The Donald P. Lloyd Spirit of Independents award is presented to a member retailer who exemplifies the strength of character, mental fortitude and steadfast determination of the company’s founder. The award is presented to the recipient at the Associated Food Stores’ annual meeting.  

The recipients of the 2024 Donald P. Lloyd Spirit of Independents award are Jerry and Connie Ridley. After graduating from Pocatello High School in 1973, Jerry worked at Skaggs where he met Connie Reed from nearby Chubbock. They were married in 1974 and welcomed daughter Jamie in 1976 and son Mark two years later.  

Starting as a stocker, Jerry worked for Safeway Supermarkets for several years. He quickly moved up to store leader becoming the youngest store manager in Safeway history at that time. In 1984, Jerry and Connie decided to risk everything by selling their home and investing all they had in their own grocery store in Payson, Utah. Through hard work and dedication, the struggling 12,000-square-foot store was transformed into a profitable business.   

In 1986, the Ridley’s sold their Payson store and entered a partnership to run a new Food-4-Less store in Provo, Utah. In 1988, they moved back to Idaho, buying three former Farmer Jack/Safeway stores in Jerome, Gooding and Rupert. Over the past 40 years they have continued to expand their business. Today, now under son Mark’s leadership, Ridley’s has grown to 28 stores, employing over 2,000 team members in five states.  

Beyond their business success, Jerry and Connie have been pillars of their communities and have found many ways to serve their communities. They have developed programs providing their employees with opportunities to pursue higher education and started a foundation to give scholarships to needy students. They also support many local charities and take great pride in giving back to the communities they serve.  

Jerry served as county commissioner for four years and played an integral role as a member of the Associated Food Stores’ board of directors for many years. In reflecting on Ridley’s success, Jerry emphasized their firm commitment to superior customer service and a steadfast dedication to providing the highest-quality foods. These values continue to guide Ridley’s team members today, inspiring them to uphold the legacy of excellence created by Jerry and Connie Ridley both now and into the future.   

Today, AFS salutes their outstanding achievements and celebrate their enduring impact on Associated Food Stores and the grocery retail industry.