Retailer Testomonials


Kevin Curry

Sales Manager

Albertsons Safeway Northern California division


“Retail is about relationships with our customers and our suppliers. The Illuminators epitomize the power of relationships. They partner with all groups to grow the business through the relationships they build.”





Scott Drew

Sr. Vice President, Store Operations

Smart and Final


"The Illuminators support education, personal growth, leadership and teamwork for those in our industry. This amazing group of suppliers clearly make a difference in the food industry.


Smart and Final is proud to support the Illuminators and the values they stand for."





Lynn Gust


Fred Meyer Stores


“I really can’t say enough good things that the Illuminators do. Their tireless efforts to advance and support the food industry is incredible. I personally have benefited and enjoyed the relationships that have come from our shared missions.”






Dave Hirz

President & CEO

Smart & Final Holdings Corp.


 “I can’t stress enough, how important the role of the Illuminators organization is to our industry.  Their work in promoting Industry Education, and their support of the mission of the Western Association of Food Chains, are vital to the strength of our great industry.  In addition. the relationships that are forged between the Board of Directors of the WAFC and the members of the Illuminators, result in strong business ties between our respective companies.”





Bryan Kaltenbach


Food 4 Less / Foods Co.


“The Illuminators continue to be a cornerstone for our industry.  Their dedication to improving education and leadership for future leaders is critical for our collective, continued success.”






Sam Masterson

Executive Vice President, CDO

Good Food Holdings


“While they title their leadership team after the electrical system from an auto, the Illuminators and what they accomplish are actually the drive train for the food industry in the west.  Without them we'd be standing still.  With them we all move forward in support of education.”





Mike Mortensen

Sr. V.P. Sales & Merchandising

Smart and Final


“The Illuminators are hardworking and passionate advocates for Education and the betterment of our Industry.  Simply put, great partners!”





Karl Schroeder


Albertsons Safeway Seattle Division


“I am so proud to be associated with an organization as fine as the Illuminators. I’ve had the privilege to work with many fine groups all over the United States but none come close to having such a significant impact on our industry as the Illuminators. That comment is by no means a knock on the others, it’s just that the Illuminators are such an absolute stand out. The illuminators work tirelessly behind the scenes to support the mission of the WAFC and their own mission comes out loud and clear in their efforts and results. There is no doubt that the Illuminators make our industry, and really the world, better every year by all that they do.”






Mike Servold

Vice President, Operations

Food 4 Less


“There is no way the WAFC would be successful without the leadership, dedication and hard work of the Illuminators. This volunteer work has got to be the “Best in Class” in the industry.”






Jim Lee

President & COO

Stater Bros. Markets



The Illuminators Make A Big Difference!


One of the most amazing things about the Food Industry, in the West, has always been the willingness of competitors to work together in support of promoting education, as well as helping very worthy non-profit groups. Two long time organizations, which help to facilitate this incredible and very unique level of impactful cooperation are the Western Association of Food Chains and the California Grocers Association. It is my strong belief that the tremendous work that is accomplished for the betterment of our Industry and the communities we serve, would not be possible or certainly not nearly as effective, if it weren’t for the incredible support of the great Illuminators Association.


 In our Industry, the Illuminators are like the “glue” in that they help to bring and keep all of us together; Retailers, CPG Companies and Brokers. You see their efforts first hand of course at the CGA and WAFC events, but the Illuminators also do a lot of work behind the scenes to “make it happen”. Simply put, all of the good work that gets done, would not be possible without the Illuminators’ support.


 It really is amazing to have witnessed during the course of my five decades in the business, the close relationship which has developed between the Illuminators and the Retailers. I am proud to say that I do not have just “business acquaintances” among the Illuminators, but I do have many life long friends. The fact of the matter is whether it is in life or business, it is always about the people, the relationships that truly make a difference. Since I personally benefited from an Industry scholarship, which allowed me to attend the USC Food Industry Management Program, I feel that I have a special kinship with the Illuminators, along with my gratitude.


 Here’s the bottom line…the Illuminators is a great organization. I strongly encourage anyone looking to advance their career, along with personal development, all the while making a difference where your efforts are noticed and appreciated, then please join the Illuminators. You won’t regret it.


 It is not only my privilege to strongly endorse the Illuminators, but to also thank them for all their contributions. What they do does matter!






