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Michigan Grocers Honor Annual Achievements

The Michigan Grocers Association (MGA) has honored Alpena’s Hal Neiman of Neiman’s Family Markets and Country Fresh Dairy of Grand Rapids with its Al Kessel Outstanding Achievement Awards for 2014.

The 2014 Outstanding Retailer, Hal Neiman, founded Neiman’s Family Markets, along with his wife Jean, in 1983. This year the company marks 31 years as a growing, successful family business. In July 2013, Neiman's opened a fourth store in Clarkston, adding approximately 140 jobs to the area. Neiman’s also has stores in Alpena, Tawas, and St. Clair, employing more than 440.

Neiman was nominated by SpartanNash’s Tom Rubel, who describes the grocer as “very hard-working, having exceptional care and concern for his employees, dedicated to his family, constantly involved in local communities, plus he encourages all store directors to join their local chambers, and he is passionate about the food industry.”

In early 2014, Neiman’s completed its Community Growth Fundraising Initiative held in celebration of the company’s 30th anniversary in 2013. Donations to numerous nonprofit organizations totaled $23,500. In 2013, Michigan's governor appointed Neiman to serve on the Michigan Beef Industry Commission; he has also been honored with the Outstanding Citizen Award in Alpena.

“A tireless advocate for the business community, Hal is a veteran supporter of Michigan Grocers Association,” said MGA President and CEO Linda Gobler. Neiman served as board chairman and his son, Bryan, is currently a director. Neiman has also served on the customer advisory board of SpartanNash for the past 10 years.

Partnering with Grocers

MGA's 2014 Outstanding Business Partner is Country Fresh Dairy, nominated by MGA member retailers Dave Duthler (Duthler’s Family Foods), Gary Gerlach (Orchard Markets) and Jim Nader (Plumb’s), for its long history of success in Michigan, independent roots and strong support of retailers and the environment. Founded by a group of independent retailers in 1949, headed up by longtime grocer L.V. Eberhard, today, Country Fresh is part of Dean Foods, employing more than 500 people in three production plants. Country Fresh works in partnership with over 200 dairies across Michigan.

“The company has invested much time, money, and additional resources to strengthen security, traceability and sanitation," Gobler noted. “Those are things you’d like to take for granted in products, but you really can’t." Country Fresh received the CET Platinum Award from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration for an outstanding safety and health record. It has also been recognized for achievements in environmental protection and industry-leading product quality standards.

MGA created these awards last year to honor the memory of former MGA board member Al Kessel, who died in December 2012. Kessel was the founder of Kessel Food Markets, which served the Michigan communities of Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Corunna from 1981 to 2000. Nominations were reviewed and winners were selected by a 12-member MGA committee.

The awards will be presented at the MGA Fall Conference on Sept. 14 at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City. 

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