IGA NAMES FIVE-STAR RETAILERS OF THE YEAR

CHICAGO -- Seven retailers -- five in the U.S. and two international -- will receive IGA's 2003 International Retailer of the Year awards during the organization's IGA Global Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., March 9 to 12. Betsy Tooker, Top's IGA Supermarket, Plantsville, Conn. International winners are Bruce Barnes, Friendly IGA Worcester, South Africa, and Fred Harrison, Ritchies IGA Supermarket

CHICAGO -- Seven retailers -- five in the U.S. and two international -- will receive IGA's 2003 International Retailer of the Year awards during the organization's IGA Global Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., March 9 to 12.

Betsy Tooker, Top's IGA Supermarket, Plantsville, Conn. International winners are Bruce Barnes, Friendly IGA Worcester, South Africa, and Fred Harrison, Ritchies IGA Supermarket Dromana, Victoria, Australia. Dr. Thomas Haggai, chairman and chief executive officer of IGA here, calls these five-star retailers who best exemplify IGA Hometown Proud spirit by providing leadership in their communities and within the IGA system through excellence achieved in their own operations.

SN profiles the five U.S. Retailers of the Year. What they all have in common is a love for food retailing and the mind-set that they can compete against anyone out there.

Retailer: Trevor Borowiak, Borowiak's IGA

Age: 35

Years in Business: 12

No. of Years as IGA Retailer: 11

No. of Stores: 9

Square Footage: 18,000 to 35,000

Local Competition: Schnucks, Kroger, Wal-Mart Supercenters

Distinguishing Elements: Service meat departments.

Retailer: Charles Hardegree, Brodhead IGA

Age: 49

Years in Business: 3

No. of Years as an IGA Retailer: 2

No. of Stores: 2

Square Footage: 10,000 and 17,000

Local Competition: Wal-Mart Supercenter, Save-A-Lot

What he likes most about food retailing: "The thing I like most about it is working with customers. I like interacting with the customers in the stores."

Retailer: Dennis Darling, Susanville IGA

Age: 47

Years in Business: 19

No. of Years as IGA Retailer: 6

No. of Stores: Foods Etc. and Susanville Supermarket

Square Footage: 27,000 and 34,000

Local Competition: Safeway and conventional Wal-Mart Stores

Distinguishing Elements: "Our focus and success is based upon our perishables."

What he likes most about food retailing: "The people -- both the customers and our excellent associates. It's wonderful to operate in a small town and to know everybody in that town. I love that lifestyle."

Retailer: Pat Raybould, Russ's Market IGA

Age: 45

Years in Business: 41

No. of Years as IGA Retailer: 41

No. of Stores: 18

Square Footage: 12,500 to 81,000

Local Competition: Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart Supercenters, Albertsons

Distinguishing Elements: Three distinct formats.

Retailer: Betsey Tooker, Tops IGA

Years in Business: More than 30

No. of Years as IGA Retailer: 8

No. of Stores: Tops IGA Supermarket

Square Footage: 15,450

Local Competition: Stop & Shop

Distinguishing elements: "We have people constantly telling us our prices are better."