Produce Marketing Association Announces Third Impact Award Laureate: Al Romero of 99 Cents Only Stores
- by Lilian Diep
NEWARK, DE - Exciting news comes as Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the third and final winner of its Impact Award. The association has chosen to recognize Al Romero, Senior Merchandising Manager at 99 Cents Only, for his continued work to bring greater access to produce in his urban Los Angeles community. The award is given to those individuals or organizations that have made a significant impact in transforming the produce and floral community, consumers, and the world.
“What we created in the produce department is a healthier environment for our customers, our community, and our associates,” said Romero in response to this honor. “It was a team effort with our buyers. They brought in a great variety and my job was introducing it as an appealing option and getting it out there to the community. When I wake up every day, I’m excited to come to work. I think about what family are we going to make happy? What family are we going to help put food on the table?”
Romero is the first individual winner of the PMA Impact Award, showing the great effect that he has had on his community. According to a press release, Romero was nominated for his dedication to bringing fresh produce to his community through his 99 Cents Only store services.
“We know that two of the greatest barriers for fruit and vegetable consumption is preference and accessibility,” said Lauren M. Scott, Chief Strategy and Membership Officer at PMA. “Al Romero has tackled both of these barriers by helping to introduce produce to his stores. Not only is he working with buyers to provide a variety of produce at a price point that serves his customers, his outstanding merchandising is making it a desirable and sought after option week after week.”
An industry veteran, beginning his career in 1978, he started by stocking shelves and pushing carts. Since his industry career inception, Romero has worked his way up to becoming not only a Senior Merchandising Manager at 99 Cents Only, but through his dedication to bringing fresh produce availability to his community has become the first ever Fresh Manager with the company.
With Romero’s help, 99 Cents Only now offers over 250 SKUs of fresh produce to its customers. In many locations, the produce is delivered just 72 days after harvest, giving great quality products to those in underserved communities. In addition to the vast amount of traditional fresh produce, 99 Cents Only boasts 20 percent of it being organic.
“Al was our first Fresh Manager in the field,” said Caitlyn Tierney, Senior Director of Fresh at 99 Cents Only Stores. “He and I grew produce to what it is today. We had a supplier call us and tell us he needed to sell a shipment of strawberries. We bought the load, sent it to our stores and within an hour the whole load was sold out. We said ‘clearly this is something our community is in dire need of.’”
To see Romero’s story, click here.
We want to congratulate Al on his award and thank him for his services and commitment to fresh produce. What other exciting and impactful contributions will PMA winners continue to make? Keep reading ANUK for updates.