Independent grocer earns Gold Retailer of the Year title

Western Market Tops the More Than $20 Million Sales Category

BIRMINGHAM – For 69 years, Western Market has served the grocery needs of the Birmingham community. It currently operates five locally owned stores. “We hope that when someone leaves one of our stores, they are pleased with the service. Our history tells us that’s the case,” said Ken Hubbard, chairman and chief executive officer.

Ken Hubbard

Commitment to community, along with expansion and innovation, earned Hubbard and Western Market the 2017 Gold Alabama Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales More Than $20 Million category. The Alabama Retail Association honored him today at the Alabama Retail Day luncheon in Birmingham, which is held in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business.

Of the five stores recognized today, three operate as a Western Market – Lane Parke in Mountain Brook, Rocky Ridge in Vestavia Hills and Highland Avenue in the Southside area of Birmingham. The Highland Avenue store has operated in its original location longer than any other grocery store in Birmingham. The company also runs a Food Depot in Gardendale and a Village Market in the East Lake area of Birmingham. Previously, the management of individual Western Market stores have been named Retailers of the Year – Rocky Road in 2003 and the previous Mountain Brook location in 2013.

“We are committed and invested in these communities, to serving our customers and remaining Birmingham’s leading independent grocer,” said Hubbard. The Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills chambers of commerce along with the Birmingham Business Alliance rewarded that commitment by nominating Hubbard and Western as a Retailer of the Year.

Suzan Doidge, executive director of the Mountain Brook Chamber, said, “Western is truly a loyal backbone to Mountain Brook,” where it opened a new store in 2016, just behind its previous location, where it had been for 57 years. Karen Odle, president and CEO of the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce, said, “Over the years, Western has been our go-to business when we need help.” Laura Boyles, director of investor relations with the Birmingham Business Alliance, called Western “an important member of our region” and “an everyday grocery store that also has the best in gourmet brands and ingredients.”

The Retailer of the Year judges were impressed with online ordering, digital menu boards, wine-by-the-glass vending, LED lighting and other innovations. Hubbard’s promotion of local and state retailing “rounded out Western Market for me,” one judge said. Hubbard currently serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Alabama Retail Comp, the workers’ compensation fund for the Alabama Retail Association. He also is a past chairman of the Retail Association and serves on its board of directors.

“Ken Hubbard is a retailer of the year EVERY year to the Western Market customers, its 300 employees as well as the Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills and greater Birmingham communities,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.

Western Market, an Alabama Retail Association member since 1989, was one of 14 Retailers of the Year honored at today’s luncheon. This year’s winners came from a pool of more than 90 nominees. The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards, started in 1999, honor retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities.

Full list of this year’s Retailers of the Year

Previous Retailers of the Year


The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.

Ken Hubbard, Western Market | 205.879.3471
Nancy Dennis, Alabama Retail Association  | 334.551.0643

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