Kevin Davis

President & CEO

Bristol Farms



To The Illuminators;


 As incoming Chairman of The California Grocers Association (CGA) and as Past President and current Advisory Board Member of the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC) I want to thank you for your outstanding longtime support of the Food Industry in the West. I think that the Illuminator’s great work and support of our industry sometimes goes unnoticed, in part because of the smooth coordination and seamless , low profile support that you provide to our industry conventions and conferences; but also because there is so much your organization does, no one would believe all that you do! It would literally, not be possible for either the CGA or the WAFC to be as successful as they are as industry associations without your ongoing and longstanding support. For over 80 years now the Illuminators have supported our trade conventions and industry meetings, fundraising efforts, and educational foundations with people and manpower with your volunteers, food and supply donations from your member companies, and even financial support for our scholarships and charitable fundraising events. I want to first acknowledge all you do for our industry, and second, ask how I might help you to continue your great work by supporting your membership and recruitment efforts to help continue to build the Illuminators membership for the future.


I can think of no better way for a supplier, broker or manufacturer to become involved in the food industry in the west than through membership in the Illuminators. It is the only trade service organization that is one-on –one front and center with the board of Directors of both the WAFC and The CGA on a regular basis.  The multiple opportunities for the Illuminators to meet and mingle, dine, and strategize with their retail customers at the highest levels on ways to further benefit and grow our industry are priceless; and have been the foundation of beneficial relationships for both suppliers and retailers for 83 years. I personally have benefitted from these relationships and I feel that much of any success I have enjoyed is directly related to the people I have met in our industry; thanks in large part to the Illuminators.


If any of my seven children were to enter this great industry of ours on the supplier, broker or manufacturer side of the business; the first recommendation I would give them is to join the Illuminators; to make the right connections, to learn from your peers, and to serve the industry.  If any of my seven children were to join the industry as a retailer; I would simply tell them to support the Illuminators, because they will support your success as well!


Thanks for all you have done over the years in support of the Food Industry.  Please let me know any way I can help you to gaining new members and grow for another 83 years!


 All The Best!






Bryan Kaltenbach


Food 4 Less / Foods Co


 “The Illuminators continue to be a cornerstone for our industry.  Their dedication to improving education and leadership for future leaders is critical for our collective, continued success.”






Dennis McIntyre

Executive Vice President Marketing

Stater Bros.


 “The Illuminators are the ones that deserve the thanks for all of the great work they do for our industry!  Stater Bros.’s support of the Illuminators and their events is just our way giving back to those who give so much.”






Oscar Gonzalez

Northgate Gonzalez Market


“Awesome organization and formidable partners for the WAFC and education”






Steve Juniqueiro


SaveMart Supermarkets



"Simply stated, The Illuminators make our industry better.  From their focus and passion for education and leadership development to making our industry events peerless, they unselfishly give their all!”






Kevin Konkel

SVP Store Operations

Raley's, Bel Air & Nob Hill Foods



 “The Illuminators are the epitome of "Servant Leadership" and sacrificial giving.  Their contribution to the our industry is a true blessing to us all, especially those receiving educational scholarships. Raley's is proud to support their efforts.”





Jonathan Mayes

SVP; Public Affairs, Government Relations, Philanthropy, Corporate Social Responsibility




 “The Illuminators are talented and dedicated individuals committed to our industry and to providing educational and career opportunities for others. We applaud their efforts.”





Donna Tyndall

Senior Vice President of Operations

Gelson’s Markets


The Illuminators is a wonderful organization and an important part of the Southern California retail food industry.  As a member of the CGA Board of Directors for the past six years, I have had the opportunity to work with, and get to know many of the members.  They are there throughout the year to support both the California Grocers Association events and the Western Association of Food Chains.  Their motto is to “spread the light of good fellowship” and they work tirelessly to achieve that by being involved in all of the industry functions and educational fundraising events.


The members of the Illuminators represent vendors and suppliers both large and small.  They are a dedicated group of people who welcome newcomers and make them feel a part of the group.  Over the years I have recommended the Illuminators’ Organization to several of our vendors as a way to learn more about the industry and make the personal connections that are necessary to be successful in our business.  I believe that any company and any individual would benefit by becoming a part of such a wonderful organization as the Illuminators!