Stephanie Teteak of Larry’s Piggly Wiggly in Kaukauna, Wis., has won the 2012 The National Grocers Association (N.G.A.) Best Bagger Championship, sponsored by the Kellogg Company, Bunzl Distributors Inc. and Pan-Oston.
The contest, emceed by Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert, was held February 13, during the 2012 N.G.A. Show. This is the 26th year of the Best Bagger Championship, which drew competitors from 24 states across the country.
The N.G.A. Best Bagger National Championship is a year-long, nationwide program in which the top grocery baggers in the country compete for prizes and the title of America’s Best Bagger. Contestants are judged on speed, bag-building technique, weight distribution between bags, style, attitude and appearance. As the winner, Stephanie takes home bagging rights as well as a $10,000 grand prize, the Golden Grocery Bag trophy and the Pan-Oston Best Bagger Golden Lane, a special checkout stand that will be installed in her hometown Larry’s Piggly Wiggly store.
The contest awarded a total of $24,000 in cash prizes to contestants. The second place prize of $5,000 was awarded to Blake Westling of Byerly’s Grocery Store in Eagan, Minnesota. Rob Mow of Martin’s Super Markets in South Bend, Indiana came in third place, winning $1,000. Publix Supermarkets picked up fourth and fifth place, with Alexis Jeup of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee and Bryan Nowell of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, winning $1,000 each.
“This competition continues to shine a light on the incredible dedication and work ethic of grocery employees, particularly baggers, from all across the country,” says Peter Larkin, President and CEO of N.G.A. “These competitors are a small sample of the thousands of baggers all across this country who help customers every day with exceptional customer service and demonstrate an enormous amount of pride in what they do.”
Also announced at Monday’s Grocers Awards Reception was the 2012 Creative Choice Awards Contest for best advertising and best merchandising by an independent grocer, also sponsored by the Kellogg Company and Unilever.
This year, the Creative Choice for Merchandising went to Broulim’s of Rigby, Idaho, for its Wild Alaska Seafood Sale. For advertising, the Creative Choice was awarded to Niemann Foods, Inc. (County Market) of Quincy, Ill, for its Free Turkey Loyalty Promotion.
“The Creative Choice award is always a crowd favorite, allowing us to see the ingenuity and creativeness of independent grocers all across the country,” says Larkin. “This year’s winners represent the best of the best in knowing their customer base and fulfilling important needs for families in their communities.”