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Nominations for NDGA Awards

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The North Dakota Grocers Association annually presents the Sales/Support Person & the Grocer of the Year awards to a member who is nominated by the membership of NDGA. This award
recognizes an industry professional for outstanding commitment to go above
and beyond for their company, customers, and community.

Nominations 2023

Nominating
NOMINATION MUST INCLUDE A BRIEF STATEMENT EXPLAINING WHY YOU BELIEVE THE NOMINEE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FOR THE 2023 GROCER OF THE YEAR AWARD.

2023 Scholarship Winners

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The North Dakota Grocers Association is pleased to announce the 2023 Richard Bronson Scholarship Award Recipients. NDGA grocery retailers and associate vendor members employees were eligible to apply for a $1000 scholarship. Student applications were evaluated for academics, community involvement, essay, and recommendations.

This year three college and nine high school students were selected. Students came from all across North Dakota representing all sizes of stores.

This year’s recipients are:

Zac Miller VP of Operations, Johanneson’s Co., Hannah Peterson, Lora Peterson Asst. Produce Manager Marketplace Foods, Anisaa Otto, Store Director Marketplace Foods.

Hannah Peterson

Hannah Peterson is a college student attending Minot State University majoring in Social Work. While attending college Hannah has been active volunteering in several organizations. Hannah is planning on pursuing a masters degree in social work. Her mother, Lora, is employed by South Broadway Marketplace Foods, Minot

Terry Knutson Store Director Leevers, Izabella Baker – Schilken

Izabella Baker-Schilken

Isabella is currently enrolled in the Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt working towards her Associates of Science degree. She plans on attending Minot State University and is interested in the field of Radiologic Technology. According to an advisor at TMCC “if your scholarship is intended to go to someone who demonstrates strong leadership and academic skills, Izabella fits these guidelines perfectly”.

Christopher Pfeifle, Kirk Rueb, owner Ashley Super Valu

Christopher Pfeifle

Christopher is a high school student in Ashley ND and works for Ashley Supervalu. He is involved in numerous organizations and has received a number of awards. Christopher currently is maintaining a 4.28 GPA while holding two part-time jobs. Attending the University of North Dakota is his plan for the fall majoring in Finance.

Roger Voeller, Store Director, Cylee Walton

Cylee Waltin

Cylee Waltin is a senior at Cavalier High School and is employed at Leevers Foods. Cylee has extensive experience in extracurricular activities, has held numerous leadership positions, and is a recipient of many honors and awards. She is planning on attending the University of North Dakota in the fall majoring in Marketing.

Kim Oien Owner, Hunter, Melanie Miller Manager

Hunter Oien

Hunter Oien is currently a senior at Grant County High School in Elgin ND. His family owns and operates Oien Grocery store in Mott ND. Hunter plans on attending Free Lutheran Bible College in Plymouth MN and will then attend a secular college to pursue a career in Wildlife Biology. Hunter has been active in church and sports while also being a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the Math Meet team.

Rich Steidler, Territory Sales Rep, Colin Steidler

Colin Steidler

Colin Steidler is a student at St. Mary’s High School in Bismarck, ND. Colin’s father, Richard, is employed by Dacotah Paper Co. headquartered in Fargo. He is employed at Dunn Brothers Coffee and is active in sports and is a volunteer in numerous organizations all the while maintaining straight A’s. He is planning to attend the University of North Dakota majoring in Biology. He hopes to continue his education with the goal of becoming a physician.

Becky Leaf, Store Director, Derek Jackson, Christian Hustad Asst. Store Director.

Derek Jackson

Derek Jackson is a Guest Service Representative for Northport Hornbacher’s in Fargo. He is a student at Fargo North High School and has a cumulative 4.09 GPA. Derek has received numerous scholastic honors and is a member of the National Honor Society. Derek is active in the community, such as being a Fill the Dome Student council member and participating in a number of Key Club service projects. Derek has not decided on a major or which university to attend, he is considering an engineering degree.

