CGA Strategic Conference Concludes in Palm Springs

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From the bottom of our hearts, Team CGA would like to thank you for a memorable CGA Strategic Conference!

Our fully in-person event wrapped up on the last week of September and it was one for the books. Together we explored what retail will look like going forward, and how we can all rise to the occasion. We hope you walked away with a notebook full of ideas and a stack of new business cards.

It was a pleasure to see innovative new brands compete in our Emerging Brands Pitch Contest (shoutout to our first-place winner, Drunk Fruit). Our sold-out exhibit floor was full of many new faces and familiar ones. We sipped through the Tequila Tasting and Guacamole Happy Hour with the Illuminators and practiced our improv skills during the Opening Experience with Galen Emanuele. We tackled familiar supply chain challenges during the General Session with KeHe’s Amy Kirtland, heard a new perspective on resilience with Kevin Carroll, and pondered the retail roadmap with keynotes Carol Spiekerman and Kathy Varol. But most importantly, we connected with all of you, which is what we do best.

Thank you again and we’ll meet you back in Palm Springs in 2023!

CGA Hires Ion Bazgan as Controller

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We are delighted to announce that the California Grocers Association has hired Ion Bazgan as Controller following the retirement of former Controller Gary Brewer.

In this role, Ion will manage the accounting needs, financial reports, and investment accounts for the California Grocers Association, the CGA Educational Foundation, and Aisle 3 Concepts, LLC as well as the operations of the finance department.

“The financial health of CGA and the Foundation is in great hands with Ion, a highly qualified finance professional with an impressive background,” said President and CEO Ron Fong.

Ion’s extensive experience in financial management over the course of 25 years, most recently as Accounting Manager at Lettis Consultants International for the last 10 years, makes him a valuable addition to the Association and team CGA.

A graduate of the University of California, Davis, Ion holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and German.

Join us in welcoming Ion to CGA! Ion can be reached at [email protected].

Eight Contestants Selected for Emerging Brands Contest

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Discovering New Roads: Emerging Brands Pitch Contest

Hosted in Collaboration With the Navigator Lighthouse Foundation

The moment is finally here to announce the eight emerging companies selected to participate in the first-ever Discovering New Roads: Emerging Brands Pitch Contest at this year’s CGA Strategic Conference.

Contestants will take the stage for five minutes to tell their story and deliver their best pitch in an effort to win over the audience of industry decision-makers. Winners will walk away with unique prizes and critical business connections to elevate their brand.

Thank you to all of our applicants and congratulations to our selected participants!

I Eat My Greens

I Eat My Greens makes refrigerated plant-based soups that will make you fall in love with veggies! Their soups are minimally processed as seen by their vibrant colors and flavors.

They are obsessed with creating the best tasting soup without adding any unnecessary ingredients. Chef-crafted with clean, simple, whole food ingredients to delight your taste buds. Offering unique flavors never seen in the market before. 

They make it easy for you and your family to get your daily veggie intake in just 90 seconds. Best of all, your family will never know you didn’t make it from scratch.

I Eat My Greens is a minority-owned business that supports small scale family farms and donates meals to underserved communities. 

Website

Rethink Ice cream

ReThink is a Kinder Ice Cream to the Tummy, Cow, Environment & Community. Our mission is to make Tummy Friendly Ice Cream for the masses, and in the process create a new ice cream category built on gut health without sacrificing taste and texture

Website

Jelly Belly Sparking Water

Joffer Beverage Company, the licensee and promoter of Jelly Belly Sparkling Water, bring fun and flavor to the sparkling water category. Come by and sample our new Chocolate flavor – a totally guiltless indulgence. 

Joffer Beverage Company is bringing a flavor for everyone for incremental growth and new customers to the category

Website

NewGem Foods

NewGem Foods’ mission is to create a convenient and flavorful way to eat healthily and reduce global food waste by improving traditional foods with our plant-based wrap technology.

Website

Pennies Tea

With a mission to promote healthy living, Pennie’s Tea was designed to create change in the lives of its customers by infusing high-quality loose-leaf teas and cold brewed ice tea beverages with robust flavors for unique tasting experiences. 

The passion and drive behind the brand come from its loyal customers and founder, a survivor of domestic violence. A percentage of proceeds from Pennie’s Tea supports the safety and education of women who have experienced domestic violence. Pennie’s Tea is more than a drink … It’s a movement, transforming the way you experience tea.

Website

Built Bar

Built is unique when it comes protein bars. With its exceptional nutritional profile and premium high-quality ingredients, Built is a protein bar that tastes like a candy bar.  Only 130 Calories, 4g of Sugar, 17g of Protein and Gluten Free.

Website

Drunk Fruit

Drunk Fruit makes hard seltzers that celebrate the delightful fruits of Asia. Winner of multiple taste awards, our lineup of lychee, yuzu, and melon seltzers are brewed using a craft process and premium ingredients. Founded by Asian-American immigrants who want to bring representation of our culture to the alcohol world.

