The holidays mean different things to different people, but for me, I have always cherished the togetherness. For a long time, Christmas hasn’t been about gifts, but about the relationships that are nurtured and fed around the dinner table. When my husband and I were first dating, we tried to hit every family Christmas event that year. If I remember correctly, we had four family events in five days, some of them on the same day. I felt like I was always leaving one place to go to the next, and I hated it. I hated feeling like I couldn’t be present with the people I was with. That was the last year we tried to appease everyone, and now we have clear expectations of where we spend our time to ensure the opportunity to really enjoy our families.
Let’s be honest… what do we do over the holidays? We eat. It’s the time of year for all the special goodies, and the only time of year I make lefse and flatbread, honoring my husband’s Norwegian heritage. While I know plenty of people eat out during the holidays, a lot of us end up eating in, and in order to do that, we have to procure our groceries.
During this time of holiday reflection, where you may need to pick up a grocery or two, I want to highlight a Minnesota-based, family-owned grocery chain that prioritizes family, customer service, and respect for the communities in which they serve.
In 1943, Tony and Ida Miner owned and operated a small tavern in Grand Rapids, Minn. There, they offered residents ice-cold beer, but noticed that customers left the tavern early to purchase bread and milk on their way home before the local grocers closed for the day. An entrepreneur at heart, the Miners added a milk cooler and bread to their little store, and the Super One story began. Tony saw his customers’ need and found a way to meet it.
Thus, the foundation was laid for the Super One we see today, putting customers first, and working hard to stretch their customer’s dollar by working directly with manufacturers, and purchasing products directly to ship out of their distribution center, allowing them to drive down costs and remain competitive with larger merchants, passing the savings on to their customers.
Today, Miner’s Inc. operates throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, with 30 Super One Foods stores, one County Market, and Woodland Marketplace Foods, in addition to 11 liquor stores, Ace Hardware, a 200,000 square foot distribution center and trucking division. They are a family-owned company, employing 2,900 people, including third and fourth generation family members.
I reached out to Super One because I have experienced firsthand their dedication to the communities in which they operate. They donate significant resources to Grandma’s Marathon every year, and open up their lanes to local youth activities to bag groceries as a means of fundraising. When I asked them why community involvement is so important to them, they said:
“It is important to show the local communities how our company gives back by providing both time and financial support. One of our core values is the golden rule, ‘treat others as you would like to be treated.’ This core value reinforces the importance of serving others with excellence and being empathetic to the needs of others. We support organizations that have the ability to assist people that are troubled with the same challenges. Some examples of organizations that we support are the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, the Salvation Army, Chum, local area food shelves, and Safe Haven. In addition, we provide assistance to various youth and sports programs within all the markets we serve.”
“We are proud to be involved in the communities we serve on big and small levels. From corporate sponsorships of major events such as Grandma’s Marathon to being a part of smaller events such as activities and sports at local schools or supporting neighborhood clubs and organizations, Super One is proud to give back and stay involved in our local communities.”
Super One is invested in their community. During the height of the pandemic, as supply chain issues reigned, they strove to source products, keep up with demand, and keep shelves stocked. If items became unavailable, they sought to source similar products to meet the community’s needs. Further, Super One recognized their employees as front-line heroes, and provided all hourly employees a $2.00 per hour appreciation pay for six months. During a time of stress and uncertainty, Miners Inc. and Super One provided stability for customers and employees alike, giving them access to food and basic supplies, and access to working wages.
When I asked Super One what their values are, they replied, “At Super One, we strive to offer our customers low prices and better choices throughout all of our store locations. We also value offering the freshest and highest quality products. Whether it’s meat, produce, bakery or deli, our goal is that only the freshest and the best make it to our customer’s tables.”
Low prices. Better choices.
For my family, a lot of relationship building happens around the table. We try to have family dinner most nights, which is becoming increasingly difficult as teenagers’ schedules increase, but I cherish the time we spend around the dinner table, catching up, and hearing about each other’s day.
I also cherish family holidays. I set the table with my mother’s china, which she began collecting when she was just 16. I’m not a fancy tablescape kind of gal, but there’s something about the big pine table with the extra leaf put in, my mom’s china with the gravy boat attached to the plate, and a home cooked holiday meal that is warm and comforting. It’s also comforting to know that the food I buy to put into that home cooked meal is carefully chosen and the business getting my money is investing in the community in which I live, and in causes I care about. Thanks Super One, you’re one super store.