Maureen Keenan, Category Manager – Seasonal Candy, CVS Pharmacy; and Peter Kempton Jr., Category Manager – Center Store, TravelCenters of America, will receive their awards, presented remotely this year, during NCA’s virtual State of the Industry Conference on March 9.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of adaptability, innovation and collaboration with our retail partners as critical components to the confectionery industry’s success,” said John Downs, president & CEO of the NCA. “During this challenging year, Maureen and Peter contributed to the resilience of the category, leading with a growth mindset and an eye toward our industry’s future.”
The NCA’s Confectionery Leadership Awards programme began in 2011 to recognise and honour the confectionery industry’s best and most innovative category champions and leaders.
The programme allows NCA manufacturers and brokers to recognise outstanding retailers and wholesalers in the confectionery community for their leadership, industry collaboration, confectionery category promotion and innovation.
Having been with CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health, for more than 25 years, Keenan worked her way from store manager to her current position. Her ability to quickly pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic and analyse new industry trends ensured that CVS’s seasonal candy displays continued to inspire shoppers, allowing CVS to outperform the general drug store category in confectionery sales, the NCA said.
“In 2020, I tried to expand my knowledge and my relationships, looking at things in new ways,” said Keenan. “I spent time coming up with ways to do things differently and understanding the business in new ways to figure out how to expand our reach and meet our customers’ needs.”
Peter Kempton Jr. has been with TravelCenters of America for 11 years, serving as a category manager for the past five and a half years, and has built a reputation for collaborating with confectionery manufacturers to stay ahead of shopper trends. In June 2020, he partnered with NCA to pioneer TravelCenters of America’s National Candy Month promotion, expanding the share of total store for the confectionery category.
“In 2020, we looked at what we could do differently to branch out,” said Kempton. “Attending the 2020 State of the Industry Conference planted the seed of National Candy Month, and we were able to build that into an event in the store last year that helped drive sales.”