Iowa Grocery Industry Association Announces 2017 Hall of Fame Winners


Iowa Grocery Industry Association Announces 2017 Hall of Fame Winners

The Iowa Grocery Industry Association will honor champions of Iowa's grocery industry during its 24th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner, 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

The Association announced recently that it is honoring independent grocer Brian Burnam, owner of Keith’s Foods in Bloomfield, Iowa, with its Retailer of the Year Award. The organization will also honor Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling’s executive chairman of the board and former CEO James R. Tyler with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Wells Enterprises has been named the 2017 Supplier of the Year while Craig Clasen, vice president, industry relations, Hy-Vee Inc. is receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award.

All award recipients will be inducted into the Iowa Grocery Industry Hall of Fame at the IGIA Hall of Fame Dinner, Tues. Nov. 7.

The Hall of Fame selection committee made up of IGIA board members reviews peer nominations and makes final selections based upon the nominee’s character and qualifications. A candidate’s contributions to the grocery industry also factor into the final selection.

Burnam Named Retailer of the Year

Brian Burnam, owner, Keith’s Foods, has been selected to receive the industry’s top honor for his contributions to the Bloomfield community and the grocery industry throughout the past 40 years. Burnam is a third-generation grocer, whose love of the grocery industry began at an early age. He started working at his father’s store when he was just 11 years old. Burnam obtained an Associate’s Degree in retail management from AIB in Des Moines, and returned to Bloomfield to put his education to work at the store alongside his dad. Burnam is known for his many contributions to the community of Bloomfield, for keeping pace with technological advances in retail and for his commitment to the environment. He recently added a 53-Kilowatt Solar System on the store’s roof producing 108 megawatts of power and reducing the store’s CO2 emissions at a rate that is the equivalent of planting 4,244 trees.

Tyler Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

James R. Tyler grew up in Villisca, Iowa and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 following high school graduation. After being assigned to the 48th Fighter Squadron, 14th Fighter Group of the 15th Air Force, First Lt. Tyler served as a P-38 fighter pilot, flying 15 missions out of San Severo, Italy, before being discharged in 1946. Tyler received a Bachelor’s of Science in business administration from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa in 1949. He then moved to Atlantic, Iowa, to work for Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which had been founded in 1905 by his grandfather, Frank P. “Perk” Tyler as an ice cream and ice business and was being run by his father, Harry. By 1958, Tyler was managing the company. Over the years, Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Co. has more than doubled its territory, and today employs 700 people.

Wells Enterprises Named Supplier of the Year

Wells Enterprises’ commitment to Iowa and the town of Le Mars, where it originated and still operates today, mirrors its devotion to quality and integrity, according to the company’s CEO Mike Wells. This dedication has helped the company forge lasting business relationships that contribute to its success. What began in 1913 as a small milk company, with the initial investment of $250, has grown to become the second largest producer of ice cream in the nation. Today, Wells is the number one supplier to the number one customer in every industry it serves. Wells supplies Iowa-based companies Hy-Vee, Fareway, Kum & Go, Casey’s and a large number of independent grocers, as well as companies based outside the state including Kroger, Safeway, Albertsons, 7-11 and Wal-Mart. As Wells’ business has grown so has its support of the Iowa grocery industry.

Clasen Honored with Volunteer of the Year Award

Craig Clasen, vice president, industry relations for Hy-Vee Inc., was nominated for his work on the IGIA Convention Auction Committee and for his commitment to volunteering throughout his lifetime. With Clasen’s help, the IGIA raised $35,350 to provide college scholarships to youth with ties to the grocery industry. In addition to his work with the IGIA, Clasen has made significant contributions to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, serving on that organization’s board, and as the corporate liaison for a number of fundraising events. He also worked with the Des Moines-area Hy-Vee stores; Variety The Children’s Charity; and Big Brothers, Big Sisters to raise funds to purchase 50 bicycles and helmets for area children from low-income families.