Neil Kudrinko consistently thinks about the future when it comes to his grocery store. Now he’s getting recognized for it.
Kudrinko accepted a Generation Next Award from Canadian Grocer at the Food Industry Association of Canada’s Golden Pencil Awards in Toronto on Nov. 24.
He was thrilled to receive the award, which recognizes his efforts in transforming the family-owned, independent Kudrinko’s Ltd. in Westport, Ont. into a modern energy efficient example of sound business practices. Kudrinko was on hand to accept the accolade, and was lauded for his company’s innovation and making a difference.
Kudrinko was chosen from other leaders across the country for the work completed on environmental retrofits to the store at 22 Main St. in Westport. Not only that, but Kudrinko is also interested in fostering more environmental responsibility with others in the industry. “Hopefully, this is along the lines of where our generation will go,” he said. “I don’t want to be judged by my balance sheet, I want to know that the changes made have a greater benefit and impact for the planet and our children.”
The Generation Next Award honours rising stars of the grocery store industry, exciting thinkers under the age of 40 who work in grocery head offices, at the store level or for a consumer packaged goods company or other grocery supplier.
Commencing several years ago, Kudrinko’s started tracking its energy consumption and refrigerant losses, replacing inefficient compressors and HVAC systems, improving insulation of the building envelope, and retrofitting its freezers with LED lights. Outside of the store walls, Kudrinko’s has installed off-grid solar parking lot lighting, and incorporated ground water bioswales into its recent parking lot project. Just one example illustrates the impact of the retrofits: Kudrinko managed to cut the store’s carbon emissions from 173 metric tons down to just 93 metric tons annually.
“We aim to continue seeing how far we can go in terms of reducing our environmental impact and being more conscious of our footprint,” he said. Kudrinko was also a finalist for the award in 2011. His nomination this time around focused on the sustainability aspect of the business, energy-efficiency retrofits, as well as his consulting work with the new local food hub.
Kudrinko also sits on many national and international committees dedicated to grocery and food marketing. For instance, he is an active member on the energy and store development conference committee with the Food Marketing Institute.
That organization is the largest trade organization in North America – and Kudrinko is one of only two Canadians, and the only independent grocer, accepted onto the committee.
The Generation Next Awards are presented by Canadian Grocer in association with the Golden Pencil Awards. Along with the award, Kudrinko will also receive recognition in a profile piece published by Canadian Grocer magazine. To learn about other accolades earned for green initiatives, please click here.