasurer: David Smith, Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc.

President & CEO: Peter Larkin, National Grocers Association

At-Large: Kim Eskew, Harps Food Stores, Inc.

At-Large: Roger Lowe, Jr., Lowe’s Market

At-Large: Richard Morgan, Jr., North State Grocery Inc.

At-Large: Jeff Reagan, Wakefern Food Corp.

At-Large: Zulema Wiscovitch, Associated Supermarket Group

Incoming Board Members

John Akins, Akins Market

Randy Arceneaux, Affiliated Foods, Inc.

Joe Cavaliere, C&S Wholesaler

Dave Conroy, First Data

Paula Janssen, Janssens Fine Foods

Pete Najjar, Cardiff Seaside Market

Michael Needler Jr., Fresh Encounter, Inc.

Tony Patrignelli, Unilever

Gary Redner, Redner’s Markets

Returning Board Members

Jay Ard, The Coca-Cola Company

Terrie Baker, Baker’s IGA

Neal Berube, Associated Food Stores, Inc.

Jennifer Bosma, Harvest Market

Kimberly Brackett, Brackett’s Market IGA

Trent Brookshire, Brookshire Grocery Co.

David Bullard, Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company

John Derderian, Allegiance Retail Services, LLC

Rudy Dory, Newport Avenue Market

Jesse Garcia, Post Consumer Brands

Jan Gee , Washington Food Industry Association

Ron Graff, Jr., Columbiana Foods Inc.

Neil Greenstein, Brookdale/Newark ShopRite

Winston Griffin, Laurel Grocery Co.

Steve Heggelke, Bozzuto’s Inc.

Tim Henderson, Henderson’s IGA

Michelle Hurd, Iowa Grocery Industry Association

Reed Kessler, Kessler’s Inc

Kristi Magnuson-Nelson, Hugo’s Family Marketplace

Bob McTeir, Merchants Distributors, Inc.

Brian Moyer, Freshop

David Ochs, KeHE Distributors

Eligio Peña, Compare Foods

Larry Pierce, SpartanNash Company

Kevin Proctor, Save-A-Lot

Art Rosenberg, PepsiCo, Inc.

Daniel Shanahan, Buehler’s Fresh Foods

Ray Sprinkle, URM Stores Inc

Jeff Strack, Indiana Grocery Corporation

Michael Violette, Associated Grocers of New England, Inc.

Joe Wolf, Alliance Retail Group

Ex-Office Members

Carole Bitter, Ph.D., Friedman’s Freshmarkets

Jay Campbell, Jr., Retired, Associated Grocers, Inc.

Chris Coborn, Coborn’s, Inc.

Michael Needler, Fresh Encounter, Inc.

John Ross, IGA, Inc.

Joe Sheridan, Wakefern Food Corp.

Steve Smith, K-VA-T Food Stores

NGA would like to recognize and thank the following outgoing board members for their service and leadership:

Denny Belcastro, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

RF Buche, GF Buche Co.

Guy Chiarello, First Data

Nolan Lockwood, Walla Walla’s Harvest Foods

David Mitchell, Mitchell Grocery Corp.

Eric Stille, Nugget Market, Inc.

About NGA
The National Grocers Association (NGA) is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is accountable for close to one percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating $131 billion in sales, 944,000 jobs, $30 billion in wages, and $27 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, as well as manufacturers and service suppliers. For more information about NGA, visit