In-Person Gov. Relations Day + Crisis Comms. Seminar

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Join CGA for a day of strategy, analysis, and action at the Association’s in-person Government Relations Day. From local government challenges to state and regulatory concerns, CGA’s in-person GR Day will set the table for the coming year’s political objectives.

GR Day attendees will hear expert takes on California’s political scene today and analyses of legislation impacting our industry. Matt Rodriguez, who specializes in California campaigns, will survey election results. Louie Brown, the Association’s contract lobbyist and longtime Capitol insider, will break down key legislation. Stuart Waldman, President of the Valley Industry Commerce Association, will present his take on recent political maneuvering in the Los Angeles City Council.

GR Day takes place November 10 in Van Nuys at Anheuser-Busch, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Reserve your spot today. RSVP here.

How to Communicate in Times of Crisis

As public spaces and essential businesses, grocery stores are increasingly faced with serious public relations challenges — everything from inflation to tragic in-store violence.

At this year’s GR Day, grocers will spring into action during a communications seminar led by media expert Nancy Heffernan from Lucas Public AffairsAfter learning the latest political happenings, GR Day participants will explore the new media landscape facing grocers, how to manage media in a crisis, and engage in interactive scenarios and drills. 

Whether you’re a c-suite executive, government relations leader, or communications professional, the Crisis Communications Seminar offers all public affairs stakeholders the chance to brush up on the basics and sharpen the advanced techniques needed for these challenging times.

For questions, contact Leticia Garcia.

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

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.