United Fresh and Dole Honor Retail Produce Managers: Lou Kwisnek of Big Y Foods, John Dedie of Tops Markets, and Patrick Odell of Price Chopper
UNITED STATES - As the United Fresh 2017 trade show in Chicago sits around the corner, the industry is abuzz with celebration, and the United Fresh Produce Association has hit the pavement to kick off festivities for the winners of the 2017 Retail Produce Manager Awards. The program pays special recognition to produce managers on the front lines in supermarkets, working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
As we previously reported, Jeff Oberman, Vice President of Trade Relations, United Fresh has traveled throughout North America to meet with the esteemed award winners on their own turf to find out more about what makes them so exceptional.
“We have visited over half of this year’s 2017 Retail Produce Manager winners and their work ethic and merchandising strategies continue to raise the bar of excellence. This year’s winners have showcased merchandising strategies that help drive increased sales and consumption. Highlights include capitalizing on their communities, such as partnerships with local Universities, as well as taking advantage of good weather to promote fruits and vegetables in colorful displays welcoming customers at the entrance to their stores.”
In this installment of our coverage, I spoke to retail leaders about honorees from Big Y Foods, Tops Friendly Markets, and Price Chopper.
First up is Lou Kwisnek from Big Y Foods in Northampton, MA. I asked Kevin Barry, Director of Produce and Floral for Big Y Foods to share his sentiments on Lou and his thoughts on the honor.
“For several years, Lou has been the produce manager in one of the busiest Big Y stores. His commitment to excellence can be seen on a daily basis in his outstanding and creative merchandising throughout his department. He is an outstanding communicator and teacher, and has trained several young associates in the art of running a first class produce department. Taking care of the needs of his customers is his number one priority. Lou was responsible for initially and successfully executing the Big Y partnership with the University of Massachusetts Student Farm in Amherst, MA. We are all excited that Lou has been chosen for this award by the United Fresh Produce Association. We also thank Dole for sponsoring such a prestigious award,” Kevin told me.
Next, I touched base with Jeff Cady, Director of Produce/Floral for Tops Friendly Markets, to ask him about John Dedie, an honoree from Tops Friendly Markets in its Henrietta, NY location, and what makes Dedie such a great team member for the banner.
“John is a very passionate veteran produce manager who is well deserving of this award. John excels at managing all aspects of the produce department, is a fantastic merchandiser and leads his team not just by example, but shares the 'why' behind the 'what,'” Jeff shares. “When asked how a new program is doing, he communicates both the positives and negatives in a professional, constructive manner. I can't leave out the most important quality, customer service. While he may not interact with every customer, the example he sets for his team encompasses the whole dept.”
Lastly, I spoke to Price Chopper’s Richard Reed, VP, Produce & Floral Merchandising, about Patrick Odell’s achievement and what makes this produce manager an asset to the company’s Oneonta, NY store.
“Patrick is an outstanding produce manager who goes above and beyond for customers to help drive fruit and vegetable consumption. We are proud of his achievement, and we congratulate him on receiving the 2017 Retail Produce Manager Award. His drive, ambition, and commitment to sharing knowledge, are truly assets to the Price Chopper team,” Richard told me.
Since the program's inception in 2005, nearly 300 retail produce managers, representing more than 90 different retail banners, have been honored for their contributions to the industry. Now in its third year as title sponsor, Dole’s Bil Goldfield, Director of Corporate Communications, shares that the company is excited to play a part in recognizing these produce managers and their important contributions to our industry.
"These produce managers need to be a farmer, a chef, a marketer, a salesperson at any given time. That takes knowledge, passion and dedication. It's time that they received the recognition and thanks that they deserve," Bil added.
Award winners will be honored by United Fresh and Dole at United Fresh 2017 in Chicago this June 13-15. To see the full list of winners, visit: http://www.unitedfreshshow.org/retail-foodservice-celebration-dinner