Workshops & Sessions

The NGA Show features over 40 educational workshops and sessions, highly specialized and geared towards all members of your team. Click on the buttons below to view each track's workshop sessions:








2017 Digital Brochure

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Opening Keynote

Former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner will deliver the opening keynote address, sponsored by The Kraft Heinz Company. 

A former small businessman, Boehner served for nearly five years as the 53rd Speaker of the House, where he led efforts for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable federal government. Given his wealth of knowledge, along with his small business background, and of course his candor, join us for this special session which will provide insight about the current political and economic issues and how they will impact independent grocers. Read more

Sponsored by:


General and Super Breakfast Sessions

The Independent Customer – Attitudes and Behaviors
Monday, February 13 | 6:45 am - 8:00 am

NGA commissioned Nielsen to survey grocery shoppers to determine what drives their behaviors.  The research examined shoppers’ attitudes and actions relative to loyalty programs, e-commerce, fresh and prepared foods and center store. The behaviors of consumers who primarily shop independent grocers might surprise you.  Learn what motivates your customers and how you can meet their needs.

Doug Fritsch, Senior Vice President, Retail and Business Development, IGA, Inc. 
Dennis Host, Vice President, Marketing, Coborn's, Inc. 
Beau Mainous, Chief Customer Officer, Chobani 
Frank Puleo, VP Retail Marketing & Services, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. 
Laurie Rains, Group Vice President, U.S. Retail Consumer & Shopper Analytics, Nielsen
Roxanne Bernstein, Vice President, Marketing, Post Consumer Brands

Sponsored by: 
 CHOBANI_MASTERLOGO_K nielsen_website  Post Consumer Brands website 

Retail Innovation – Ideas to Grow Profits
Monday, February 13 | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

The innovative spirit of the independent retailer is alive and well. Known for their flexibility and ability to quickly adapt, independent grocers are eager to adopt progressive solutions that drive profitability. From e-commerce to operational efficiency to center store sales growth, hear how NGA members have embraced new programs and solutions to increase sales, reduce expenses and improve profits.  Presented as a series of brief case studies, retailers will share their unique approaches to innovation throughout the store.

Moderator: Janel Haugarth 
Roger Lowe Jr., Vice President & CEO, Lowe’s Markets
Paul McGillivray, Vice President, Customer Experience, Strategy, Roche Bros.
Rich Niemann, Jr., President and CEO, Niemann Foods, Inc. 
Erick Taylor, President & CEO, Pyramid Foods

Sponsored by: 
 freshop website Kimberly Clark   Visa_website

2017 Creative Choice Awards Presentation
Tuesday, February 14 | 7:00 am - 8:15 am


Independent grocers are known for their creativity, passion, and agility to meet shifting demands in the marketplace – and it shows in their promotional programs. NGA’s Creative Choice Awards recognize marketing and merchandising programs, promotions, and community events that have boosted store traffic, increased item or department sales, positively impacted overall store sales or provided a unique benefit to the community. Discover marketing promotions and merchandising events that add an element of fun and excitement to the shopping experience. Winners of the ‘Outstanding Marketer/Merchandiser’ title will be revealed during this Super Breakfast Session. To learn more, visit

Moderator: Michael Sansolo, President, Sansolo Solutions, LLC

Sponsored by:

 Kelloggs website  Unilever website

Reaching Millennial Consumers: NGA Student Case Study Competition
Tuesday, February 14 | 3:15 pm - 4:30 pm

The NGA Student Case Study Competition explores opportunities to increase sales among millennial shoppers.  Hear students’ ideas and suggestions to increase frequency of visits, basket size, and purchases of higher margin items. The two finalists will present their recommendations and judges will determine the competition winner at the end of the session.  Find out which university will claim the title of 2017 champion and discover creative ways to grow sales among this important demographic group.

Jon Hauptman, Senior Director, Willard Bishop
Student Panel

Sponsored by:

The Future of Fresh
Tuesday, February 14 | 3:15 pm - 4:30 pm

Independent retailers rely on superior fresh departments to ensure shoppers return time and again.  From the leaders of the meat and produce associations, learn how retailers are refreshing their marketing programs and adding excitement to product merchandising.  Value added product, children-centric marketing programs and customer education programs are just a few of the ways independents are maintaining their competitive edge in fresh.  Excellence in execution in fresh may be your single most effective weapon to compete against new stores and formats in your market.  Take away successful strategies to try in your store(s).

Emily Coborn, Vice President, Fresh Merchandising, Coborn’s, Inc.
Eric Ellestad, Founder and CEO, Local Roots
Sarah Schmansky, Director, Fresh Growth and Strategy, Nielsen
Joe Watson, Vice President, Domestic Business Development, Produce Marketing Association

With over 40 specialized educational workshops led by retailers for retailers and more than 325 companies on our EXPO floor showcasing innovative and game-changing products and solutions, The NGA Show provides countless opportunities to learn from your peers and other industry thought leaders. Bring your whole team to The NGA Show and bring home ideas that will drive profitable growth for your company.