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Rodhe's IGA receives International Retailer of the Year award

By KEVIN LYNCH Staff Writer Published: March 4, 2017 5:00 AM

MILLERSBURG -- Anyone who has shopped at Millerburg's Rodhe's IGA is well aware of the fine customer service, wide selection and great deals available.

After winning the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) International Retailer of the Year for 2017, one of the many gems of the Holmes County experience is no longer our town's shopping secret.

IGA announced in late that four independent retailers from around the globe were named 2017 IGA International Retailers of the Year during the IGA Awards of Excellence Brunch on Sunday, Feb. 12 at the IGA Global Rally at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from Feb. 10 through 12.

"Kurt Rodhe was named 2017 IGA USA International Retailer of the Year," IGA CEO Mark Batenic said.

Joining Rodhe at the ceremony was most of the management team.

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"We are thankful for all of our associates efforts and our community support for making this possible," Rodhe said. "Between family and part of our management team, we had about 18 people out there. For me, this is a great way to recognize them, and have a good time with them. We had some R&R together and attended some seminars. So there was some learning going on.

"This is a real special honor," he added. "It was quite a humbling experience. I am blessed to have a great group of associates. It would be nice to take them all somewhere. A lot of them have been with us for well over 30 years. We have a lot of years of service here, and that's what it really comes down to, how they perform at store level and care about our customers."

The IGA 2017 International Retailer of the Year Awards were bestowed upon the IGA retailers who, based on IGA's globally applied standards, have achieved exemplary excellence in retailing and advancement of the IGA Brand. Other IGA winners this year were stores from China and Australia.

"The commitment these IGA International Retailers of the Year have made to their customers, their community, their associates and the IGA Alliance is an inspiration to us all," Batenic said. "We couldn't have asked for a better group of retailers to lead the way in the coming year as IGA works to advance both our shopper experience and our brand as a whole."

Rodhe explained that his store was nominated by the Licensed Distributor Center (LDC) as an IGA Hometown Retailer of the Year. Of those eight IGA Hometown Retailer of the Year honorees, one is chosen as the International Retailer of the Year.

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Rodhe said Batenic and two senior members of the IGA staff visited the eight stores, where they spent several hours visiting with customers, talking to employees and looked the store over.

"It is quite an honor. Dad actually won this same award back in 1988," Rodhe said. "They have changed the format a little as they have grown. IGA is an international brand that is in 30 countries."

IGA is the world's largest voluntary supermarket network with aggregate worldwide retail sales of more than $36 billion per year. The alliance includes nearly 5,000 Hometown Proud Supermarkets worldwide, supported by 29 distribution centers and more than 30 major manufacturers, vendors and suppliers encompassing everything from grocery to equipment items. IGA has stores in 45 of the United States and more than 30 countries, commonwealths and territories. For more information about IGA, visit the IGA consumer website at www.iga.com, or the business site at www.becomeiga.com.

Rodhe is a third-generation IGA retailer, making Rodhe's IGA one of the longest-standing IGA stores in the world. For the past 83 years, the Rodhe family has been redefining the grocery experience in Millersburg by anticipating shoppers' evolving needs and exceeding expectations.

In keeping with their tradition of progressive retailing, Rodhe recently placed a focus on health, expanding the store's wellness product offering and marketing with the help of a full-time certified natural health professional. This successful strategy boosted sales throughout the store, and made Rodhe's IGA a destination location in northeastern Ohio.

"At store level, we've introduced a whole new department called IGA Better Choices," Rodhe said. "It deals with health and wellness in foods. We have it down in front of the pharmacy, but it's also throughout the store. That's been real successful for us and growing. We see it as another way of meeting the needs of our consumers.

"We've got a nice section in frozen now, we've introduced some products in deli and meat," he continued. "It's not all about organics. If you need gluten free, or if you are concerned about diabetes, we see this encompass all of that. It will continue to grow and eventually mainstream into today's supermarket."


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