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Longtime Duluth grocer Miner dies

Jim Miner Sr., who began working in the grocery business when he was 10 years old and was involved in the growth of Miner's Inc., owner of Super One Foods, from one store to 29 in four states, died Sunday. He was 77.

Miner's Vice President of Operations Robert Halvorson said the family will release a statement on Miner's death later today.

Miner's Inc. has its roots in the 1943 opening of a small tavern in Grand Rapids by Miner's parents, Tony and Ida. Tony Miner later added a milk cooler and bread to the items he sold, later building the family's first store, Miner's Market.

In 1954, the family's store was renamed Piggly Wiggly. Several more stores followed by 1975, when Tony and Ida retired and Jim Miner became president of the company. The next year he opened the company's first warehouse-style grocery stores in Cloquet.

In 1977, the store was renamed Super One Foods -- the company's first. Hermantown-based Miner's owns 25 Super Ones, three U-Saves and Woodland Marketplace Foods. It is one of the state's largest privately held supermarket owners.

Always looking to expand, Miner's made an unsuccessful bid to acquire Twin Cities-area Rainbow Foods in 2003. In 2006, Miner's bought seven Jubilee and Festival Foods stores, including five in the Twin Ports, increasing the company's dominance of the Twin Ports retail grocery market.

Several of Miner's children and grandchildren followed him into the business. His son, Mike, 46, who was a vice president and the face of the family-owned business, died of a heart attack in 2004. A grandson, Scott Miner, 22, died in 2009.