The most important award in produce

(Photo courtesy of United Fresh)

Nominations are open for the 2019 Retail Produce Manager Awards, the 15th year this honor has been bestowed upon a segment of our industry that has such a tremendous role in fresh produce.

It’s my favorite recognition. Out of all of the awards given in our industry, no Man or Woman of the Year has the same direct connection to our consumers’ lives than a produce manager.

Over the past 14 years since this program started, more than 300 people have received this award. Those are 300 people whose careers just aren’t the same now.

Some may have left the industry, and I know quite a few who have retired, but the rest have a deeper connection and appreciation for the vital role they play in increasing consumption. This program helps them feel recognized for their tremendous efforts, and keep them engaged, energized and invested in their careers.

You know what surprises me about this award program?

The retailers who DON’T participate in this program. You know who you are.

Take a look at the list of names of the 114 banners that have had winners.

I know how competitive y’all get. How can you let your competitors take advantage of the career development potential for one of the most valuable – and vulnerable – positions in your store?

A great produce manager can make or break a store. We all know this.

You have until January 24 to nominate someone.

Don’t miss the opportunity.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services. You can reach her at