Tradewinds store owners Belinda and Chuck Lawrence (center) receive an award Dec. 10 from (left) Kate McAleer, Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association board president, and the association’s Executive Director Christine Cummings. PHOTO COURTESY OF MGFPA

Tradewinds stores honored by state grocery association



BLUE HILL — The Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association (MGFPA) has announced Tradewinds Marketplace in Blue Hill and Tradewinds Shop ’N Save in Calais, owned by Chuck and Belinda Lawrence, as the winners of the MGFPA 2021 Impact Award.

“Formerly titled the Grocer, Associate and Food Producer of the Year Awards, this award is presented annually to a business who exemplifies excellence in the industry,” said the association’s Executive Director Christine Cummings. “The winner is chosen by meeting specific criteria including contributions to MFGPA’s advocacy mission, community service, business excellence through providing a positive workplace, increase in overall sales and supporting the industry via legislative or educational activities. In addition, the annual award winner demonstrates a commitment to cultivating opportunities for other Maine businesses to grow.”

“Belinda and I are honored and appreciate the support of our communities and our associates during this challenging time,” Chuck Lawrence said. “I truly feel our staff has gone above and beyond during this pandemic. Our customer base has supported us with the supply challenges and shopping restrictions.”

Cummings said the Lawrences are Maine natives who have devoted their lives to the grocery business and to giving back to their communities. In 2019, they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the founding of their first Tradewinds store in Blue Hill. Through the years, they’ve built food retail businesses from Ellsworth to Veazie, and Brewer to Old Town, as well as a car wash, pet wash and fitness center. These enterprises have benefited not only the citizens of the communities, in which they are established, but have also become economic drivers for other businesses, Cummings said.

The Lawrences passionately believe that “good health is good for the community and business,” said Cummings. Over the years, they have made significant charitable contributions including founding and building the Lawrence Family Fitness Center in Blue Hill and donating to cancer research. After an eight-year campaign, in 2019, they reached a milestone in their cancer care campaign by raising a million dollars by donating a penny for every gallon of gas sold.

Their Tradewinds stores along with other Tradewinds locations “really proved to be pumped-up to fight cancer,” said Chuck. This money went directly to cancer patients in Maine through the Tradewinds oncology fund located at The Lafayette Cancer Center in Brewer. In 2016, the Lawrences founded the Lawrence Family Foundation to create a philanthropic legacy to ensure their charitable giving will continue in Maine.

“Belinda and I both support the full-circle approach to doing business,” Chuck said. “We truly believe and thrive on creating a healthy community and know that it will create a loyal and healthy business climate. We have a responsibility as a business to give back and try to donate to organizations that impact a majority of our customer base.”

The award was formally presented to the Lawrences on Dec. 10 at the couple’s Blue Hill store. A formal celebration is slated for Feb. 16 and 17, 2022, at the Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association and Retail Association of Maine’s collaborative annual Summit Event.

 

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