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Articles in Category: MnRA News

Kendall’s Ace Hardware Recognized With Customer Experience Award

2022-2023 Minnesota's Retail Champion Awards

Kendall 30TH SHIRT LOGO Page 1St. Paul (October 4, 2022) – The Minnesota Retailers Association is pleased to recognize Kendall’s Ace Hardware with its Customer Experience award as part of the 2022 Minnesota’s Retail Champions program.

“Kendall’s Ace Hardware has fulfilled and continues to fulfill its mission to be the friendliest store in town,” said Bruce Nustad, Minnesota Retailers Association president. “All it takes is about a minute in the store, a few looks up at the unique artwork, a few looks down at the dog and cat, and a second to be helped by a Kendall’s associate, and you know you have come to the right place to have your hardware and houseware problems solved. It’s an honor to recognize and congratulate Ashley, Matt and the entire team at Kendall’s with our Customer Experience award.”

Kendall’s Ace Hardware is one of the recipients of the Minnesota’s Retail Champions Customer Experience award. Ten other organizations will be recognized in other categories such as Retail Manager of the Year, Social Responsibility, Best Place To Work, Advocate of the Year, Building Community Through Retail, Partner of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Special Achievement and Retailer of the Year.

Ashley and Matt Lloyd will accept the award during the Retail Rally event on Thursday, October 6, 2022, beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Golden Valley. The event features practical, game-changing, cutting-edge retail innovation strategies and ideas. Retail Rally event information can be found at

Click here to see all the 2022-2023 Minnesota's Retail Champions award winners.

About the Minnesota Retailers Association: The Minnesota Retailers Association promotes, preserves and enhances the retail industry in Minnesota by taking a leadership position in development of public policy and regulatory measures that impact members. MnRA also works to enhance the public image of the retail industry by providing information, services and support that adds value to its members.

Contact: Bruce Nustad, Minnesota Retailers Association, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (651) 227-6631


Three mainstreet Minnesota retailers recognized as “America’s Retail Champions” by the National Retail Federation


Three mainstreet Minnesota retailers recognized as “America’s Retail Champions” by the National Retail Federation

July 28, 2022 - The Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA) is proud to announce the National Retail Federation (NRF) is honoring three Minnesota retailers as “America’s Retail Champions”. America’s Retail Champions is a program celebrating small retailers who are exceptional champions for retail and the communities they serve.

Only 33 retailers across the U.S. were selected as champions and are being recognized at NRF’s Retail Advocates Summit today.  A recognition dinner follows a day of meetings with Minnesota’s policymakers in Washington, D.C., discussing issues impacting retailers and “The Retail Experience”--an innovative demonstration of the impact of the retail industry.

Minnesota’s America’s Retail Champion Honorees:

Scott Farrell, Down in the Valley, (Golden Valley, Crystal, Maple Grove)

Farrell is the general manager of Down in the Valley, a retailer that has stood the test of time since 1972 and was recognized as Minnesota’s best record store by the Star Tribune in 2021. Farrell is a committed and demonstrated leader in his industry and among his peers, as well as a member of the MnRA Board of Directors. “Scott stepped up and was a leading voice on using state surplus dollars and federal funds to restore Minnesota’s unemployment trust fund to solvency this past year, avoiding a large cost increase on businesses at a critical time in our pandemic recovery,” says MnRA president Bruce Nustad. “In addition, Scott is a thought leader on product regulation and innovation. He and Down in the Valley are worthy of NRF’s America’s Retail Champion recognition.”

Lonnie McQuirter, 36 Lyn Refuel Station, (Minneapolis)

McQuirter is director of operations at 36 Lyn Refuel Station, an independent convenience store where people from all walks of life feel welcome, and many products are locally supplied. McQuirter is a past MnRA Board chair and a strong community supporter. “Lonnie represents everything great about Minnesota’s retail industry,” says Bruce Nustad. “He is one of the first people in a room to share his experiences and perspective that are always grounded in what is best for his customers, his employees, and his community. In addition, Lonnie truly brings people and organizations together making him an amazing advocate and leader, and an excellent choice for America’s Retail Champion.”

Christine Ward, Patina, (Minneapolis, Golden Valley, St. Paul, Woodbury, Eden Prairie, Roseville)

Ward co-owns Patina, a Minnesota retail treasure started in 1993 with an ever-changing array of products to match its vision to escape and inspire. Ward is a great employer with a knack for listening to her employees and customers. “Christine brought her voice forward during a critical pandemic moment to advocate for safe retailing during the most uncertain of times,” says Bruce

Nustad.  “She had a lead voice with elected officials and truly advocated for small businesses. Christine authored a letter that read like a manifesto for safely reopening retail.  That letter informed the conversations around opening retail for curbside and in-store business. Christine and Patina are excellent honorees as America’s Retail Champions.”

Please join us in congratulating Farrell, McQuirter and Ward as America’s Retail Champions honorees.

Learn more:

Minnesota Retailers Association -
National Retail Federation -
America’s Retail Champions -
The Retail Experience –

The Minnesota Retailers Association supports retailers to the benefit of their customers, their communities, their employees, and our state economy. Retail impacts one in five Minnesota jobs.

Savannah Sepic
Minnesota Retailers Association
380 St. Peter Street, Suite 1050, St. Paul, MN 55102 
Tel. (651) 227-6631, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Nine Retail Leaders To Be Recognized As Minnesota's Retail Champions

2021 Minnesota's Retail Champion Awards

Watch the 2021 Minnesota's Retail Champions video:



Join the Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA) as we recognize nine leading retailers and industry partners at the announcement of the 2021 Minnesota’s Retail Champions.

Winners will accept their awards during the Retail Rally event ( on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Golden Valley. Retail Rally is changing the way retailers and their key business partners engage with today's consumer. The event features six 20-minute practical, game-changing, cutting-edge retail innovations strategies and ideas.

“We are proud to recognize nine innovative retailers, communities and partners that are leading the way in connecting with consumers and today’s trends following a vigorous process to identify Minnesota’s Retail Champions,” says Bruce Nustad, Minnesota Retailers Association president. “The retail industry has a deep impact on Minnesota communities, and these award recipients are truly representative of what is great about retail across the state, how the industry is changing, and what it takes to attract customers today.”

The following is a complete list of the 2021 Minnesota’s Retail Champion Award recipients:

Best Place to Work
Twin Town Guitars, Minneapolis, MN
Read about the award here.

Customer Commitment
Como Pharmacy, St. Paul, MN
Read about the award here.

Lifetime Achievement
Jeff Lindoo, Alexandria, MN
Read about the award here.

Retailer of the Year
AP Design, Marshall, MN
Read about the award here.

Retail Employee of the Year
Shelby Studanski, Frame Minnesota, Eagan, MN
Read about the award here.

Retail Innovation
The Paint Factory, Hutchinson, MN
Read about the award here.

Social Responsibility
Mackenthun’s Fine Foods, Waconia, MN
Read about the award here.

Advocate of the Year
Dave Baker, Willmar, MN
Read about the award here.

Retail Community of the Year
Winona & the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, Winona, MN 
Read about the award here.             

MnRA started the award process by putting out a statewide call for nominations early in the year.  A panel of peer judges reviewed nearly nine dozen nominations and selected the top nominee in each category. Tickets to the event are $25 online at

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