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United Fresh releases 25 Retail Produce Manager Award Honorees

(Photo courtesy of United Fresh)

PRESS RELEASE Marking 15 years of recognizing exceptional retail produce managers, on March 18 United Fresh Produce Association announced the honorees of its 2019 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. The group of 25 produce managers represents supermarket banners, commissaries and independent retail stores from 16 different states and two Canadian provinces. The winners will be honored guests at the United Fresh 2019 convention, June 10-12 in Chicago.

Sponsored by Dole Food Company, the program pays special recognition to produce managers working every day on the front line to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since the program’s inception in 2005, over 325 retail produce managers, representing more than 110 different retail banners, have been honored for their contributions to the industry.

“Produce managers are the face of our industry to the consumer. Their creative merchandising and positive approach to customer service directly correlates to the growth of sales and ultimately consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel. “We are grateful to Dole for once again sponsoring this program and for their partnership in recognizing these 25 deserving honorees. I look forward to celebrating our winners this June in Chicago.”

The 2019 Retail Produce Manager Award Winners are:

• Vincente Aguirre, Fort Bliss Commissary, El Paso, TX
• Gregory Barnufsky Jr., Yokes Fresh Markets, Spokane, WA
• Mike Burdi, Metro Ontario Inc., Toronto, ON, Canada
• Jerry Clark II, The Fresh Market, Roanoke, VA
• Cassandra Crone, North State Grocery, Inc., Auburn, CA
• Bobby David, Audubon Market, St. Francisville, LA
• William Denault, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Lenox, MA
• Elaine Fong, Calgary Co-op, Calgary, AB, Canada
• Baryn Hagood-Lund, Safeway Inc., Everett, WA
• Heather Hudgins, MOM’s Organic Markets, Whitemarsh, MD
• Edward Jette, Big Y Foods, Easton, MA
• Jason Karaffa, Albrecht’s Sentry Foods, Delafield, WI
• Robin Manwaring, Tops Friendly Markets, Pulaski, NY
• Greg Miller, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Chico, CA
• Michael Rowe, Brookshire’s Grocery Company, Bridgeport, TX
• David Scarlett, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, Knoxville, TN
• Martin Sevensky, Weis Markets, Inc., Clarks Summit, PA
• Michael Sockett, Gelson’s Markets, Valley Village, CA
• Jimmy Strickland, Harris Teeter, Fayetteville, NC
• Charles Tavacol, Giant Foods, McLean, VA
• Roman Teig, Hy-Vee, Inc., Omaha, NE
• Jason Thompson, Hollywood Markets, Madison Heights, MI
• David Thompson, The Kroger Company, Peachtree City, GA
• Brittany Woodall, Fred Meyer, Bellevue, WA
• Patricia Young, Meijer, Springfield, IL

“These individuals and the companies that they represent are really putting forward the tremendously positive messages around produce to shoppers everyday,” said Johan Linden, President and CEO of Dole Food Company. “All of us, whether growers, processors, or distributors—the entire supply chain—would not be as successful without their knowledge and expertise at the store level. The United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards program is an opportunity for Dole, and all of us as an industry, to show our appreciation and say thank you.”

The winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry. Nominations were evaluated on several criteria, including efforts to increase produce consumption through excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to customer satisfaction.

All winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will be honored at United Fresh 2019 during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration on Wednesday, June 12 during United Fresh 2019. In addition to their awards, five Grand Prize recipients will each receive a $1,000 cash prize.

United Fresh 2019 Convention & Expo, June 10-12, is three days of enhanced networking, B2B partner meetings, education and energy packed into Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center. The events will deliver unprecedented value and access to the latest industry innovations. Registration information is available at Participation in the Retail-Foodservice Celebration is open to all attendees of United Fresh 2019.
For more information about the Retail Produce Manager Awards Program, contact United Fresh’s Industry Relations Manager Spencer Crawford at 202-303-3415 or