Welcome to the final installment of our 2023 Retailers of The Year profiles.
The Retailer of the Year awards are the highest honors the Independent Grocers Association (IGA) bestows upon its retailer members. They are presented annually to grocers who have best provided leadership and excellence in their communities.
In this installment, learn how Hometown IGA, Granite Falls IGA, and Columbus IGA Plus thrive as independent grocers serving their communities.
Jimmy Perkins | Hometown IGA | Jasper, Indiana
Jimmy Perkins (second from left), operator, with his Hometown IGA team and IGA CEO John Ross (far right).
As IGA retailers know, community is vitally important to independent grocers. But Jasper Hometown IGA Store Operator Jimmy Perkins says the community also provides their employee-owners with a sense of pride, knowing they’re helping someone in need. Beyond team and organization sponsorships, the Jasper Hometown IGA team works with community corrections to provide jobs and training to help with rehabilitation.
The team works together to create a store the community can be proud of. Their full-service meat department offers daily fresh cuts and grinds. The bakery’s quality is so high that the oven overflows with special orders from donuts to cookies and beyond. The deli serves hot, fresh food and is known for Gabe’s chicken, which has branched out into Gabe’s Smokehouse, full of smoked chicken, baby back ribs, pork butt, wings, and more.
Combine all those qualities with investments in online shopping, curbside pick-up, and digital kiosks to help shoppers save time and you’ll see a strong team proud to serve their community at Jasper Hometown IGA.
Tyler Trask & Tanya Murray | Granite Falls IGA | Granite Falls, Washington
Granite Falls IGA Owners Tanya Murray (second from left) and Tyler Trask (holding certificate).
Labor issues and increasing prices have been huge stressors for independent retailers in the last few years, and Granite Falls IGA owners Tyler Trask and Tanya Murray are meeting them head on.
As one of the largest employers in town, they are dedicated to giving their employees work-life balance and a safe and positive work environment. In 2022, they invested in generous benefits packages, cost of living and inflation-mindful wage increases, employee appreciation rewards and events, including their “You’ve Been Caught” employee recognition program that encourages all team members to recognize and express gratitude to each other daily for their outstanding moments of customer service, teamwork, and personal achievements.
Trask and Murray have adapted to supply issues by developing new vendor relationships and focusing on private label with their wholesaler C&S. They have passed those savings on to their customers while keeping shelves stocked thanks to that relationship. Add to that their unique and frequent customer events and promotions, from kids club events to the once-a-quarter Truckload Meat Sales, plus their $20,000 in donations to the community annually, and Granite Falls IGA is taking community and customer service to a stellar level.
Paul, Mike, & Tim Matovich | Columbus IGA Plus | Columbus, Montana
Tim, Paul, and Mike Matovich with IGA CEO John Ross.
In 1973, George Matovich bought Davis Thriftway with minimal knowledge of the grocery business. He renamed the store Columbus Food Farm and doubled the size within two years. By 1978, Matovich had increased the square footage and offerings even more and joined the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA).
Over the past 50 years, the Matovich family has upgraded the store on average every three years with either innovative technology or major expansions, including a pharmacy. That pharmacy, run by Mike Matovich (George’s grandson), has made the store a wellness hub in the community.
Community support was important to George and remains integral to the Matovich family and Columbus IGA Plus store, which donates to nearly every organization, fundraiser, school and sports function while providing learning opportunities to students from preschool through high school. As the 4th generation leads the store into the future, Paul, Mike, and Tim Matovich continue to honor its past and the community it serves.
To read Part 1 click here. To read part 2, click here.
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