The Shelby Report: AWG’s Smith Reflects On Storied 48-Year Career In Grocery

December 11, 2023

“It’s been a good ride.” Reflecting on his 48-year career in the grocery industry and upcoming retirement, David Smith, president and CEO of Kansas City-based Associated Wholesale Grocers, said it will be the people he will miss the most – co-workers, AWG member retailers and vendors. 

Shelby Publishing is inducting Smith into its Food Industry Hall of Fame, and he recently reflected on his career and the bright future he sees for AWG as new leadership prepares to take the reins.

Smith said August marked 48 years since he earned his first paycheck in the grocery business. The Tennessee native started out in lower-level jobs and worked his way up to running retail stores. In 1986, he sold his company.

“At that point, I was kind of looking around. I did a couple of short stints helping out some other retailers. By the end of the year, I started to work for a wholesaler called Malone & Hyde.”

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