Website

Blind Tiger Spirit- Free Cocktails

Prohibition-inspired pours made for the modern drinker, Blind Tiger produces bar-quality, spirit-free cocktails ready to sip or mix. All-natural, organic, gluten-free and shelf stable, each beverage is known to classic cocktail culture, and all have a story to tell. Welcome back to the Roaring 20s!

Website

Now Accepting Applications: Emerging Brands Pitch Contest

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DISCOVERING NEW ROADS PITCH CONTEST

Sometimes all you need is to be in the right place at the right time. We can help with that.

Announcing the very first Emerging Brands Pitch Contest at the CGA Strategic Conference. The opportunity you’ve been waiting for to spotlight your product and gain exposure to major players in the California market is here!

WHAT

Ten emerging companies will be selected to showcase their brand to an influential audience of California retailers and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies. Contestants will have five minutes to take the stage to deliver their best pitch in an effort to win over the audience of industry decision-makers. Winners will walk away with unique prizes and business connections to help your brand reach the next level.

WHEN

September 25, 2022, 2:30 – 4:30 pm

WHERE

Palm Springs, California 

WHO

Any company that meets the following criteria may apply:

  • Must be retail ready, able to ship product to California retailers starting October 1, 2022.
  • Must be available to attend the CGA Strategic Conference in Palm Springs, September 25-27, 2022.
  • Grocery Sales must be in the range of $100,000 – $2 million
  • Company must be under 10 years old.
  • Must have a distribution supply chain network (i.e. UNFI, KEHE, C&S, DPI)
  • Will not qualify if they have participated in CGASC Emerging Brands Sessions in the past.
  • Product should be innovative and fill a consumer need. Sales pitch must explain your go-to-market and promotional strategy.

What is your WHY? You will have 5 minutes to present your product and tell your story. What makes your product different? Unique? Compelling? The story is as important as the product.

Deadline for submissions is July 31, 2022 and selected companies will be notified by August 12, 2022.

APPLY HERE

Independent Golf Photos 2022

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In early June the independent grocery community enjoyed another successful day on the green for the CGA Independent Grocers Golf Tournament! Friends and colleagues old and new had the opportunity to build relationships, try product samples, and compete in a game of golf during a beautiful day on the course.  Events like these remind us how impactful it can be to make new business connections and foster existing relationships with colleagues away from the office.  

Thank you to our golfers and amazing sponsors for making this day possible!

2022 CGA Strategic Conference: Registration & Sponsorships Now Open

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Start Your Journey

It’s time to redraw the retail roadmap. Registration is now open for the CGA Strategic Conference. Meet us in Palm Springs to make meaningful business connections, experience valuable educational sessions, and enjoy quality time with peers.

Secure your spot and hotel accommodations today.

Register here

The Retail Roadmap

Rounding another corner of the pandemic, the California grocery industry sets its sights on the road ahead. Charting new terrain —from unpredictable supply chain bottlenecks to labor-related hurdles and rapid inflation— retailers and brands now must redraw the retail roadmap to develop new skills, test new approaches, and accelerate decision-making.

Learn more

Destination of the Year

The first stop on your journey is here. Join us in Palm Springs for insightful educational sessions tackling the latest trends, issues, and solutions in our industry, peer-to-peer social events, and our signature retailer/supplier meetings.

Learn more

Go the Distance With a Sponsorship

Sponsorship opportunities are available at various investment and exposure levels. All sponsors receive a set number of private, pre-arranged meetings with senior management, procurement teams, and other retail professionals in the California grocery industry.

Whether you represent a new product or an established national supplier, this not-to-be-missed gathering of top industry decision makers will guide towards vital business relationships and help plot strategies to reach your desired business destination.

Learn more

CGA is Hiring!

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CGA is seeking a Controller to oversee the operations of the finance department and manage the Association’s accounting, financial reports, and investment accounts. Find more details on the position below.

Interested? Apply on LinkedIn.

Job Purpose:

The Controller manages the accounting needs, financial reports, and investment accounts for the California Grocers Association, the CGA Educational Foundation and Aisle 3 Concepts, LLC. This position manages the operations of the finance department, which includes accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliations, and payroll.

The Association serves and represents the grocery industry and advocates on their behalf. As a team, the CGA staff has created a culture statement to reflect our values: We are an empowered team guided by integrity and trust, to develop successful, long-term outcomes for our organization. At our core, we are collaborators who embrace each other’s diversity of perspectives and talents.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Maintains a documented system of accounting policies and procedures; implements a system of controls over accounting transactions to minimize risk.
  • Leads the organization’s finance department including managing one, direct staff member.
  • Oversees the production of monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports; ensures that the reported results comply with generally accepted accounting principles or financial reporting standards.
  • Manages the annual budget process and periodic forecasts; reports significant budget differences to management.
  • Provides financial analysis as needed and reconciles investment accounts monthly.
  • Works with external auditors and provides necessary information for the annual audit.
  • Oversees the management of payroll processes, 401(k) benefits and contributions and the employee benefits package.
  • Manages insurance policies and claims, including worker’s compensation, general liability, Directors & Officers, and building insurance.
  • Manages accounting functions for Association’s building and tenants including rent roll and reviewing leases.
  • Working with the CEO/COO, manages several committees, and outside financial consultants.
  • Makes presentations to various Boards, committees and groups.
  • Manage IT contract and services including coordinating upgrades, security protocols, and troubleshooting minor issues.
  • Performs other related duties as necessary or assigned.

