Buyers Panel 2019

Best Practices for Working with Buyers


Exhibit Hall

The buyers panel provides a view into the challenges faced by a range of local food buyers, from restaurants to grocery stores and distributors. Understanding these challenges is crucial for food entrepreneurs to develop relationships with these industry partners and grow their markets. 


Jason Robinson, moderator

Agricultural Utilization Research Initiative



Murlyn Kreklau

Murlyn has 45 years of grocery store experience, working with Mason Brothers Wholesale Grocers in various aspects relating to food distribution, most often as sales manager, working on profitability, and any issues facing small town retailers. His insights into the grocery wholesale business are uniquely geared towards small town and independent groceries and encompass changes and evolution in the grocery industry. Murlyn collaborates with the U of M Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships as part of the Support our Stores effort to maintain grocery stores throughout the state of Minnesota and other rural areas.



Brian Kummrow 

Lakewinds Food Co-op, Chanhassen / Minnetonka / Richfield, Minnesota

Brian earned a Bachelor of Science in Business from MSU, Mankato in 2000. He has been working at Lakewinds Food Co-op in various roles since 2005, currently managing the product assortment for the Frozen and Packaged Grocery departments for the co-op's three retail locations.




Kurt Nyguard

1910 Grille, Mason City, Iowa

Kurt opened the 1910 Grille in 2012, located in the Historic Park Inn hotel in Mason City, IA, the "last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built hotel in the world."

1910 Grille has been an integral part of the local food scene of North Iowa and South Central Minnesota since its opening. They partner with several local producers and showcase them across the menu and beverage menu. 1910 Grille is consistently rated among the top restaurants in the state across numerous review platforms and websites. Kurt was among the first individuals to earn a bachelor's degree in Culinary Arts in Minnesota. He has worked with Wolfgang Puck and Grandma's Restaurant Company in Duluth, MN prior to 1910 Grille. Kurt has been featured in Iowa Ingredient on IPTV and has received the People's Choice Award for Best Pork Dish in 2017 at the Iowa Pork Producers Association.




Katie Ruff

By the Spoonful, McGregor, Iowa

Katie Ruff opened By the Spoonful in McGregor, Iowa in May of 2013 after seven years working for a large Midwest supermarket chain. BTS offers a large selection of  meats from Edgewood Locker, local wines, and take & bake meals made in-house. After 5 years they started offering cooking classes on site, a full service espresso bar with a full menu.


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