Jim Hoiness, president and co-owner of the Harmony, Preston and Rushford IGA stores, was honored by the Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA) with its 2013 Outstanding Grocer Award. This award is presented annually to a grocer who has successfully developed a company and is respected by industry peers. Additionally, the recipient must demonstrate contributions to the industry in the areas of government affairs, community service and involvement in the MGA.

The award was presented on July 28 at the MGA Annual Conference in Brainerd, which was attended by over 400 of Hoiness' peers.

For over 40 years, Hoiness has been a grocery retailer and leader within the community. He began work in the industry at JCPennys in Winona in the early 1970s and quickly became manager of Rushford IGA in 1973. After many years as a partner, he purchased the company in 1997. Rush Foods, Inc., began in 1969 with Rushford IGA, followed by Harmony IGA in 1975, and Preston IGA in 1999.

In 2007, a flash flood left up to four feet of water in almost every business in Rushford, including Rushford IGA. Hoiness was key to the recovery of the business community and provided hope for local residents to rebuild with his resolve and determination to open the store. He epitomizes the definition of a hometown grocer - a true champion for his community.

Hoiness has a vision for the industry and has been an exceptional supporter of the Minnesota Grocers Association and his hometown organizations. He sits on various boards, including Ace Communications, Rushford State Bank, Community Economic Development Associates, Grace Place and First Presbyterian Church.

Hoiness has an entrepreneurial sprit and a positive attitude that exemplifies what it means to be a grocer. He leads by example, demands just as much out of himself as he does of others, and is respected by his peers. All of these traits and accomplishments exemplify why Hoiness is the 2013 MGA Outstanding Grocer.

Hoiness and his wife, Gayle, live in Rushford. The couple has four sons and nine grandchildren.