Wagner’s IGA, an independently owned grocery store founded in 1922 and located in Minster, Ohio, celebrates its centennial this year, as well as new ownership.
"We're continuing to see more IGA retailers reach their 100th anniversary,” IGA CEO John Ross said in a statement. “And Wagner's IGA is another prime example of a small business who has established trust and loyalty with its community. The Wagner family has created a remarkable legacy in these towns and now Leo Braido will be propelling it forward.”
Former owner Wally Wagner, Jr. will be retiring soon, with new owner Leo Braido taking over operations for the Minster store, as well as two other IGAs previously owned by Wagner—all three locations will remain branded IGA, the grocer said in a statement Thursday.
Wagner, Jr. sold his three Wagner’s IGA locations to Braido, a long-time grocer with over three decades of experience and former owner of Oberlin IGA in 2021. Wagner, Jr. is currently serving in a part-time role as he transitions out of the day-to-day operations in the coming weeks.
The grocery store has been in the Wagner family since its first store at 91 W. Fourth St. in Minister when Wagner, Jr.’s grandfather, A.J. Wagner, opened the store for business.
In 1946, Wally Wagner, Sr. (A.J.’s son) came home from the armed services and joined his father in the growing business. The Minster store relocated and expanded before moving to its current location at 257 E. Fourth St. in 1979.
In 1997, Wally Wagner, Jr. became the third-generation owner and was the last family owner of the store. He added stores in Fort Loramie and New Bremen in 2003 and 2013, respectively. Wagner’s IGA has been a member of the Independent Grocers Alliance since 1954.
Although Wagner, Jr. would have liked for one of his children to take over the business, they chose different career paths, the grocer said.
“Thinking about all the accomplishments that we’ve had throughout the 100 years is pretty amazing,” Wagner, Jr. said in a statement. “And I think that’s why we kept on moving forward. Our basic principles of customer service and quality products has been the key to our success.”
Braido is excited to bring new enhancements to the store, which includes a 50% larger beer department and some upgrades to the deli department.
“It’s really a tribute to Wally and the great job he and his family have done over the years,” Braido said in a statement regarding the 100th anniversary milestone. “My goal is to build upon the great foundation that is here and further grow the business and continue to give back to the great communities the stores are located in. I was blessed to have my very first job become my career. While the grocery business is more challenging today than ever before, it’s still a joy to be a part of such a great industry. Whether it’s a good day or a bad day, at the end of the day I am nothing but thankful for my family and to work in an industry I love every day.”
For the 100th anniversary celebration, the grocer held an anniversary sale for two weeks for its shoppers, which featured prize giveaways and other celebratory events.
IGA is the largest group of independent grocery retailers in the world.