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Menomonie Market Food Co-op’s Marketing Manager Wins National Award

We’re excited to announce that our Marketing Manager, Kendall Williams, has been named an honoree in the 2020 GenNext Awards hosted by Progressive Grocer.

Now in its third year, the GenNext Awards is a program introduced by Progressive Grocer, the #1 media company in the grocery industry, to recognize individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated a commitment to a career in either the grocery or CPG industries; innovation through the work they’re doing; leadership, including the capacity to inspire and lead others; a commitment to learn from others; and a commitment to getting involved in the industry and helping in their community.

For this year’s awards, Progressive Grocer’s staff focused on honoring professionals who have gone above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic and played pivotal roles in helping their organizations adapt—specifically during these challenging times but also more broadly for long-term growth.

According to our General Manager Crystal Halvorson, it comes as no surprise that the awards committee believed Kendall’s work over the last eighteen months fit this description. “The moment our hiring team met Kendall, we knew she would not only fit right in with our familial culture at Menomonie Market but also that we had the potential as a leadership team to take ourselves to a new level,” says Halvorson. “Kendall has accomplished so much in such a short time—she hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped. The impact of COVID-19 on the grocery industry has been profound, and we have managed to stabilize and grow in large part because of Kendall’s work.”

Some of Kendall’s notable achievements since May 2019 include:

• Building and launching our new modern website with eCommerce capabilities in under thirty business days

• Reorganizing the marketing department to achieve peak efficiency with just two full-time employees, resulting in our ability to manage complex campaigns, plan a robust promotions calendar, publish bi-monthly print newsletters, and more

• Relaunching the co-op’s education program by designing a new online class catalog, building a new ticketing system on our website, redesigning a new print class calendar, and coordinating a marketing campaign that resulted in a 68% increase in registrations before the COVID-19 pandemic began

• Developing marketing campaigns for large sales that resulted in record-breaking growth over previous years

• Building the co-op’s first online personal shopping form in response to the pandemic in about a week, resulting in approximately $80K in online sales in the three months it was used before our replacement online store was launched

• Spearheading the launch of the co-op’s new online store in about two months on which customers can browse our 10,000+ products, view sales, create shopping lists, track order histories, and place orders for curbside pickup

“To say I’m honored to have won this award—one that most often goes to professionals who possess more experience in grocery than I do and work in divisions at international companies much larger than ours, including Kroger, Coca-Cola, Unilever, and more—would be an understatement,” says Williams. “I could not be more proud to have the hard work that I and my teammates have done over the last year and a half recognized on a national level. And while I’m humbled to be honored among so much emerging talent from all over the United States, none of what I accomplished would have been possible alone. What’s even more important to me than winning this award for myself is that our food co-op’s name is now right there next to mine, that this achievement is a reflection on not only our wonderful organization but also the power of the cooperative business model and the entire vibrant local food system we have here in the Chippewa Valley. This is a win for all of us, and it’s exciting to know that it’s just the beginning of what we’ll achieve in the coming years.”

Kendall, the third-youngest winner on this year’s list, was formally honored at a virtual awards ceremony on December 8, 2020. More information about Progressive Grocer’s 2020 GenNext Awards, as well as Kendall’s profile and a complete list of winners, can be found beginning on page 44 in the November 2020 issue of their magazine at https://issuu.com/ensembleiq/docs/pg_1120?fr=sZmI5NjgwODQ2MQ or on their website at https://progressivegrocer.com/2020-gennext-award-winners-leading-way.

This article was originally published in the January/February 2021 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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