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IGA Names J. Frank Grimes Recipients

Author: IGA News

IGA Names J. Frank Grimes Recipients at IGA WorldWide 90th Anniversary Celebration

Three Take Home IGA’s Highest Honor

LAS VEGAS (Feb.  28, 2016)–IGA today announced three recipients were honored with the J. Frank Grimes Award during the IGA Business Session on Sunday, Feb. 28 at IGA WorldWide, the 90th Anniversary Celebration being held at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas Feb. 27 through March 1. The award, IGA’s highest honor, is given in recognition for outstanding service to IGA to one who exhibits the principles, passion and great charisma of IGA’s founder, J. Frank Grimes. The recipients include John Mayer, corporate vice president of The J.M. Smucker Company; Larry Higdon, president of Ira Higdon Grocery CO; and Mary Helen Potts, long-time executive assistant to IGA Chairman Dr. Tom Haggai.

John Mayer, corporate vice president of The J.M. Smucker Company, began his career with The J.M. Smucker Company over 35 years ago making his first sales call on IGA stores in Ohio. Mayer worked his way up in the company from numerous sales positions to vice presidencies, and along the way spent much of his career serving IGA’s independent retailers. For 15 years he acted as The J.M. Smucker Company representative for IGA’s Red Oval Family—an alliance of the industry’s premier food manufacturers and service providers and associations that partner with IGA to provide extensive resources that are unavailable to other independents.

“John Mayer has always been a true champion to the independent retailer and IGA retailers in particular,” IGA CEO Mark Batenic said. “He worked side-by-side with us to build category sales for his company and our retailers for a decade and-a-half, and in recent years has continued to keep a special eye on us by contributing his insights even as he moved on to other positions within The J.M. Smucker Company. As he approaches retirement this summer, we thank him for all he’s done to advance the cause of IGA retailers.” 

Larry Higdon, president of Ira Higdon Grocery CO, grew up in the grocery industry, the third generation destined to work in his family’s small southeastern wholesale business. Before taking the reigns he graduated from Emory College serving as a Fighter Pilot flying the F-4 Phantom in two tours in Vietnam. He then returned home to spend the next 40-plus years growing the business into a very successful distribution company and IGA Licensed Distribution Company (LDC). Today, the company is celebrating its 50th year as an IGA LDC, and is known throughout the Southeast for its outstanding customer service and solid family values.

 “Larry Higdon has worked tirelessly to grow, maintain, and protect the IGA brand in his marketing area,” IGA CEO Mark Batenic said. “He’s the true personification of J. Frank Grimes’ vision that the distribution company should support every part of the store and its retailers, while also supporting the community.”

Mary Helen Potts, longtime executive assistant to IGA Chairman Tom Haggai, has worked with Haggai for the last 47 years. Potts is in charge of scheduling, global and domestic projects, Alliance relationships and overall management of the IGA North Carolina office.

“With nearly a half a century of service to IGA, Mary Helen Potts knows all there is to know about IGA, it’s members, and what it means to be a part of the Alliance of retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturing and service provider partners,” IGA CEO Mark Batenic said. “Her dedication to IGA brand and the people it serves is matched only by Tom Haggai's, and we have been truly blessed to have her juggling so many critical roles for so many years.”

About IGA 


IGA is the world’s largest voluntary supermarket network with aggregate worldwide retail sales of more than $36 billion per year. The Alliance includes nearly 5,000 Hometown Proud Supermarkets worldwide, supported by 29 distribution centers and more than 30 major manufacturers, vendors and suppliers encompassing everything from grocery to equipment items. IGA has stores in 45 of the United States and more than 30 countries, commonwealths and territories. For more information about IGA, visit the IGA consumer website at www.iga.com, or the business site at www.becomeiga.com.