BLUEFIELD — Ron Martin, Bluefield Mayor and co-owner of Grant’s IGA Supermarkets, has been named IGA USA Retailer of the Year.
Martin was honored at the IGA Awards Gala, held in Las Vegas last month.
“It was an honor to accept Grant’s Supermarkets’ award for IGA USA Retailer of the Year on behalf of myself and my partners, Ronnie Cruey and Randle Grant, for the Bluewell, West Virginia location,” Martin said. “Our association with IGA has been short but invaluable, especially during COVID, allowing us quick access to information and technology to better serve our customers. We are extremely proud of our stores, employees and especially our customers. We love the communities we serve and look forward to many years of service to the people and places we serve. We are also extremely satisfied that all of our locations were certified IGA Five Star locations, the highest level of certification an IGA store can achieve.”
In January 2020, Grant’s Supermarket was also one of five IGA (Independent Grocers of America) USA retailers named IGA USA’s 2020 Hometown Proud Retailers.
The winning retailers were each chosen by their individual IGA wholesaler as their top IGA retailer of the year based on operations, service, marketing and branding, and community support,
Martin said he has also been asked by IGA to serve on its 12-member National Advisory Board, calling the request an “awesome honor.”
An announcement of the Retailer of the Year award from IGA headquarters in Chicago said Grant’s, which has 16 retail locations, is “deeply invested in their communities throughout southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia. To save several communities from becoming food deserts after national chains exited the area, Grant’s stepped in to purchase and renovate those stores to provide a full-service grocery store—often the only one in these small towns. These communities now have a superior shopping experience with access to fresh foods and stellar meat departments, thanks to the leadership team of Ron Martin, Ronnie Cruey, and Randle Grant.”
The announcement said the team’s experience and dedication “shine in their commitment to further supporting their rural communities through several fundraising efforts each year, donating over 14,000 food bags to local pantries and raising nearly $53,000 for local high schools and veterans and service members all while offering the nourishment the communities need through the stores’ offerings.”
Grant’s was also praised for its work during the pandemic.
“The team worked tirelessly to come up with ways to better serve their shoppers, from enacting safety protocols to protect team members and shoppers alike, to making online shopping available at all 16 locations and waiving the online ordering fee to ensure the service was available even to cash-strapped customers,” IGA officials said.
John Ross, IGA CEO, visited the Bluewell Grant’s Supermarket for that January 2020 honor and had high praise for Martin and the team, both then and now.
“Having visited each of our 2019 IGA Retailers of the Year, I can tell you they paint a great picture of the magic that happens when innovation is born out of an IGA owner’s dedication to serve friends, family and neighbors in the best way possible,” Ross said in the announcement. “The five retailers in the running for IGA USA International Retailer of the Year are some of the most progressive retailers in the country, and they are leading the way with the intimate, intensely local experiences shoppers want. We are extremely proud of Ron and his team for building a lasting legacy of local ownership and community commitment through their work at Grant’s IGA Supermarkets, and thank all the shoppers who inspired them to be the best.”
The awards process began in the fall of 2019 when IGA USA Licensed Distribution Companies (LDCs) were each asked to submit a candidate for IGA USA Retailer of the Year. In the end, five best-in-class IGA retailers were chosen for the title.
The planned Awards of Excellence Ceremony—originally scheduled for March 2020—was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but then rescheduled for Sept. 20, when Martin received the honor.
— Contact Charles Boothe at email@example.com.