Lueken's Village Foods named a 2023 Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year

Lueken's Village Foods North has been named one of six Minnesota grocers who promote locally grown and produced products and has been named a 2023 Retailer of the Year.

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BEMIDJI — Lueken's Village Foods North has been named one of six Minnesota grocers who promote locally grown and produced products, and has been named a 2023 Retailer of the Year by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown program, in partnership with the Minnesota Grocers Association.

Lueken's was also named one of four winners of the award in 2022.

“We thank these grocers and their employees for their leadership in highlighting locally grown foods for their customers,” MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen said in a release. “Minnesota-grown products are essential in providing fresh and nutritious foods to communities across the state.”

MDA and MGA staff will be presenting the awards in person at an MGA event this spring and will be conducting a Retailer of the Year tour to visit each of the winning stores.

This year’s winners include:


  • Northwest: Lueken’s Village Foods, Bemidji
  • Northeast: Chris’ Food Center, Sandstone
  • West Central: Pine River Family Market, Pine River
  • Southwest: Mackenthun’s Fine Foods, Waconia
  • Twin Cities: Kowalski’s, White Bear Lake
  • People’s Choice: Knowlan’s Supermarket, Maplewood

The retailers in their respective regions will receive a commemorative plaque, exclusive rights to use the “Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year 2023” logo in their ads and displays, as well as recognition among retailers and consumers that they are champions of all things local, the release said.
Judging was based on several factors, including the number of Minnesota Grown products and the number of Minnesota Grown farmers and producers that the grocer carried. Judges also looked at how the grocer used ads, displays, social media, and other events to promote Minnesota Grown items to customers.

“Grocers are the foundation of the communities they serve and are incredibly proud of our innovative local partnerships from farm to fork,” MGA President Jamie Pfuhl added. “The success of the Minnesota Grown program is driven by the exceptional efforts of all in the food industry. We are proud to play a role in this collective effort that showcases and celebrates innovative partnerships and brings wonderful local products to our customers.”

The 2023-2024 contest opens on Aug. 1 and runs through Sept. 30. Information about how to participate is available on the Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year webpage.

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