John McKeever Family, Jim and Barbara Queen Family, and Korey Daubenspeck of Riesbeck’s Among AWG Annual Excellence Awards Winners

Innovation Showcase 2024


Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) announced the winners of several prestigious Excellence Awards as part of its 2024 AWG Innovation Showcase and Annual Shareholders Meeting. Top Excellence Awards recipients were Lou Fox Community Service Award winners John McKeever family of McKeever Enterprises, Inc., and Jim and Barbara Queen family of Queen Enterprises, L.L.C.; and Store Manager of the Year Award winner Korey Daubenspeck of Riesbeck’s® Food Markets Inc.


The Lou Fox Community Service Award is given each year in honor of Lou Fox, general manager and president of AWG from 1955 until 1983. The recipient is an AWG member retailer who displays outstanding leadership and commitment to their community and upholds the values of AWG. The families of John McKeever and Jim and Barbara Queen are special to AWG and its legacy not only as these families serve as models for success for the independent grocer by running great businesses, but also because they continually give back to their employees and the communities they serve.


John and Jim have long since retired from the grocery business, however, the McKeever and Queen families have ensured the businesses that their fathers started are continuing to thrive today. These families continue to serve AWG, their employees, their communities and the consumers that trust them to provide quality products for their families.


“The John McKeever and Jim and Barbara Queen families both have incredible legacies,” said Dan Funk, president and CEO of AWG. “The Lou Fox Community Service Award serves as a fitting acknowledgment of their countless contributions to the grocery industry, AWG and their local communities.”


The AWG Store Manager of the Year Award is given annually to the store manager or director within the cooperative membership that best demonstrated excellence in leadership and extraordinary store operations.


“The winner of this year’s award led his store to amazing results through leading by example and a hands-on, approach to marketing, advertising and customer service,” said Dan Funk.


Korey Daubenspeck starts every day with a single goal in mind — coaching his team to excellence. He believes in leading by example and shows his team that fast and friendly service is what a customer looks for when shopping the store, often saying his motto of ‘Time is valuable so why waste it?’


“If you ask Korey, providing excellent customer service is what he is most proud of and what he believes can only be achieved by having a team that understands customer satisfaction,” said Richard Riesbeck, CEO of Riesbeck’s. “Korey also believes that recognizing his team and letting his community know how proud he is of them is equally important.”


AWG also announced the winners of 10 additional awards from each department:

  • AWG Brands – Hays in Osceola, Ark., owned by Hays Food Town, Inc.
  • Bakery – Tony’s Fresh Market in Hanover Park, Ill., owned by Heritage Grocers Group LLC
  • Center Store – Price Cutter in Fairmont, W.Va., owned by G&T Food Services, Inc.
  • Floral – McKeever’s Price Chopper in Leawood, Kan., owned by McKeever Enterprises, Inc.
  • Food Service – Fairplay Foods in Worth, Ill., owned by Fairplay, Inc.
  • Meat – Elden’s Fresh Foods in Alexandria, Minn., owned by JTDM Alexandria Market, LLC
  • Merchandising Event – Ball’s Food Stores (Kansas City metro area), owned by Four B Corp.
  • Omnichannel – Sooner Foods (Sulphur, Davis, Tishomingo) in Oklahoma, owned by Sooner Foods, Inc.
  • Produce – Ken’s SuperFair Foods in Aberdeen, S.D., owned by Ken’s Supermarkets, Inc.
  • Seafood – Harps Foods in Fayetteville, Ark., owned by Harps Food Stores, Inc.
  • VMC – Ball’s Price Chopper in Kansas City, Mo., owned by Four B Corp.


Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving 1,100 member companies and more than 3,300 locations throughout 33 states from 9 wholesale divisions. Consolidated sales for AWG in 2023 were $12.4 billion. In addition to its cooperative wholesale operations, the company also operates subsidiary companies that provide certain real estate and supermarket development services, health and beauty care, general merchandise, pharmaceutical products, specialty foods, and natural and organic products.


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