Concordia St. Paul News

March 9, 2018

CSP Marketing Students Compete in National Grocers Association Competition

CSP Marketing seniors at the National Grocers Association championship

CSP students from left to right: Ross Hickey, Cody Wood, Holly Werning, Cody Retzer, and Grady Wieczorek

Concordia marketing seniors recently competed in the National Grocers Association (NGA) student marketing competition at the NGA national conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NGA Student Case Study competition strives to further the professional development of collegiate students and provides students with the opportunity to creatively address a real-world issue currently impacting the industry. The competition is now in its seventh year and nearly 80 students from 13 universities participated.

This year’s case study was for Coborn’s Grocery with the objective of creating a marketing strategy to help Coborn’s create a successful and financially beneficial health and wellness program for its customers, employees, and communities. Teams had 15 minutes to present their strategy to a panel of judges and conference attendees.

The student team included seniors Holly Werning, Ross Hickey, Cody Wood, Cody Retzer, and Grady Wieczorek. Students worked under the guidance of faculty advisor Dr. Nancy Harrower, chair of the marketing program.

Although this was the first year that CSP students participated, they placed among the top four finalists, besting experienced teams from around the nation.

“Concordia was the smallest school competing and the only school that had never previously been at this conference. Despite that, our team produced an inventive presentation that solved the case study problem,” Grady Wieczorek, Marketing ‘18, explained.

Cody Wood, Marketing ‘18, echoed Wieczorek’s statement.

“We helped create CSP’s mark in this event and set the bar for other students competing,” Wood offered. 

The CSP Marketing group with CSP Marketing Department Chair, Nancy Harrower

The students with faculty advisor and CSP marketing program chair, Dr. Nancy Harrower

NGA also provided a mentoring program for the students to partner with industry veterans who helped educate students about the food and retail industry. An exhibition with more than 200 vendors was included, as were industry information sessions on technology, merchandising, e-commerce, and more.

“The show was insightful. We learned a lot of valuable information about the grocery business, and applied our knowledge from inside the classroom to the real world,” Ross Hickey, Marketing ‘18, declared.

The event proved to be not only an opportunity to represent CSP’s marketing students but to pave the way for their future endeavors. 

“It was a prime networking event. I received twenty or more business cards. It was an experience that a student could never learn about in a classroom setting, so I recommend it,” said Holly Werning, Marketing ‘18.

Cody Retzer, Marketing ‘18, agreed.

“It was more than just a competition for me. As a future marketer, this served as a valuable experience into the workings of actual businesses, a way to meet their representatives, and discuss our experiences with them,” Retzer added.

Finally, a charity 5K run was part of the conference where Ross Hickey placed first for the men followed by Holly Werning who placed third in the women’s division.

For more information on the National Grocers Association, please visit their website.