Tim Rhode, Cash Wise Store Director, Gavin Peterson, Chris Kjar Shift Manager.

Gavin Peterson

Gavin Peterson is a senior attending Sheyenne High School and is employed at Cash Wise Foods in West Fargo. He has a 3.66 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. Gavin is active in music and sports and plans on attending North Dakota State University majoring in Engineering.

Jessica Monge-Manager, Tate Grossman

Tate Grossman

Tate Grossman has been employed by the Warehouse Grocer in Harvey ND for 4 years and has also been employed by a local bank and the school. As a senior attending Harvey High School Tate is maintaining a 3.84 GPA and has been a 5 time All Region Academic Team member. He plans on attending the University of Jamestown majoring in Physical Therapy.  Recipient of the Joseph”Fred”Barth Memorial Scholarship

Allen Tellmann owner, Daniel Blend

Daniel Blend

Daniel Blend attends the Blend Private Home School where he has a 3.71 GPA. Daniel is employed at Tellmann’s Market in New Salem ND. He is active in sports and 4-H. He also volunteers at Heaven Helpers Soup Kitchen, Dreamcenter-Bismarck, and at St. Bernard Mission School in Ft. Yates ND. Daniel is planning on attending Williston State College majoring in a Technical or Trades college. Recipient of the Joseph”Fred”Barth Memorial Scholarship.

Jeff Westrom, Human Resources Director, Jacqueline Lien

Jaqueline Lien

Jacqueline Lien has been employed full time with Valley Markets (Hugo’s) in Grand Forks since 2006. Jacqueline states that “working in the grocery industry has changed my life. Being employed by Valley Market has taught me to become more comfortable with skills that I previously had not been.” While working full time and raising a family Jaqueline has enrolled in the University of Mary online program majoring in accounting.

Allen Jackson – COO Hugo’s, Joslyn Jackson

Joslyn Jackson

Joslyn Jackson is a senior at West Fargo High School. Her father, Allen, is employed by Hugo’s located in Grand Forks ND. Joslyn has a 4-point GPA while competing in sports, participating in community and church events, and is a member of the National Honor Society . She is planning on attending the University of North Dakota majoring in Nursing with the hopes of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

Since 2020 NDGA with the generous support of its Retail and Vendor members has awarded $40,000 in scholarships. Please consider supporting this program by donating directly to the Richard Bronson Scholarship Fund (tax exempt) or by supporting the annual Golf Fundraiser and Convention Silent/Live Auction.

Learn More About Our Donation Events

2023 North Dakota Legislature Starts on January 3rd

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The 68th meeting of the North Dakota State Legislature commenced on January 3, 2023 in Bismarck ND. The Legislature meets every other year and has 80 days to do the peoples business. Your North Dakota Grocers Association will monitor legislation that is important to our industry and keep our members informed as the session progresses.

Should you wish to follow the Legislature yourself, use this Link to go directly to ND State Legislature site. You can track bills, look up your legislators, and watch committee hearings and floor debates in real time.

NORTH DAKOTA GROCERS ASSOCIATION SUPPORTS ELIMINATING CREDIT CARD SWIPE FEES ON SALES TAX

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NDGA has enlisted the help of ND State Senator Shawn Vedaa to introduce a Senate bill which would prohibit credit card companies from “Interchange (SWIPE) fees on sales tax collections.

North Dakota Retailers not only pay swipe fees on the base price of a transaction but also on the sales tax they are collecting for local and state governments. This means that while retailers are collecting and remitting sales taxes for the state, credit card companies are making additional profits on the sales tax portion of the transaction. With swipe fees of up to 4% (and higher for many small businesses) this creates an environment where credit card companies can make more money on a retail transaction than the retailer.

Retail Grocery profit margins are very thin now and cannot – nor – should not have to pad Visa and Mastercard’s bottom line!

NDGA will need the help of each of you to get this legislation passed. Big banks and the credit card companies will do whatever it takes to defeat this bill.  Use this link to view a FAQ from FMI

NDGA is partnering with the ND Petroleum Marketers and Retailers Association. We expect to see other retail groups support our efforts.

