Iowa Grocery Industry Association Honors Four at 23rd Annual Hall of Fame Dinner

Iowa grocers gathered to honor grocery and convenience industry greats at the Iowa Grocery Industry Association’s 23rd Annual Hall of Fame Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Sheraton West Des Moines.

This year, the Association honored Fareway CEO Reynolds W. Cramer with the IGIA Retailer of the Year Award. The evening’s highlights also included awarding Jeremy Thompson with the Volunteer of the Year Award, Cylinder Express with the Supplier of the Year Award and former IGIA lobbyist Scott Sundstrom, Wellmark, with the Legislative Leadership award. All award recipients took the stage to accept their awards as they were inducted into the Iowa Grocery Industry Association Hall of Fame.

Fareway CEO Reynolds W. Cramer Named 2016 Retailer of the Year

Reynolds Cramer received the industry’s top honor for his contributions to Fareway, the grocery industry and Iowa communities throughout the past 32 years.

Photo: IGIA President Michelle Hurd (right) presents the 2016 Retailer of the Year Award to Fareway CEO Reynolds W. Cramer, shown here with his wife, Sheila, and son Zach, 12.

Cramer began working for Fareway in Boone, Iowa, at the age of 16. After high school, he went to work at the Decorah Fareway while attending Luther College. Upon graduating in 1991, he began making his way through the various store levels. He was promoted to store manager in 1997, opening the Fareway store on the S.E. 22nd Street in Des Moines then rose through the ranks to become district supervisor in 2000.  In 2009, Cramer garnered a seat on the Board of Directors for Fareway followed by a promotion to regional vice president in 2010. In 2012, Cramer became executive vice president in charge of all retail operations. Most recently, he was elected chief executive officer of Fareway Stores, Inc. in February 2014.

During his time with the company, Cramer has been instrumental in the strategic placement of new Fareway locations throughout the Midwest and in launching a new store design, an innovative stand-alone meat store concept and the company’s online meat store.

“Reynolds has been a leader and visionary for Fareway,” says IGIA President Michelle Hurd. “His dedication and commitment to the industry and to Iowa make him a great choice for IGIA’s Retailer of the Year award."

Cramer also plays a vital role in the community through his work with numerous charitable organizations. The list includes the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Variety-the Children’s Charity and Easter Seals Iowa. He is also an advocate for animal rescue, a former board member for Faith, Hope and Charity in Storm Lake and is a current member of the Iowa Business Council.

Cramer lives near Ames with Sheila, his wife, and has two children, Ashley, 17, and Zach, 12.

Jeremy Thompson Chosen Volunteer of the Year

Photo: IGIA board member Karl Kruse of Hy-Vee (left) presents the Volunteer of the Year Award to Jeremy Thompson of Sazerac.

Sazerac’s Jeremy Thompson accepted the Volunteer of the Year Award for his commitment and dedication to the grocery and convenience industries. Thompson joined the IGIA in 2002 to help cultivate relationships with retailers when he went to work as the sales manager for Voss Distributing. He participated in events and volunteered from the get-go. As his career took him from Voss to positions with LUXCO and then Sazerac, he ensured each company joined the Association and became Ribbon Sponsors. Thompson also actively volunteers within the community and says he feels a deep need “to leave things better than he found them.”

“Jeremy has been a great supporter of IGIA for many years,” says Hall of Fame Selection Committee member Karl Kruse, Hy-Vee. “He is always willing to lend his time, talents and financial support. He is very deserving of this award.”

Thompson was accompanied by Jennifer, his wife. The couple lives in Des Moines with sons Reece, 10, and Taylor, 7.

Cylinder Express Named 2016 Supplier of the Year

Photo: Cylinder Express owner Henry Jessen (right) accepts the Supplier of the Year Award from IGIA board member Charley Campbell of Kum & Go.

Cylinder Express owner Henry Jessen accepted the 2016 Supplier of the Year Award on behalf of the company, its employees and its customers. Owned by Henry and Bev Jessen, Cylinder Express, located in Battle Creek, Iowa, is a propane cylinder exchange and HVAC dealer with approximately 850 cylinder exchange locations at retailers throughout Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Sons Jacob and Jordan, who work for and contribute to the company’s success, were also in attendance.

The level of dedication that Cylinder Express demonstrates for its retail customers, consumers, and the grocery and convenience industries has landed the Iowa company a place in the Iowa Grocery Industry Association Hall of Fame.

The company’s unwavering commitment to service also extends to the larger community. The Jessens participate in and support multiple community groups including scouts, the local fire department and EMS, church, the Horn Memorial Auxiliary, Ida Sheltered Industries and Ida Grove County Country Club.

“We’ve always believed you can’t just take, you have to give back too,” adds Henry Jessen. “It’s important to us that our customers see that we are members of the IGIA and that we’ve made this commitment for them.”

IGIA Bestows Legislative Leader Award Upon Scott Sundstrom

Photo: Tyler Farner of Farner Bocken Company presents Scott Sundstrom, former IGIA lobbyist with the 2016 Legislative Leader Award.

When it comes to the Iowa Grocery Industry Association’s governmental relations efforts, few have had an impact equal to that of Scott Sundstrom. His role as legislative liaison for the IGIA at the Capitol, his extensive efforts to summarize complex legal concepts on a regular basis as well as communicate with elected officials about how proposed legislation will affect the grocery industry were among the many reasons cited for Sundstrom’s selection to receive this award.

Sundstrom, who until recently had been a shareholder in the Governmental Affairs Department of Nyemaster, Goode, West, Hansell & O’Brien, P.C. in Des Moines acted as the Association’s lobbyist for 12 years. In August, the IGIA bid Sundstrom a fond farewell as he accepted a job in the private sector to become vice president, government relations for Wellmark.

Sundstrom and Claire, his wife, reside in Des Moines with their twin daughters, Ella and Grace, age 13.




Fareway CEO Reynolds Cramer Named 2016 Retailer of the Year