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Wagner’s IGA Celebrates 100 Year Anniversary

(Photo credit: daily standard.com)

Minster, Ohio-based hometown grocery store, Wagner’s IGA, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2022. 

The celebration also marks an important transition as former owner Wally Wagner Jr. will be retiring in the near future, with new owner Leo Braido taking over operations for the Minster store, as well as two other IGAs previously owned by Wagner. All three locations will remain branded IGA.  

Wagner Jr. sold his three Wagner’s IGA locations to Braido, a long-time grocer with more than three decades of experience and former owner of Oberlin IGA in 2021. Wagner Jr. is currently serving in a part-time role as he transitions out of the day-to-day operations in the coming weeks.  

For the 100th anniversary celebration, held at its Minster, Ohio location, Wagner’s IGA had several celebratory activities, as well as a special appearance by John Ross, IGA CEO. 

Wally Wagner, Jr. and Leo Braido, photo credit: dailystandard.com

“We’re continuing to see more IGA retailers reach their 100th anniversary. And Wagner’s IGA is another prime example of a small business who has established trust and loyalty with its community,” Ross said. “The Wagner family has created a remarkable legacy in these towns and now Leo Braido will be propelling it forward.” 

Although Wagner Jr. would have liked for one of his children to take over the business, they chose different career paths. The timing worked out as Braido was ready to be closer to his family and purchasing Wagner’s IGA would allow him to do so.  

Braido is excited to bring new enhancements to the community store. This includes a 50 percent larger beer department and some upgrades to its deli department.

Wagner’s IGA is an independently-owned grocery store founded in 1922 by A.J. Wagner, Wally Wagner Jr.’s grandfather. A.J. Wagner opened his first store at 91 W. Fourth St. (a portion of present Minster Bank site).  

In 1946, Wally Wagner Sr. (A.J.’s son) came home from the armed services and joined his father in the business. The Minster store relocated and expanded before moving to its current location at  257 E. Fourth St. in 1979.  

Wally Wagner Jr. became the third-generation owner in 1997 and was the last family owner of the store. He added stores in Fort Loramie and New Bremen in 2003 and 2013, respectively. Wagner’s IGA has been a member of the Independent Grocers Alliance since 1954. 

“Thinking about all the accomplishments that we’ve had throughout the 100 years is pretty amazing,”  Wagner Jr. said. “And I think that’s why we kept on moving forward. Our basic principles of customer service and quality products has been the key to our success.” 

Along with free food and coffee provided to shoppers, the grocer held an anniversary sale and celebration for two weeks featuring prize giveaways, including the grand prize: a $1,000 Wagner’s IGA shopping spree.  

The two-week celebration included promotions and prizes from some of IGA’s Red Oval partners (manufacturers and service providers with products and services that help IGA retailers and the IGA brand grow and thrive) as well as many of Wagner’s local vendors. Vendor partners included Hershey, The Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi, Minster Bank, Reiter Dairy, Utz Snacks, Smithfield, Alliance Marketing, Caito Foods and many others.  

“It’s really a tribute to Wally and the great job he and his family have done over the years,” Braido said about the 100th anniversary milestone. “My goal is to build upon the great foundation that is here and  further grow the business and continue to give back to the great communities the stores are located in. I was blessed to have my very first job become my career. While the grocery business is more  challenging today than ever before, it’s still a joy to be a part of such a great industry. Whether it’s a good day or a bad day, at the end of the day I am nothing but thankful for my family and to work in an  industry I love every day.” 

For more info on the storeclick here. 

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