Qualifications:

Required skills/abilities:

  • Strong Excel, QuickBooks Accounting Desktop 2021, and accounting software skills.
  • Strong verbal communication skills and the ability to answer questions, present solutions and suggest efficiencies.
  • Excellent accounting skills including experience with budgeting, financial statement analysis and preparation.
  • Ability to deliver quality work on tight deadlines, with strong organization and priority setting skills.
  • Strong presentation and interpersonal skills. Must be able to communicate financial information into sound business language so people of all levels can understand.
  • Ability to self-direct and self-manage multi-faceted workload of a busy association.
  • Contributing and compatible team player. Works closely with the association’s senior leadership team and various boards and committees.
  • Excellent management and supervisory skills.

Education and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance required.
  • Seven to ten years of related experience required.
  • Demonstrated skills and management experience overseeing a department and direct report.
  • Certified Public Accountant or Certified Management Account designation preferred.
  • Understanding of applicable laws and regulations.
  • Understanding of financial data analysis and reporting.
  • Knowledge of payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable functions.

Working Conditions:

Work is generally performed in an office environment in downtown Sacramento with a flexible work from home option following completion of 90-day performance evaluation. Occasional overnight travel to CGA events throughout California.

The California Grocers Association provides medical, dental, and vison insurance for employee and eligible dependents, and life insurance and long term disability insurance for the employee. The Association also provides eligible employees with a generous 401(k) and profit sharing program along with paid sick, vacation and holiday time. Parking in downtown location provided.

The position is full time, exempt. Salary commensurate with experience and credentials.

The information provided in this description is designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, or qualifications required of employees in this job.

Physical Requirements:

Employee may experience the following physical demands for extended periods of time:

  • View computer monitors;
  • Sitting at a desk;
  • Standing for CGA events;
  • Occasional overnight travel (including driving and flying) to other locations within California, to support CGA events.

Direct Reports:

This position supervises the Senior Accountant & Assistant Office Manager position.

Hall of Achievement Dinner 2022

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Industry Celebrates Kendra Doyel and Mickie Sharp-Villanueva

For the first time in two years, around 400 industry members and friends gathered for the Hall of Achievement (HOA) Dinner in Redondo Beach to honor Kendra Doyel (Ralphs Grocery Company) and Mickie Sharp-Villanueva (the Performance Group).

The spirit of giving was in the air as attendees raised just over $95,000 for the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation (CGAEF) through both the silent and live auctions, and the Fund-a-Need program. Funds will benefit the next generation of student leaders, funding scholarships and educational programs for grocery industry members and their dependents for years to come.

Thank you to our generous sponsors and attendees for making this memorable celebration possible.

Congratulations to Kendra and Mickie from your friends at CGA and CGAEF!

See event photos below.

Meet CGA’s New Business Development Manager

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We’re thrilled by the recent addition of Bailey Dayen to the California Grocers Association team.

In the newly created position of Business Development Manager, Bailey will help advance CGA’s growth, working closely with industry partners across all categories, to create meaningful partnerships and enhance collaboration opportunities.

Having worked for the Gallo Sales Company for the past three years, most recently as District Manager, Bailey brings a wealth of knowledge and experience working with both a top CPG brand and California grocery retailers to her new role. A native Californian, Bailey is a graduate of California State University, Chico with a degree in Agribusiness.

Leading the Association’s business development, Bailey will collaborate with brands and service providers to tailor packages that boost exposure through CGA communications, while also managing sponsorship sales and services for CGA events, including the popular CGA Strategic Conference.

Join us in welcoming Bailey to the CGA team. If you would like to connect, Bailey can be reached at [email protected].

California Grocer: Issue 1 Highlights

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The New Fault Lines in California Politics

Following a tumultuous statewide redistricting process, the first California Grocer issue of 2022 covers everything you need to know about California politics this year.

In her first column as CGA Chair, Renee Amen shares her take on state legislators’ “Great Resignation” and calls for unity across the political aisle. Louie Brown from Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP breaks down both new laws and existing laws going into effect this year.

With two years of COVID under our belts, CGA Vice President of Government Relations Kelly Ash sorts through the contradictions in some statewide COVID policies ending, while others, like supplemental paid sick leave, remain in place. NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara covers Congress’s to-do list for 2022 as it relates to the economy, the supply chain, and more.  Matt Rodriguez, CEO of Rodriguez Strategies, forecasts the future of the California Democratic party and the state’s progressive politics following redistricting.

Must read sections from Issue 1:

  • Chair’s Message: A Fresh Year
    Renee Amen
  • Need to Know: New Laws for 2022
    Louie Brown
  • Lessons I’ve Learned on Leadership and Life
    Kevin Konkel
  • Shifting Electoral Dynamics in Democratic California
    Matt Rodriguez

Read Issue 1 here.