Editor’s Note: This release was edited by Larry Lapka
PMA Honors DeCA Produce Manager Bennett For Excellence • FORT LEE
Bridget Bennett, the Defense Commissary Agency’s (DeCA) supervisory category manager for Produce, was named one of only four winners of the first-ever Retail Merchant Innovation Awards by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA).
The announcement was made during PMA’s annual Fresh Summit, held virtually on Oct. 14.
According to the PMA, the award celebrates directors and vice presidents of Produce who have “created an entrepreneurial culture and [promote] best-in-class merchant innovation, promotion and consumer education while successfully achieving team goals and growing demand for fresh Produce in their stores.”
Bennett — whose Produce department generated $415.22 million in sales during fiscal 2020, which ended Sept. 30, 2020 — is no stranger to industry honors, having been named as a Produce Retailer of the Year in 2012, as well as one of industry newspaper The Packer’s Top Women in Produce in 2014. At the time, Bennett said “When I was promoted to Produce manager, I knew that I had found a challenge that really intrigued me and allowed me to use my creativity.”
In addition to Bennett, others earning the award included Scott Bennett (no relation), Produce sales manager for Itasca, Ill.-based Jewel-Osco; Mike Tipton, vice president (VP) of Produce and Floral for St. Louis, Mo.-based Schnuck Markets; and Jeff Cady, director of Produce and Floral, for Williamsville, N.Y-based Tops Friendly Markets.
Tracie Russ, DeCA’s director of sales, noted, “Bridget Bennett is one of the most talented, experienced professionals in the global supermarket retail sector. She undeniably deserves this award. She exudes excellence in merchant innovation.”
Russ pointed to Bennett’s leadership skills as directly contributing to her success. “Her one-on-one training with store managers learning how to create enticing displays and building camaraderie resulted in better customer service, improved sales and assisted in training our Produce leaders for the future.”
Russ also noted Bennett’s innovative efforts including negotiating significant savings with the vendor community, developing promotional activities, her work with commodity boards and growers, and creating competition among stores to achieve their highest level of in-store merchandising, awarding the best with gift cards to give away to their customers at random.
“Bridget shines brightly amongst her peers in the global Produce world, offering our military patrons the very best example of what a superior Produce area can be,” she said.
“I’m honored to receive this award,” Bennett said. “It means so much to be recognized at the national level for doing a job that I enjoy so much. Being in the group selected as the award’s inaugural winners is just the icing on the cake.”
Edited by Larry Lapka