NDGA Grocers Convention

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 Grocers and Associate Vendor members of the North Dakota Grocers Association met in Fargo ND October 3rd and 4th for their annual convention. After a two-year hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic NDGA was concerned about the turnout of retailers and vendors. Our fears were unfounded as we experienced a large increase in retailer registrations to complement a sizeable number of vendor booths. 

This year’s convention featured a few changes; specifically, to the Monday night Hors D’ oeuvres extravaganza, a Tuesday breakfast Legislative forum, and a noon luncheon. The comments received so far appear to support the changes. 

NDGA wishes to thank these sponsors of our annual convention:

An important element of the NDGA Convention is to recognize and honor individuals who have made an impact on our industry. This year’s recipients of the Sales/Support Person of the year, The Spirit of America Award, and the Grocer of the Year exemplifies the qualities of service to the industry and to their communities. 

Salesperson of the Year: Bonnie Evans, Sales Manager -Russ Davis Wholesale, Wadena MN 

Bonnie Evans started her employment with Russ Davis Wholesale company in 2000 as a Buyer Assistant. Russ Davis Wholesale is a produce company serving North and South Dakota, Minnesota, 

Wisconsin, and Iowa. In 2015 Bonnie was promoted to a sales manager position. In recommending Bonnie, a retail grocer described her as “a great asset to our team; she always works hard to grow our sales”. Bonnie is married to Jeff and has two sons: Justin, and Jacob. 

Spirit of America Award: MATT LEISETH, VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS -COBORN’S INC AND PRESIDENT OF HORNBACHERS 

The Spirit of America Award is granted by the National Grocers Association in recognition of Matt Leiseth’s active participation in “preserving and fostering the principles of free enterprise, and as a strong advocate for the independent food distribution industry”. 

Leiseth started his career 1991 as a part time bagger at Hornbacher’s while going to college in Moorhead, MN. The management of Hornbacher’s soon saw the potential in Matt and soon promoted him to Customer Service Manager. Leiseth is currently the President of Hornbacher’s and VP of Operations for all Coborn’s, Cash Wise, and Maketplace stores. 

Matt is an active leader in the Fargo-Moorhead community serving on numerous church and philanthropic boards. Under his leadership Leiseth has directed the Hornbacher’s efforts to give back to the community raising millions of dollars supporting the efforts of Great Plains Food Bank, Check out Hunger, United Way, Salvation Army, and Fill the Dome. 

Matt and his wife Janelle have four children. Also pictured with Matt is his parents David and Mary Leiseth. 

Grocer of the year Award: JAMES LEEVERS, PRESIDENT – OWNER, LEEVERS FOODS INC, DEVILS LAKE NORTH DAKOTA 

James Leevers is third generation independent grocer who is building on the success of his grandfather and father. 

Leevers Foods, headquartered in Devils Lake ND has seven locations in North Dakota and one in Minnesota. James has made a commitment to keeping his stores and organization current on technology, training, and development of staff, and expanding online delivery. Leevers Foods has invested in new equipment for his stores and staff. 

James is a believer is supporting the communities his company serves, donating money and time. He is past Board Chair and current member for the North Dakota Grocers Association. James is married and he and his wife Amber have four children. 

Monday Night Hors D’ Oeuvres Extravaganza/ Silent and Live Auction 

Always one of the highlights of the NDGA convention is our Hors D’ Oeuvres Extravaganza and our silent and live auction benefiting our Richard Bronson NDGA Scholarship program. A new feature this year was inviting vendors to open their booths during the event to allow visiting with retailers in a social environment.

Vendors supported this by purchasing one of the four registration packages offering this option. 

This year’s silent and live auction raised nearly $9000.00 which will directly benefit students who work at our retailers and vendors operations or whose parents are employed with a member company.

NDGA thanks the many retailers and vendors who generously provided items to make this event a success. 

 

Chairman of the Board Recognition 

James Leevers was recognized for his service to the NDGA Board in his capacity as Chairman. 

