Michigan Independent Busch’s Receives 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award
The Grocers Division of the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) has honored Busch’s Fresh Food Market and wholesaler H.T. Hackney with the 2019 Al Kessel Outstanding Achievement Award. The award presentation took place during the opening night of the annual Food Retailers Summit on Sept. 25 at Crystal Mountain resort, in Thompsonville.
Introduced in 2013, the honor is named after former Michigan Grocers Association Director Albert “Al” Kessel, Jr., founder of the Flint-based Kessel Food Market chain. One Outstanding Retailer and one Outstanding Business Partner receive the award annually.
An Award Winner
With 16 family-owned, independent locations throughout southeast Michigan, Ann Arbor-based Busch’s Fresh Food Market, the 2019 Outstanding Retailer, offers fresh produce, meat, seafood and bakery items, as well as more than 4,000 Michigan-sourced products. The business began in 1975 with the purchase of two stores in Clinton and Saline by Joe Busch and his business partner, Charlie Mattis. When Joe retired in 1986, sons Doug, John and Tim took over as co-owners, acquiring and building more stores. Two of John’s children also work in the business. Gary Pfeil is president and CEO of Busch’s, which employs about 1,560 associates.
The business has been a dedicated member of the Michigan Grocers Association since 1978. In addition, Busch’s gives back to the communities it serves by supporting charitable organizations and schools.
The 2019 Outstanding Business Partner, Knoxville, Tenn.-based H.T. Hackney Co., is one of the largest wholesale distributors in the United States, serving more than 25,000 retail locations from a 22 state-distribution network. Grand Rapids is home to one of its largest distribution centers. The company expanded into Michigan in 2003, and currently serves about 2,000 customers and employs about 250 people in the state. Nationwide, the company employs about 4,000 people.
Bill Samson is Hackney’s chairman and CEO, while in Michigan, Regional VP Bill Hillman is general manager of the Grand Rapids division. The company joined Michigan Grocers in 2007. Hackney’s Grand Rapids division aids the local community in many ways, among them holding a charity golf outing, helping to provide an annual Thanksgiving dinner for homeless and disadvantaged individuals, and hosting an adopt-a-family Christmas charity and a local school career day.
“Both Busch’s Fresh Food Market and H.T. Hackney make significant contributions to Michigan’s grocery industry,” noted MRA President and CEO William J. Hallan. “They have earned the respect and admiration of colleagues and customers throughout the state and beyond. These awards are well-deserved recognition.”
Michigan Grocers is a division of MRA, based in Lansing. MRA members range from small stores to large national and international chains, with almost 5,000 member businesses that own and operate more than 15,000 stores and websites across the state.