Luverne grocer to lead state associationLUVERNE — Luverne grocery store owner Glen Gust was installed as chairman of the board of the Minnesota Grocers Association during the organization’s annual meeting Monday in Brainerd
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — Luverne grocery store owner Glen Gust was installed as chairman of the board of the Minnesota Grocers Association during the organization’s annual meeting Monday in Brainerd.
Gust, owner of Glen’s Food Center, will lead the organization for the next two years after serving multiple years on the MGA Board of Directors.
As board chairman, he will preside over board meetings and promote the grocers association throughout the state. The MGA has a membership of more than 200 retailers, as well as approximately 100 distributors and manufacturers, represented by an 18-member board.
“Our main focus is to promote the grocers. They’re community leaders and big contributors (for events) in their communities,” Gust said. “Guys like myself and independent store owners — we just want to move the grocery industry forward in whatever economy we’re in.”
Gust said the state organization is well-respected in the Midwest and is “up to snuff” on federal rules and regulations.
“Most of our (work) deals with legislative issues — consumer issues, recalls, food safety and community-support type issues,” he explained. “The Minnesota Grocers Association is a great source of information for anybody, whether you want to find out about sales tax issues, (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or WIC (the Women, Infant and Children program). They’re also a great source for all of the regulations that we get strapped with.”
Being selected MGA board chairman is “kind of humbling,” Gust said. Among the board members are top management from such chains as Byerly’s, Coburn’s and Cub Foods —people who have seats on national boards. Tres Lund, of Lund Food Holdings, for example, serves on the National Food Marketing Institute, while Chris Coburn is president of the National Grocers Association.
“There’s a great diversification of people on the board. Thanks to the board members, I’ll probably come through this OK,” Gust said with a laugh.
“I’m excited about it and I hope I can accomplish what they think I might,” he added. “With their help, I can.”
Jamie Pfuhl, president of the St. Paul-based Minnesota Grocers Association, said she looks forward to Gust’s leadership on the board.
“We know with his past experience he brings a lot to the table, and we’re excited to see what his chairmanship brings to the industry through his next two years,” she said.
One of the major focuses in the next two years of Gust’s leadership is to build interest in careers in the retail food industry. MGA member companies employ more than 125,000 union and non-union workers in Minnesota.
Other initiatives, according to Pfuhl, are to increase collaboration with the Minnesota Grown program and raise industry awareness.
“We’re looking to bridge the relationships with Minnesota farmers and looking to bring more locally-grown foods to our customers,” she said.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.