Green Bay Press-Gazette business reporter Jeff Bollier, aka Streetwise, wants to hear from you with news on new businesses, openings, closings, expansions and improvements. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. March 14, 2018.
Jeff Bollier/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
DE PERE – Marlin Greenfield’s lifetime contributions to Festival Foods and the Wisconsin grocery business have earned him recognition as Wisconsin Grocer of the Year.
The Wisconsin Grocers Association surprised Greenfield, who retired in 2018 after 28 years with Festival, with the award earlier this month at a Festival Foods in Darboy. He will be formally honored during the association’s Innovation Expo in October at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.
Mark Maloney, of Russ Davis Wholesale, nominated Greenfield for the award. He said it was a “no-brainer” based on the award’s recognition of personal, professional and industry growth.
Greenfield has been a grocer since he was 15. His first job in the business was at a small grocery in Waupun. After college, he joined the family-run Copps Corp. and spent 10 years managing six of its Wisconsin locations. He then worked at Cub Foods as a store manager until 1990, when he met Dave Skogen, president and CEO of Festival at the time.
Greenfield joined the staff at the first Festival Foods store, in Onalaska, when it opened in 1991.
Mark Skogen, who succeeded Dave Skogen as president and CEO, said “much of what we now know as hallmarks of Festival Foods began with Marlin.”
Greenfield, who spent much off his career with Festival as the company’s chief operating officer, helped mentor three generations of the family that runs the grocery store, instilled accountability in employees, built relationships with community organizations and as a mentor to store leadership teams, the Skogens said.
And the Festival Foods Turkey Trot? Greenfield helped hatch the idea for a Thanksgiving morning fun run to benefit community nonprofits, too.
Twelve years later, Festival now hosts 10 Turkey Trots across Wisconsin and, with the help of sponsors, the events have raised more than $2.2 million for YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs across the state in the last 10 years.
Brandon Scholz, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, said he was lucky to have Greenfield serve as a board member for nine years, including one term as president.
“I could call Marlin about anything … and he’d always be there. I was incredibly lucky to have him for as long as I did,” Scholz said. “It’s in his blood. He’s so passionate about it and he’s universally respected and loved.”
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