Beginning this weekend, the independent grocery industry will gather in person for The NGA Show, giving retailers, wholesalers, and vendors the opportunity to learn, engage, share, network, and innovate. With over 60 specialized workshops and over 400 companies on the EXPO floor, attendees will discover new tactics to drive profitable growth and game-changing products and solutions available in the market today.
And IGA leadership and retailers will be a big part of the show. "With proposed tax changes, supply issues, and ongoing COVID concerns, our collective voice as independent grocers is more important now than ever before," says IGA CEO John Ross about IGA's involvement in The NGA Show. "NGA needs your support to make that voice heard."
If you'll be in attendance, use the list of IGA-participating sessions below to plan your schedule. We'll be at the NGA Executive Conference on Saturday and Sunday also, and at The NGA Show, which runs Sunday through Tuesday. And if you're sitting this one out? Don't worry—we'll be covering many of the topics addressed at the show in upcoming editions of The IGA Minute.
Saturday, September 18 | NGA Executive Conference
Counting Data Among Independents' Strengths
IGA CEO John Ross; President John Abbene, BRdata Software Solutions
There’s strength in numbers, whether that’s people or data, so why not harness both? Aggregating data across multiple independent retailers makes us larger than our superstore competitors and enables new opportunities. From better price optimization to the early detection of shifting trends, independents can become a force to be reckoned with by collaborating on how best to leverage data and insights to improve both the shopper experience and the bottom line. A large customer base is important, but linking customer data to basket data powers the personal service for which independent community grocers are well known. Join this session to learn how taking an experimenter’s approach can give your team the tools and evidence they need to make better decisions.
Supermarket Sustainability: How to Resonate With Shoppers
IGA CEO John Ross; Sendik's Food Market Co-Owner Ted Balistreri
The COVID-19 pandemic has not diminished shopper passion for sustainability—on the contrary, in our divided age, sustainability is one of the few priorities on which most Americans agree. And as supermarkets have become even more central to people’s lives over the past year, shoppers expect grocery retailers to lead the way when it comes to protecting the environment and local communities. In fact, most consumers are willing to travel an additional five to 10 minutes to visit a store they believe has a stronger impact. This session will reveal these and other findings of the most recent study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America: “Sustainability and Food Retailing.” Council members will share shoppers’ sustainability priorities by generation, demographic and geography, along with initiatives that will resonate most with each group.
IGA Coca-Cola Institute President Dr. Paulo Goelzer
Join the IGA Coca-Cola Institute and Retail Learning Institute in the Collaboration Lounge at the Champagne Ballroom at the Paris Hotel.
Sunday, September 19 | The NGA Show
Prepared Foods: Capitalizing on New Demand for Foods To Go
Director Communications & External Affairs Jim Dudlicek, National Grocers Association; IGA Retailer Nakul Patel, Mt. Plymouth IGA; VP Bakery/Deli Jody Barrick, UNFI; VP Sales Todd Jensen, Harmons
Sales of fresh foods to go benefited from the decline in restaurant visits. Quality, taste, and convenience will always be the key elements of prepared food programs though retailers willed to create a competitive edge to maintain sales. We’ll review best practices for operational efficiency as well as strategies for growing sales in this category.
IGA Coca-Cola Institute President Dr. Paulo Goelzer
Join the IGA Coca-Cola Institute and Retail Learning Institute in the Collaboration Lounge at the Champagne Ballroom at the Paris Hotel until 3:30 p.m. and in the NGA lounge just outside Registration near the Grand Ballroom at Bally’s at 12:00 p.m.
Monday, September 20
eCommerce Best Practices
IGA CEO John Ross; eCommerce Director Chad Bersie, UNFI; EVP Operations Scott Lewis, Harmons; Sendik's Food Markets Co-Owner Ted Balistreri
The retail industry gained a wealth of experience with e-commerce programs in 2020. We’ll focus on operational efficiencies and review ways to ensure the profitability of online shopping.
Fresh Produce Consumer Trends
IGA Retailer Bob Rybick, Geissler’s Supermarkets President & CEO; Director of Produce & Floral Price Mabry, HAC; VP Operations Jorge Gonzalez, Leevers Supermarkets
How is the produce shopper juggling fewer trips to the store with an increase in meals at home? We’ll look at how sales have shifted in the produce department and strategies for growing sales in 2021.
The Future of Marketing: Print to Digital Shift
IGA VP Business Partnerships Heidi Huff; Director of Marketing Julie Anderson, Fresh Encounter; VP of Marketing & Customer Experience Michelle Mendoza, Associated Supermarket Group; VP Marketing Todd Robinson, Busch’s
During the height of the pandemic, many retailers shifted advertising funds from print to digital. We’ll review the magnitude of the shift and hear best practices for ensuring a good ROI on digital spending.
Ransomware: How to Prepare For & Mitigate An Attack
IGA CEO John Ross; President Ken Andrews, Millennium Digital Technologies
Cyber Criminals are targeting a variety of industries, including food retail, with increasing frequency and sophistication. Learn about the latest strategies the perpetrators are using to penetrate common security measures and how ransomware damage is becoming more costly to merchants of all sizes. We'll discuss best practices you can implement now to prevent ransomware attacks and secure your business as well as steps for responding to an attack.
Expanding the Reach of eCommerce: SNAP Online Purchasing
Senior Director of Government Relations Molly Pfaffenroth, National Grocers Association; IGA Retailer Jimmy Wright, Wright’s Market President; VP Operations Doug Haworth, Woods Supermarkets; VP Human Resources JR Stepherson, Stepherson's SuperLo Foods; VP Product Development Steve Methvin, DUMAC Business Systems
Learn more about the requirements and process for retailers to offer SNAP shoppers the option to use EBT benefits in e-commerce programs. The 2014 Farm Bill created a pilot program for selected retailers and states to accept SNAP benefits online, and the program expanded almost nationwide at the onset of the pandemic due to an increase of customers shopping from home. Hear from key stakeholders in the SNAP online purchasing space—including one of the original pilot retailers—about the requirements, testing process and challenges retailer face.
Tuesday, September 21
IGA VP Business Partnerships Heidi Huff & WGA Members
The Women Grocers of America (WGA) roundtable session will cover a variety of topics that will identify solutions and new ideas surrounding workplace challenges, including: WGA Membership, Leadership, Engaging & Retaining, Wellness at Work, Developing Your Personal Brand, Communication & Engagement, Work-Life Balance.
Find the full schedule of events here.
COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
NGA and The NGA Show organizers are committed to ensuring a safe event for all exhibitors, attendees, and staff and are following guidelines issued by the CDC and state and local officials. Masks will be required at all events and The NGA Show has adopted a “COVID Vaccination or Negative Test” approach. This means that in order to gain access to The NGA Show and associated events, all participants will have to provide:
- Proof of their COVID-19 “full vaccination” ("Full vaccination" means that the participant has received the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration or by the equivalent authority in a participant's country of residence)
- Results showing a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours prior to the participant's arrival to the Show
For more information on satisfying the NGA Show Right of Entry requirement, please visit their website.
With so much to learn—and the opportunity to safely gather, network, and celebrate with fellow independent retailers—the IGA team looks forward to seeing you!
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