AUGUSTA, MAINE – September 29th, 2016 – The Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association (MGFPA) is proud to announce their prestigious 2016 awards. Food City and Save-a-Lot Stores located in Bridgton, Lewiston, Lisbon Falls, Livermore Falls, Turner, Waterville, and Wilton is the 2016 Grocer of the Year; Raye’s Mustard of Eastport, is the Producer of the Year, and United Insurance of Portland and 14 locations throughout Maine is the 2016 Associate of the Year.
Stanley Sclar and son Zak have combined their real estate and grocery management expertise for more than 30 years managing their multi-state grocery business that includes seven stores in Maine and one each in Vermont and Massachusetts employing 320 people. Their Maine stores employ 225 people. Food City, a name Zak came up with, is supplied by C & S Wholesale Grocers and Save-a-Lot stores are supplied by Supervalu.
Zak Sclar attributes their success and positive position in the competitive marketplace to their employees. “Each employee is a trusted team member. We want our store managers, produce, deli and meat managers to feel that they ‘own and operate’ their own business which fosters tremendous pride resulting in a positive stake in the company. These managers take ownership and feel like they are running their own stores. This award belongs to them because they are the ones who are awaken at night when an alarm goes off or take it personally when someone gives their notice. I just support them, and together we strive to be more innovative and responsive to our customers’ needs,” said Sclar.
Food City is competing in the marketplace through innovated sales marketing strategies that correlate with their mission to give back to their customers and the communities they serve. Zak Sclar is Second Vice President of the MGFPA Board of Directors, serves on the Government Relations Committee, and has lent his business savvy to the Board.
The Raye family has been milling mustard for four generations. In 1900, J. Wesley Raye, a 20-year-old sea captain’s son, founded the business in the family smokehouse to make mustard sauce for Maine’s burgeoning sardine industry. While Maine’s sardine industry died off, Raye’s Mustard adapted to changing tastes to produce small batch blends. Its signature yellow mustard, Down East Schooner, has won numerous gold medals in the Worldwide Mustard Competition in recent years.
In 2006, Karen and Kevin Raye bought the business from his cousin and have grown the company from three mustards to now over 25 different varieties. The Raye’s attribute the award to their 6 full time and 4 seasonal employees. “This is truly an all hands on deck company. Our employees take great pride in their work and we’re grateful for their dedication,” said Karen Raye.
Raye’s All Natural Stone Ground mustard is made in the last remaining stone ground mustard mill in North America and Raye’s Historic Old Stone Mill still stands as a working museum. This has helped Raye’s Mustard gain national attention and notoriety including being featured on Oprah, Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart television shows. In 2016, Raye’s Mustard was featured in Google’s Economic Impact Report, a state-by-state economic impact of Google. The Google report notes that “with on-line purchases now accounting for 25% of overall sales, the Raye’s relaunched their e-commerce website twice, using Google Analytics to figure out what netted the best results.”
Karen Raye is First Vice President of the MGFPA Board and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. Kevin Raye, served four terms in the Maine Senate and President of the Maine Senate. The Raye’s are active community supporters in the City of Eastport and in Perry where they reside.
United insurance is a leading Maine insurance company taking pride in working with Maine businesses including Maine’s grocery and food producer businesses. United Insurance was founded in the mid 1800’s by H. O. Perry, a civil war veteran, who upon his return to Fort Fairfield opened his first office. Mr. Perry was a community minded man who believed in doing business locally. Chris Condon, President and CEO of United Insurance is one of eight partners now overseeing 140 employees in fourteen offices from Fort Kent to Portland, Lewiston to Falmouth is carrying on Mr. Perry’s legacy.
“We are known for our attention to detail and personable service. We strive to create positive working relationships so that our clients will remain with us for a lifetime,” said Mr. Condon.
“We’re very proud of our employee’s commitment to excellence and their dedication to community service. We firmly believe in serving organizations that make our communities stronger including Rotary Clubs, United Way, Chambers’ of Commerce and of course the MGFPA,” Condon added.
Tim McGonagle represents United Insurance as MGFPA Board Secretary and is active on the Strategic Planning and Golf Committees. Mr. McGonagle has enthusiastically embraced his role as a Board Director helping to promote the value of the MGFPA to prospective members.