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Three mainstreet Minnesota retailers recognized as “America’s Retail Champions” by the National Retail Federation


Three mainstreet Minnesota retailers recognized as “America’s Retail Champions” by the National Retail Federation

July 28, 2022 - The Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA) is proud to announce the National Retail Federation (NRF) is honoring three Minnesota retailers as “America’s Retail Champions”. America’s Retail Champions is a program celebrating small retailers who are exceptional champions for retail and the communities they serve.

Only 33 retailers across the U.S. were selected as champions and are being recognized at NRF’s Retail Advocates Summit today.  A recognition dinner follows a day of meetings with Minnesota’s policymakers in Washington, D.C., discussing issues impacting retailers and “The Retail Experience”--an innovative demonstration of the impact of the retail industry.

Minnesota’s America’s Retail Champion Honorees:

Scott Farrell, Down in the Valley, (Golden Valley, Crystal, Maple Grove)

Farrell is the general manager of Down in the Valley, a retailer that has stood the test of time since 1972 and was recognized as Minnesota’s best record store by the Star Tribune in 2021. Farrell is a committed and demonstrated leader in his industry and among his peers, as well as a member of the MnRA Board of Directors. “Scott stepped up and was a leading voice on using state surplus dollars and federal funds to restore Minnesota’s unemployment trust fund to solvency this past year, avoiding a large cost increase on businesses at a critical time in our pandemic recovery,” says MnRA president Bruce Nustad. “In addition, Scott is a thought leader on product regulation and innovation. He and Down in the Valley are worthy of NRF’s America’s Retail Champion recognition.”

Lonnie McQuirter, 36 Lyn Refuel Station, (Minneapolis)

McQuirter is director of operations at 36 Lyn Refuel Station, an independent convenience store where people from all walks of life feel welcome, and many products are locally supplied. McQuirter is a past MnRA Board chair and a strong community supporter. “Lonnie represents everything great about Minnesota’s retail industry,” says Bruce Nustad. “He is one of the first people in a room to share his experiences and perspective that are always grounded in what is best for his customers, his employees, and his community. In addition, Lonnie truly brings people and organizations together making him an amazing advocate and leader, and an excellent choice for America’s Retail Champion.”

Christine Ward, Patina, (Minneapolis, Golden Valley, St. Paul, Woodbury, Eden Prairie, Roseville)

Ward co-owns Patina, a Minnesota retail treasure started in 1993 with an ever-changing array of products to match its vision to escape and inspire. Ward is a great employer with a knack for listening to her employees and customers. “Christine brought her voice forward during a critical pandemic moment to advocate for safe retailing during the most uncertain of times,” says Bruce

Nustad.  “She had a lead voice with elected officials and truly advocated for small businesses. Christine authored a letter that read like a manifesto for safely reopening retail.  That letter informed the conversations around opening retail for curbside and in-store business. Christine and Patina are excellent honorees as America’s Retail Champions.”

Please join us in congratulating Farrell, McQuirter and Ward as America’s Retail Champions honorees.

Learn more:

Minnesota Retailers Association -
National Retail Federation -
America’s Retail Champions -
The Retail Experience –

The Minnesota Retailers Association supports retailers to the benefit of their customers, their communities, their employees, and our state economy. Retail impacts one in five Minnesota jobs.

Savannah Sepic
Minnesota Retailers Association
380 St. Peter Street, Suite 1050, St. Paul, MN 55102 
Tel. (651) 227-6631, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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