Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, the Alabama Grocers Association held their annual Food Industry Finest Luncheon on honoring their retailer, wholesaler and vendor of the year award winners. Speakers included Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Motivational Speaker Jeremiah Castille.
The event was held at The Club on Birmingham’s Red Mountain. More than 150 people attended to discuss the important work of the Alabama Grocers Association in 2017 and those in the food, beverage and grocery profession here in Alabama.
“Each of these fine individuals hold a special place within the Alabama Grocery Industry. They are committed to growing and improving the grocery industry in Alabama,” Ellie Taylor, president of Alabama Grocers Association, said. “We are thankful for the opportunity to honor them and their commitment.”
The Vendor of the Year award was given to Mr. Eddy Quinley of Advantage Solutions. Eddy started his grocery career as a direct retail sales representative with the Campbell Sales Company, followed by opportunities at The Hershey Chocolate Company and The Harper Sales Company. In 1989, he started with Advantage Solutions Company in Mobile and is currently Business Development Manager calling on Associated Grocers of the South, Mitchell Grocery Corporation and Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company.
Eddy has been involved in the Alabama Grocers Association for over 12 years and joined the Board of Directors in 2013. Eddy has received numerous awards and recognition for the work he has done in the food industry.
Eddy Quinley said, “It is a great honor to be chosen for this award. To think that the people I work with would vote for me to receive such a recognition is overwhelming.”
The Retailer of the Year award went to Mr. Darwin Metcalf of Western Markets. Darwin started his career at 9 years old shopping and delivering groceries for his elderly neighbors from the local A&P on the Southside of Birmingham for 15 cents a trip. At age 10, he worked as a local paperboy making $7 a week. He continued this route until he was old enough to be hired at the local Winn-Dixie bagging groceries.
In 1967, Stanley Virciglio saw Darwin bagging groceries at Winn-Dixie and offered him a job at the Western Highlands. In his 50 years at Western Supermarkets, Darwin has been a night manager, produce manager, assistant store manager, store manager, director of operations and executive vice president. Early in his career with Western he set a goal for himself, to be president. In 2007, that goal was achieved when he was named President/Chief Operating Officer.
Darwin joined the Alabama Grocers Association Board of Directors in 1998, served as Chairman in 2003 and won the Retailer of the Year award in 2004.
Darwin Metcalf said, “Coming from an organization I love and admire makes this very special. The group of retailers nominated are a very special group and I am humbled and honored to be considered among them.”
The Wholesaler of the Year Award went to Mr. Delma Craft of Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company. Delma started in the grocery business in 1978 at Piggly Wiggly Southern in Vidalia, Georgia as a produce selector and loading trucks for delivery. In 1988, Piggly Wiggly Vidalia was sold to RFS out of California and ran the operation until Bruno’s Supermarkets of Birmingham bought the warehouse in 1990. In 1994, Delma was relocated to Birmingham, Alabama where he was a buyer and category manager for Bruno’s. Delma went to work for Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company in September of 1998 as a grocery buyer. He worked through the ranks to his current position of Vice President & Director of Procurement. He also buys commodities and works with the Piggly Wiggly operators on a daily basis.
Growing up in Lyons, Georgia on his grandparent’s farm gave him a great insight to a hard day’s work. Over the years he has earned the respect from the co-ops and his co-workers. His knowledge of grocery procurement and his experience has made him a great ambassador for the Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company and the grocery industry.
Delma said of winning the award, “It tells me a lot of independent operator respect the job the employees are doing at PWADC.”
“We are honored to have so many amazing people in the grocery industry that care about their customers and the communities they serve. The three individuals we honored today all have a high standard and level of commitment to their companies and the people of Alabama,” said Frank D’Amico, III of BTC Wholesale and Chairman of the Alabama Grocers Association. “I congratulate each of them on receiving the Associations highest honor”.
The Alabama Grocers Association is a state trade association representing the grocery retail industry since 1990. With more than 135 retail members operating nearly 1,000 stores nationwide, as well as over 225 manufacturers, brokers, wholesalers and other members, the AGA is the voice of the industry in the state of Alabama. The food retail industry in Alabama provides over 69,000 jobs with over $2.2 billion in annual wages paid. Grocers pay over $1.2 billion in state taxes and have a total economic impact on the state’s economy of over $12 billion dollars.
For more information, go to www.alabamagrocers.org