If you’ve been reading this newsletter each week, you already know that big changes are afoot at IGA. From a new IGA Exclusive Brand label rollout and a National Digital Ad upgrade, to a new ecommerce platform, we’re moving fast to give IGA independent retailers all the programs they need to compete in this unprecedented time. It’s not about creating a one-size-fits-all resource and mandating its use across the Alliance, but rather providing a toolkit that gives retailers solutions they can customize and tailor to fit their specific needs—regardless of community or financial profile. And it’s the IGA National Retailer Advisory Board that helps us understand those needs.
The NRAB was established nearly 20 years ago to give the IGA corporate team the insight and feedback we need to help IGA USA retailers compete against national chains. This group of IGA retailers and representatives from IGA Licensed Distribution Centers (LDCs) and Red Oval Partners uses its knowledge and experience to make sure we’re on track with every resource we create. And, never has their feedback been more valuable than this year. Through weekly COVID-19 meetings, daily texts, and frequent phone calls, the NRAB has kept us informed of the many challenges faced by our retailers and our wholesalers, making it possible for us to create the tools independents need to navigate through the pandemic. We received many positive comments from retailers thanking IGA for their help and guidance—none of which would be possible without the NRAB’s willingness to share experiences and provide input.
Today I want to thank the NRAB for all they’ve done (and will continue to do) to guide our decisions during this pandemic, and also announce a change in NRAB leadership. Kevin Young of Young’s Payless IGA, who has so capably served as Chairman of the NRAB over the past two and a half years, is resigning his position as chairman. Kevin took responsibility as chairman when IGA was also transitioning to new leadership with John Ross, a time when guidance provided by NRAB paved the way for the path we are on today to help our retailers increase sales and expand our brand presence.
Despite a busy schedule with multiple IGA stores, an expanding hardware business, and now a new venture in Louie’s Pizza (proudly named after his Father, a long‐time IGAer), Kevin made time to serve. We sincerely appreciate his commitment to the board, to the brand, and how proudly he represents IGA in the markets he serves. We are grateful that Kevin has agreed to stay on as a member of the NRAB.
In consultation with the NRAB’s Executive Committee, which includes IGA retailers Gary Baker, Laura Malisani, and Bill Price, I am pleased to announce that IGA retailer Bob Rybick has agreed to become the next NRAB chairman. Bob is President and CEO of Geissler’s Supermarkets, with seven stores located in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Active in the industry, Bob serves on NGA’s Legislative Committee and also chairs the Connecticut Food Association legislative committee. He is a fourth-generation retail family member. His mother, Kathy, is one of the four children of James and Mary Nilsson, who inherited the business from Mary's father, A.F. Geissler.
Bob is a 2002 graduate of George Washington University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting, and University of Iowa, where he graduated in 2004 with an M.B.A. From there, Bob jumped right back into the family business as grocery manager at Geissler’s South Windsor, Connecticut, location. Soon after, he was promoted to senior center store grocery buyer, and then general manager. In 2019, Bob was nominated to lead the 97‐year‐old independent grocery chain as the new president and CEO.
Please join me in thanking Kevin for his service and extending congratulations to Bob for taking on his new role as chairman.