The Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA) recognized its 2023 award winners and Hall of Fame inductees July 30 at the association’s annual conference in Brainerd, Minnesota.
MGA annually presents awards to those in the industry that demonstrate excellence, have made significant contributions and are highly respected by their peers.
The 2023 awards were presented by MGA Board Chair Chris Quisberg and MGA President Jamie Pfuhl. Attended by more than 300 people, this is the state’s premier event showcasing the accomplishments of those in the Minnesota food industry.
2023 Outstanding Grocer Award
This award was presented to Craig and Kristee Thorvig, owners of Chris’ Food Center in Sandstone, Minnesota. Craig began his grocery career as a young boy sorting potatoes and counting pop machine money at his parents’ store. Kristee’s first job was in ninth grade as a cashier at the store where she met Craig.
The duo married in 1999 and have operated the store since 2003, when they took over the family business from Craig’s father. The store, through its many evolutions, has been in the family for about 30 years.
The store hosts several events and fundraisers for area children and organizations, while providing community support through school meal support, free delivery for senior citizens, Adopt a Highway and plastic recycling. The store is known throughout the area for its creative displays and community involvement and has won several state and national display competitions.
Craig is a member of the MGA Executive Committee and served as the board chair from 2010-12. He also is the chair of the MGA Foundation board.
2023 Outstanding Vendor Award
Mark Schneider of Littler Mendelson, P.C. was honored by the MGA with its 2023 Outstanding Vendor Award. This award is given to those with outstanding industry accomplishments in Minnesota, commitment and innovation in support of its clients, as well as involvement in the MGA. Schneider’s career has extended more than 40 years, representing many Minnesota food businesses and retailers focusing on the areas of labor law and negotiations.
MGA’s Hall of Fame
Steve Quisberg, owner of S&R Quisberg Inc. in Baxter, Minnesota, was inducted into the MGA’s Hall of Fame in recognition of his service and contributions to Minnesota’s food industry. He started his grocery career working in his father’s store when he was 12 years old. Quisberg eventually took over the Brainerd County Market in 1987 and successfully revitalized the store.
In 1991, Quisberg opened an additional County Market store in Baxter – both of those locations are now operated as Cub Foods stores. Under his guidance, S&R Quisberg also opened the Pequot Lakes SuperValu and expanded into the convenience store business. He has been engaged in the MGA and served on the board of directors for a decade and as chairman from 1990-92.
Quisberg was the MGA Grocer of the Year award recipient in 1995, and he joins his father, Sherman Quisberg, in the MGA Hall of Fame.
MGA is the only state trade association that represents the food industry of Minnesota from farm to fork. It is one of the oldest trade associations in the state, celebrating 125 years of advancing industry with more than 300 retail, manufacturing and wholesale members supporting nearly 1,300 locations statewide.