Retail Tomorrow, California

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An In-Depth look at the current and future states of retail

Last week, the CGA Board and staff traversed the Bay Area, taking a deeper look at the supply chain, workforce, and companies on the vanguard of technology. The tour was part of the Association’s first Retail Tomorrow, California, event and quarterly board of directors meeting, and it brought attendees to the ground level of the macroeconomic issues facing our industry, as well as some of the possible solutions.

“Living in the past and the future at the same time” was how one panelist described the current state of the supply chain and labor pool, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the first leg of Retail Tomorrow. Attendees kicked off Wednesday morning with a tour of Plenty and the Port of Oakland. Plenty, a vertical farming operation, has developed a near-fully automated operation whereby high yields of leafy greens can be generated without soil or by-hand harvesting.

While Plenty offered one vision for the future of retail, attendees also received an on-the-ground picture of the current state of retail — specifically, the functions of the supply chain — when visiting the Port of Oakland. A mid-sized operation, the Port features no automation, and guest speakers shared that there is little productive difference in efficiency between its current workforce and an automated one.

After touring Plenty and the Port of Oakland, the Retail Tomorrow group explored PayPal Park, home of the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team. Oakland Athletics President, and former San Jose Earthquakes President, Dave Kaval led grocers and suppliers on an exploration of how professional sports teams work to engage their customers at the park. In a world powered by digital interactions, Kaval noted the franchise must work to draw fans to an in-person event while utilizing data and digital marketing savvy to keep their attention at games and after.

Following the Association’s Board of Directors meeting, the group visited Google’s new Bay View campus. There, hundreds of employees appeared to be truly flourishing, given plenty of space and modes to express themselves for the benefit of the business. Hearing from Google’s “Food for Good” founder, Emily Ma, you sensed the way Google employees combine the human touch with bleeding edge technology. In Ma’s case it took the form of dumpster diving at five a.m. to track food waste while using AI to detect and predict the growth of mold and defects in strawberries. CGA is extremely excited to begin collaborating with Google to increase equity and sustainability all while reducing food waste in the communities we serve.

If you’d like to learn more about Retail Tomorrow, California, enjoy this sneak peek from the event!

2023 Independent Operators Symposium

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Join Your Independent Grocery Peers for a Timely Retreat on Maui

Like the seasons, life in business requires constant rebirth and reimagining. But as busy operators navigating everything from supply chain disruptions to global inflation, it is harder than ever to carve out the necessary time

With this reality in mind, CGA offers the Independent Operators Symposium at the the beginning of each new year. As its namesake suggests, the Symposium features a congenial atmosphere where grocers can learn, find inspiration, and recharge themselves personally and professionally.

The upcoming Independent Operators Symposium takes place January 7-14, 2023 at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort on Maui.

Learn more about the event, registration, and Hawaiian travel details here.

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.

When All Californians Come Together, Small Changes Have Big Impacts

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California is feeling the impacts of climate change like never before

Cycles of extreme heat and weather variability, long periods of drought and low snowpack are putting California on the cusp of the worst drought in our state’s history. Today, more than 95% of the state is in “severe drought,” and we simply do not have enough water to meet the needs of California’s homes, businesses, farms and wildlife.

As we prepare for summer, vacations and fun, we must also prepare for record hot weather. While climate change and water supply shortages pose a huge challenge for the entire West, every Californian can take steps to make a difference by taking a summer-ready approach to water use. This is an all-hands-on-deck situation – but we’ve got this.

Now is the time for Californians to step up and conserve water because every drop counts. Small and consistent changes to reduce water use daily will make a big impact in the long run. With 50 percent of home water use in dedicated to outdoor purposes, there are ways to significantly reduce water usage outside. Easy, actionable steps you can take today include:

  • Turn off your sprinklers and other irrigation systems when rain is in the weather forecast.
  • Prioritize watering your trees when faced with watering restrictions: Remember, trees are an investment. It will take more water, time and money to replace a mature tree lost to drought than to keep one alive.
  • Replace grass with drought-resistant landscaping or turf: Water-wise plants and landscaping use little or no water once established.
  • Install automatic shut off valves for your outdoor sprinkler systems: Installing a drip irrigation system and a smart controller can save 15 gallons each time you water.
  • Plant water-wise plants: Check with your local water agency on the best plants for your climate. It is best to use water-wise, California-native plants where possible.
  • Lay mulch around your plants and yard: Laying 2–4 inches of organic mulch around your yard can keep the soil moist and reduce water use.

Learn more about how you can do your part to #SaveOurWater at saveourwater.com.

Kevin Konkel

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CGA catches up with recently-retired Kevin Konkel to gather his insights from 44 years in the grocery industry.

By Kevin Konkel

Former Chief Operations Officer at Raley’s & Former CGA Board Chair

Seek first the most important and meaningful things in life.  Then the trials, tribulations, joys, and victories may be kept in perspective. The eyes of man are never satisfied. If more “stuff” is what we want, we will never have enough, and gratitude will elude us.

Find the right partner. Leadership is hard, and the right relationship at home to ground inspire and challenge makes all the difference.

You are the “goose that lays the golden eggs.”  Take care of yourself and continue to produce golden eggs long-term. Focus on spiritual & physical health; otherwise, it’s difficult to serve others and tend to responsibilities. Neglecting this fact catches up to us more quickly than we realize.

If you want to be a great leader, have the heart of a servant. It’s a life-long journey, and we never fully arrive, so above all else, be humble — lookout not only for your interests but for the interests of others.

Intense competitiveness and kindness can co-exist. I’ve seen and experienced this time and time again in retailing. Daily, we set out to beat the competition yet cheer each other on simultaneously. Go figure.

Learn from those who have done it before us. No matter what we’re going through, someone else has been in our shoes and persevered. Seek them out.

After doing the research, it’s ok to trust our gut/heart. There are tons of cliches out there from “experts” that have never been in our shoes, and at the end of the day, we own our decisions. Seek advice, but question it ruthlessly to ensure it’s a path to go down.

Prevail over self-doubt. Imposter syndrome is often a natural byproduct when we’re persistently leaning against our comfort zone; push through it.

“I’m sorry” and “I forgive you “ are powerful statements for the workplace too. Nothing is more powerful than admitting mistakes, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love. Never take a genuine connection for granted. True friends and trusted colleagues are hard to find. Honest conversations are rare. Moments of vulnerability are special. Soak these up.

We are human beings, not human doings. Love, care and serve, knowing people are not widgets.  People need leaders who provide trust, compassion, stability, and hope to achieve their best and that entails treating others with respect and dignity who are wonderfully and fearfully made individuals.

Be a good steward. Return the business to the owner in better condition than where we found it.  Optimally, much better.

The graveyard is full of indispensable people. We will eventually be replaced. We will move on someday. Don’t be threatened by up-and-coming superstars within our organizations. Build a bench of talent better than us and start today.

This article originally appeared in California Grocer Issue 1. For more Issue 1 content and stories, visit here.

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].