ABINGDON, Va. – Each year, United Fresh Produce Association recognizes the top 25 produce managers within the industry during their annual convention. William “Bill” Stewart, produce manager for Food City’s Paintsville location, has been named as one of the 25 finalists contending for the coveted 2017 Retail Produce Manager of the Year Award. Five grand-prize winners will be selected from among the field of competitors at the June industry convention in Chicago. Stewart hopes to be among the grand-prize winners.
“These men and women represent the “best of the best” in our industry,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh Produce Association President & Chief Executive Officer. “Through their creative efforts and interaction with customers, they’re making produce a centerpiece of the retail shopping experience and wowing consumers everyday.”
The candidates are selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by supermarket chains, commissaries and independent retail stores throughout the industry. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the areas of produce merchandising/marketing, community service and commitment to total customer satisfaction.
“Bill is an exceptional merchandiser, who is extremely adept at cross merchandising products with other departments throughout the store,” said Bucky Slagle, director of produce operations for Food City. “And, he is constantly identifying new and creative ways to display the items within his produce department. He’s a tremendous asset to our company, as well as the community at large.”
Stewart believes in educating the public about the important health benefits to be gained from a diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables. He is a staunch supporter of the company’s sampling program and delivers fresh fruit and vegetable samples to numerous community events throughout the year. He is a dedicated supporter of Food City’s locally grown produce program and believes in strengthening his community by supporting local farmers. He has devoted an entire aisle within his department to display locally grown products. He is also committed to getting his community involved, and participates in countless events throughout the year, encouraging and educating consumers about the important health benefits offered by fresh produce – not only for this generation but for generations to come. Stewart’s top priority is serving his loyal customers and helping ensure they are knowledgeable and well informed in order to make healthier purchase decisions. He is also a strong believer in giving back to his community, and participates in numerous community events, including Relay for Life, local school tours, Cameron 5K Run Christmas for Kids, Salad for the Schools program and promoting nutritional awareness at his local WIC office.
Food City associates were also named award winners in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Eight of those years, the company boasted a grand-prize winner.