The Wisconsin Grocers Association (WGA) is recognizing Don Theisen, store director at Trig’s Rhinelander location, for his outstanding contributions to the grocery industry in Wisconsin, as well as the Rhinelander community, with two WGA sponsored awards—the Excellence in Operations Award and the Community Service Award.
Theisen was nominated for the Excellence in Operations award by Nate Vollmer of TA Solberg Co. Inc.; Mark Maloney of Russ Davis Wholesale nominated Theisen for the Community Service Award. Both awards were part of a surprise announcement at 9:30 a.m. today, July 26, at the Rhinelander Trig’s, 232 S. Courtney Street.
This is the 16th year the WGA has presented the Excellence in Operations Award and the 12th year for the Community Service Award. This is the first time someone has won both in the same year.
“The Excellence in Operations Award recognizes store owners, managers and store directors in the grocery industry who are on the front-lines every day and instrumental in the success of their stores,” said Brandon Scholz, president and CEO of the WGA, “while the Community Service Award salutes those who have gone above and beyond with their contributions to their community.”
According to one of Theisen’s nominations, his passion for the ever-changing grocery industry, positive attitude, motivation of others to succeed, desire for results and competitive nature are his significant strengths that contribute to his success at Trig’s in Rhinelander. These attributes were recognized this year, as he was presented with the 2019 TA Solberg Co. Inc. Outstanding Business Leader TAS Award, for his outstanding efforts in servant leadership, financial results, guest experience and overall store operations. Theisen was one of two associates presented with the award, out of 1,200 total TA Solberg Co. Inc. associates.
Not only was Theisen recognized with this award, he was the only individual in the company that was nominated for an award in all categories, including Guest Service, Servant Leadership, Operations and The Solberg Award. As a result, the Rhinelander store took home seven TAS Awards, illustrating Theisen’s compassion and dedication to his store, his associates and the Rhinelander community.
Theisen’s passion behind company programs and initiatives has led to many store accolades. One of the most notable is winning the Potato Merchandising Event for the past three years. The store won some pretty big prizes, including a Harley Davidson motorcycle and an ATV. Theisen coordinated an auction for both prizes, with all proceeds going to charities, such as local food pantries, Wisconsin Challenge Academy and Trig’s Sunshine Fund.
As a committee member of the Sunshine Fund, Theisen assists with organizing efforts to support associates experiencing unforeseen hardships; an effort that in 2018, gave more than $20,000 to over 30 associates. He also has organized and assisted with Trig’s new “Gourmet Northwoods Popcorn Operation,” where the equipment, production and shipping all take place within his Rhinelander Trig’s store.
The community of Rhinelander greatly benefits from Theisen’s leadership at Trig’s. He knows that being involved in the community is critical for the success and growth of both the community as well as the local business. From being the company ambassador to the media and grilling Trig’s Smokehouse brats live at local news stations, to establishing a store sponsorship for “Let’s Go Fishing,” a group that provides guided fishing outings for those in Rhinelander with special needs, and supporting the Rhinelander Police Department with multiple fundraisers, Theisen makes sure his store associates and leadership teams get involved together as a group in the community.
A formal award will be presented to Theisen on Oct. 2 at the Grocer’s Innovation Expo at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.