Welcome to SN Off the Shelf, a podcast series from Supermarket News.
In this twice-monthly feature, presented in a conversational format, SN editors will talk with industry executives, experts and other grocery players about the news, trends and issues that matter most to retailers and their business partners.
In this edition SN talks with Greg Ferrara, the new president and CEO of the National Grocers Association. Earlier this month, Ferrara stepped into the role being vacated by Peter Larkin, who is scheduled to retire at the end of the year after serving in an advisory role through the transition. NGA is the only trade association exclusively focused on representing the independent sector of the food industry.
In his previous role as executive VP, Ferrara was NGA’s chief lobbyist and oversaw the Arlington, Va.-based organization’s advocacy and lobbying efforts, public relations, industry relations, and retail and wholesale membership. He has represented NGA and its membership before members of Congress and federal agencies as well as directed the association’s political and grassroots affairs, including the NGA Grocers PAC, and relationships with state trade association partners.
Ferrara’s years of independent grocery experience include managing his family’s century-old supermarket in New Orleans, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In SN Off the Shelf, Ferrara breaks down some of the key challenges facing today’s independent grocer, including critical labor issues.
“I think overall as an industry, we really need to look at how we hire and how we attract the best workers to our businesses,” he told us. “Sometimes when I visit our members’ stores while I’m out traveling around, I’ll see a sign in the door that says, ‘Now Hiring,’ ‘Must be able to work all nights and weekends.’ Well, what are you telling that prospective employee? You’re telling them, ‘I’m going to work you every night and every weekend and you’re going to have no personal time for your family.’ And what’s going to happen is they’re going to walk down the street to the four other employers that are hiring as well and they’re going to go work for them because they’re more forward thinking.”
Listen to our conversation with Greg Ferrara for more of his insights, as well as what we can expect from NGA going forward.