Class of 2023
When asked why she chooses to stay in the confectionery industry, Susan Grassey simply states: “How could I leave?”
Susan was born on February 9, 1971, to Michael and Donna Miller, in Lexington, KY, and attended Mt. Pleasant High School in Mt. Pleasant, NC.
After graduation, she went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1993.
She thanks her parents for teaching her the value of travel and the great outdoors and says that some of her fondest childhood memories include going on fishing trips and traveling the U.S. in a motor home with her parents and sister, Gina.
Susan’s first job in the confectionery industry was working the candy counter at Carolina Mall Cinema in Concord, NC, while she was in high school. She recalls being attracted to the business because of her love of sugar and the family atmosphere. However, she admits that like most families the industry can drive her crazy at times but she still can’t help but love it.
In 2017, Susan joined Harris Teeter Supermarkets, LLC as candy/general merchandise category manager, the role she holds today. Previously, she worked as an assistant account manager at distributor Haddon House Food Products, Inc. and spent 19 years with Food Lion LLC. Before that, she held buyer and management positions at Delhaize America from 2005 until 2007.
In the business for 21 “sweet” years, Susan remarks that being involved in the industry outside of just doing your job well allows you to stay updated and informed as well as building and maintaining connections. She adds that life is about experiences and relationships and that the greatest things you take with you are the moments and memories that make you into a better person.
Susan contributes her time and expertise to many NCA events including participating on panel discussions, Most Innovative New Product Award judging and hosting meet-and-greet retailer tables. She has also helped train multiple up-and-coming category assistants during her time at Food Lion and remarks that mentoring is one of her favorite aspects of the job.
Taking inspiration from her parents, some of Susan’s favorite memories from her time in the business involve traveling. This past year she was able to attend the ISM show in Germany, turning the opportunity into an 11-day, five country adventure that started in London and ended in the Netherlands. Her sister and two sons were able to share that time with her and she remarks that it was a “once in a lifetime experience.”
Along with being active in the industry, Susan dedicates her time and candy to both the Mt. Pleasant and Second Harvest food banks. She also donates candy to Hometown Heroes, local churches, the Concord police department and the Mecklenburg county school system.
Susan and her husband Tom live in Concord, NC, and have two boys, Grant and Cade. Outside of the office, she spends her time fishing and watching football.
She says she is “extremely humbled and honored” to be recognized by and inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame, adding that the members of the class of 2023 have made extraordinary contributions to the industry.