Laura Malisani, co-owner of Montana-based Gary and Leo’s Fresh Foods IGA, was named 2019 IGA USA International Retailer of the Year at the recent IGA Global Rally. Laura and her husband, John, Malisani, along with Tracy Job, took over the second-generation independent grocery from their respective fathers, the eponymous Gary and Leo.
The key to Gary & Leo’s Fresh Foods’ success comes down to one clear task: relationship building. "We view our business as being like a triangle," Laura Malisani explains. "You have to have a strong business that can support its employees and provide competitive and fresh products that your customers want. All three of those things are hugely important to have a successful grocery store."
IGA also honored Eddie Minton, recently retired director of IGA operations for Hickory, N.C.-based MDI, with its 2019 J. Frank Grimes Award. Known throughout the industry for his passion, dedication and unmatched work ethic, Minton has guided the successful development of countless employees and business owners, inspiring a legion of IGA believers in his wake.
The J. Frank Grimes Award, created in honor of IGA’s founder, is presented at the discretion of the IGA chairman to those who are driven to work beyond their own needs and desires to achieve goals benefiting the IGA brand.