Retail has a great story to tell in Minnesota!

Shelby Studanski with Frame Minnesota Named Retail Employee of the Year

2021 Minnesota's Retail Champion Awards

Shelby headshotThe Minnesota Retailers Association is pleased to recognize Shelby Studanski with Frame Minnesota as Retail Employee of the Year as part of the 2021 Minnesota’s Retail Champions program.

“Minnesota has so many amazing retail employees, however Shelby stands out among the most talented,” says Bruce Nustad, Minnesota Retailers Association president. “Spend just a few minutes talking with Shelby and you will realize she absolutely loves working with customers and Frame Minnesota provides her the perfect opportunity to put her passion for art and skills to work. Shelby is one of those people that make your day a little brighter just by interacting with her. We appreciate the high bar that Shelby sets when it comes to service to customers and are so pleased to name her Minnesota’s Retail Employee of the Year.”

“My favorite thing about working retail is that I get to collaborate with people to enhance and preserve their precious memories and keepsakes,” says Shelby Studanski, designer and head framer at Frame Minnesota. “I work with customers to figure out what they are looking for and thenFrameMinnesota logo make their vision come true. No two days are the same working here. Thanks to the owner, Tami, I’ve learned about all the facets of running a small business. Best of all I get to be an artist while making customers happy. It’s very satisfying when your job involves what you are passionate about.”

 “Shelby has been so invaluable and flexible during Covid. She helped me immensely as we learned and morphed from curbside pick up and virtual designs to a new by-appointment business model which we continue today. She is great at both producing our custom designs and leading the frame shop staff and excellent at helping customers come up with creative solutions to make their art look great,” says Tami Phillippi, owner of Frame Minnesota.

Shelby Studanski with Frame Minnesota is the sole recipient of the Minnesota’s Retail Champions Retail Employee of the Year award. Eight other organizations will be recognized in other categories such as Lifetime Achievement, Social Responsibility, Retail Innovation, Customer Commitment, Best Place to Work, Retail Community of the Year, Advocate of the Year, and Retailer of the Year.

Shelby will accept the award during the Retail Rally event on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Golden Valley. The event features six 20-minute practical, game-changing, cutting-edge retail innovations strategies and ideas.

Retail Rally event information can be found at www.retailrally.com.

Mackenthun's Fine Foods Recognized With Social Responsibility Award

2021 Minnesota's Retail Champion Awards

mackenthuns logoThe Minnesota Retailers Association is pleased to award Mackenthun’s Fine Foods the Social Responsibility award as part of the 2021 Minnesota’s Retail Champions program.

“It’s clear Mackenthun’s Fine Foods is a cornerstone in their communities,” says Bruce Nustad, Minnesota Retailers Association president. “It’s just not common today to find fifth generation owners of a retail business in Minnesota, but it’s clear Mackenthun’s connection and love for their community is what has sustained their business. The Mackenthun’s commitment to buying local and being active, as well as giving back to their community, is an inspiration to other retailers.  We congratulate Mackenthun’s Fine Foods on receiving our Social Responsibility award.”

“We’ve been in the community for over 100 years,” say Mackenthun’s Fine Foods owners Jessa Theis and Jaime Mackenthun. “One of guiding principles is that we are only as strong as the community around us. Community is a big part of what we do, and that includes being active in the Chamber and giving back to area organizations. We truly believe supporting our community, including the food shelf, local farmers, the hospital, and the baseball park, is one of the best things we can do. Local is huge to us, and the community is what has helped us grow.”

“Waconia would not be the same without Mackenthun’s,” says Christine Fenner, president of the Waconia Chamber of Commerce. “Their dedication, support, and involvement to the betterment of our community is truly incredible.”

“The Mackenthun family sets the standard for social responsibility. Their commitment to team members, the communities they serve, and the common good of the entire state have set a high bar. They challenge the status quo, which you feel the minute you walk into their store,” notes Jamie Pfuhl, president of the Minnesota Grocers Association. “Our association has had the great fortune of partnering with all generations of the Mackenthun family and our industry is better for their vision and commitment of being the best community partner possible. We congratulate them on this well-deserved acknowledgement.”

Mackenthun’s Fine Foods was nominated by the Waconia Chamber of Commerce and is the sole recipient of the Minnesota’s Retail Champions Social Responsibility award. Eight other organizations will be recognized in other categories such as Lifetime Achievement, Retailer of the Year, Retail Employee of the Year, Customer Commitment, Best Place to Work, Retail Community of the Year, Advocate of the Year, and Retail Innovation.

A Mackenthun’s Fine Foods representative will accept the award during the Retail Rally event on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Golden Valley. The event features six 20-minute practical, game-changing, cutting-edge retail innovations strategies and ideas.

Retail Rally event information can be found at www.retailrally.com.

MnRA asks Frontline Worker Pay Working Group to include frontline retailers for State bonus payments

Below is the full text of the letter to the Frontline Workers Pay Working Group:

August 30, 2021

Frontline Worker Pay Working Group Members:

We have been watching the Frontline Worker Pay Working Group with deep interest, and we appreciate the discovery and thoughtfulness that has been evident during your meetings and testimony.

As consumers each of you have seen first-hand how retailers have stepped up early and throughout the pandemic, working hard on extra cleaning and new ways of retailing to provide a safe shopping experience and work environment. We are proud of how the industry answered the State’s call to donate masks and other PPE when such supplies were desperately needed. In addition, you saw retailers quickly shift operations to offer or enhance curbside pickup, home delivery, online options, and safe in-store shopping based on state, federal and local public health guidance.

From the front of the store serving customers directly, to the vital work in distribution and shipping centers, retail workers have answered the call each day to ensure the needs of families, communities, and all Minnesotans have been met. We truly have seen the customer-serving spirit and work ethic of Minnesota’s retail workers shine!

As you get closer to consensus on program qualifications, we offer these perspectives based on what we have heard from retailers and their workers across the state.

  • Please consider Minnesota’s retail pharmacy workers as healthcare workers. Workers in retail pharmacies have reported for work each day of the pandemic to ensure Minnesotans have access to over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, personal hygiene supplies, and accessible COVID vaccines and testing. Retail pharmacies and their workers have played a recognizable role in the health of all Minnesotans and have proved to be a vital part of the health response to the pandemic, including being frontline partners with the State on vaccination. We ask that you not exclude these workers from your healthcare qualifications.

  • Please consider Minnesota’s convenience store workers as grocery workers. Thousands of convenience store workers clock in every day to ensure there is access to essential products such as gasoline and electric charging as well as grocery items. In some communities and for some Minnesotans convenience stores serve as the most accessible store for fresh, packaged and prepared foods. We ask that you not forget these convenience store workers as you consider grocery worker qualifications.

  • As you continue to discuss program funding, including the potential to leverage other available funding beyond the $250 million, please consider the work of Minnesota’s frontline retail workers who show up every day to meet the needs of our citizens. One estimate brought before the workgroup suggested there are approximately 153,000 workers who make sure we have access to household and personal essentials, clothing and shoes, home office and education technology, home maintenance goods, as well as other physical and mental health/safety items needed across the state. As you continue to learn more about workers who have important roles throughout the pandemic, please consider frontline retail workers who have been serving Minnesotans via in-person shopping, curbside delivery, online servicing, and back-end processing and logistics.

We commend the workgroup for its process and willingness to dig deep and understand Minnesotans and how they were and are impacted by the pandemic. We know the decisions ahead of you are difficult but are also confident your spirit of cooperation will result in a meaningful program for frontline workers.

Thank you for your consideration of retail pharmacy, convenience, and frontline retail workers as you make your decisions.

Bruce Nustad, president
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