The term of Chairman is two years but due to Covid-19 James served an extra year. Succeeding him is Tim Rhode. Thank you James, NDGA appreciates your leadership. 

Following an early morning breakfast, Board Chairman Tim Rhode called the General Membership meeting to order for the purpose of electing officers to the NDGA Board of Directors. Re-elected to the Board were: Leon Merck-Econo Foods, Diana Hahn-Jim’s Supervalu, Kristi Magnusson-Nelson-Hugo’s, and Tim Rhode-Cash Wise. Newly elected to Board was Zac Miller with MarketPlace Foods-Minot. 

Next on the agenda was the Legislative Forum. NDGA brought together two respected Senators to discuss issues challenging North Dakota. Senator Ron Sorvaag (Republican) represents District 45 and has served in the Legislature since 2010. Senator Merrill Piepkorn (Democrat) represents District 44 was first elected to the Senate in 2017.

Moderator Moderator for this session was Charley Johnson, President/CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau. They covered several  topics -staffing shortages, childcare, taxation, and the Milk Marketing Board. Thank you, Senators, and Charley, for taking the time to discuss important issues facing our industry.

Noon Luncheon and Speaker 

Billy Riggs was the featured speaker at the NDGA noon luncheon.

Billy is a world class illusionist, comedian, and speaker who has performed at the MGM Grand, Caesar’s, and the Tropicana. He has been publicly speaking for over forty years and has sold over three hundred thousand books and recordings. He brought us an important message on relationships in a colorful and entertaining style. 

Trade Show 

NDGA held its annual Vendor Trade Show at the Delta by Marriot. Forty-one vendors participated in this event, enabling retailers to visit directly with vendors and experience new products and services. 

Special thanks to the following vendors who supported the NDGA convention. 

ASSOCIATED WHOLESALE GROCERS 

BADLANDS DISTRIBUTION 

BLUE RAVEN TRADING COMPANY 

BONE BROTH SEASONING 

BUNZL 

CASS CLAY 

CLASSY CAKES 

CLOVERDALE FOODS 

COCA COLA BOTTLING CO – HIGH COUNTRY 

CROWN POLY 

CRYSTAL FARMS/MICHEALS FOODS 

DACOTAH PAPER 

DAKOTA DIRT COFFEE COMPANY 

DAKOTA REFRIGERATION 

FRITO-LAY 

GREGORY FOODS 

HEALTHY CRICKET 

HOBART SALES AND SERVICE – FARGO-BISMARCK 

HOCKENBERG NEWBURGH 

J&B Group 

KEHE 

L K PACKAGING 

MASON BROTHERS 

MASON BROTHERS 

MOJO ROAST 

NATURAL PURE DRINKING WATER 

ND DEPT. OF HHS -SNAP 

ND WIC 

NETWORKING SPECIALISTS 

OLD DUTCH FOODS 

P&G PROFESSIONAL 

PAN-O-GOLD BAKING CO 

PHT SYSTEMS 

PRAIRIE FARMS 

PRIDE DAIRY 

RED RIVER REFRIGERATION 

RETAIL DATA SYSTEMS 

RUSS DAVIS WHOLESALE 

RUSS DAVIS WHOLESALE 

SPARTAN/NASH CO. 

THUNDERBIRD RANCH-DAKOTA SEASONING 

UNFI/SV-BISMARCK-FARGO 

Chairman of the Board Social, Banquet and Entertainment 

The Crystal Ballroom at the Delta by Marriott was the venue for the Annual Chairman of the Board Banquet. This event features the presentation of awards for Salesperson and Grocer of the year as well as the NGA Spirit of America recipient. 

Following the awards ceremony and dinner convention goers were entertained by the Deuces Wild -Dueling Piano’s. Imagine almost 200 grocers – at the stage dancing and singing. Garret Monk and Dave Eichholz put on a superb show. 

Thank you to all the Associate Vendors and Retailers who made the 2022 NDGA Convention a success.