AUGUSTA, MAINE – December 15, 2021 – The Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association (MGFPA) is proud to announce Tradewinds Market Place in Blue Hill and Tradewinds Shop ‘N Save in Calais owned by Chuck and Belinda Lawrence as the winners of the MGFPA 2021 Impact Award. Formerly titled the Grocer, Associate, and Food Producer of the Year Awards, this prestigious award is presented annually to a business who exemplifies excellence in the industry. Now exclusively awarded to one winner each year, the winner is chosen by meeting specific criteria including contributions to MFGPA’s advocacy mission, community service, business excellence through providing a positive workplace, increase in overall sales, and supporting the industry via legislative or educational activities. In addition, the annual award winner demonstrates a commitment to cultivating opportunities for other Maine businesses to grow.
The Lawrences are Maine natives who have devoted their lives to the grocery business and to giving back to their communities. In 2019, they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the founding of their first Tradewinds store in Blue Hill. Through the years, they’ve built food retail businesses from Ellsworth to Veazie, and Brewer to Old Town, as well as a car wash, pet wash, and fitness center. These enterprises have benefited not only the citizens of the communities, in which they are established, but have also become economic drivers for other businesses.
The Lawrences passionately believe that “good health is good for the community and business.” Over the years, they have made significant charitable contributions including founding and building the Lawrence Family Fitness Center and donating to cancer research. After an eight-year campaign, in 2019, they reached a milestone in their cancer care campaign by raising a million dollars by donating a penny for every gallon of gas sold. Their Tradewinds stores along with other Tradewinds locations “really proved to be pumped-up to fight cancer,” said Chuck. This money went directly to cancer patients in Maine through the Tradewinds oncology fund located at The Lafayette Cancer Center in Brewer. In 2016, the Lawrences founded the Lawrence Family Foundation to create a philanthropic legacy to ensure their charitable giving will continue in Maine. They are deeply connected to their communities which has led to their longevity and success.
“Belinda and I both support the full-circle approach to doing business. We truly believe and thrive on creating a healthy community and know that it will create a loyal and healthy business climate. We have a responsibility as a business to give back and try to donate to organizations that impact a majority of our customer base. We both also feel that our associates have to be happy at home in order to be happy at work, so our flexible work schedules and benefits are all based on a full-circle thought process,” explained Mr. Lawrence.
The Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association is honored to recognize Tradewinds’ owners, Belinda and Chuck Lawrence, for going above and beyond as members of the grocery industry and their communities. “We are thrilled to recognize their years of dedication to their customers – tourists and Mainers alike, and other Maine businesses whom they support. They’ve set an admirable standard of excellence and one which others in our industry seek to exemplify,” remarked Christine Cummings, MGFPA Executive Director. “They are deserving recipients of this award for their vast knowledge and expertise of the industry, willingness to assist with state legislation, and also their unwavering support for their communities.”
Dedication to the prosperity of Maine’s food-related businesses is a fundamental part of MGFPA’s mission and advocacy. The Lawrences demonstrate that commitment as well, stocking their stores with an extensive assortment of local food including shelf-stable, cold, and frozen products. Significant in-store displays radiate with bright and colorful artisan labels, another signature of creative food producers in Maine. “With more than 100 Maine food brands sold in their stores, they are providing the necessary, critical exposure and path to consumers for so many Maine businesses,” said Kate McAleer, MGFPA Board President.
The award was formally presented to the Lawrences by MGFPA Board President, Kate McAleer of Bixby Chocolate and MGFPA Executive Director, Christine Cummings on Friday, December 10th at their Blue Hill location. Formal celebrations and in-person membership recognition is slated for February 16th and 17th, 2022 at the Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association and Retail Association of Maine’s collaborative annual Summit Event.