Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame
For Keith Johanneson, putting in hours as a clerk in his neighborhood grocery store in Fargo, N.D., was only natural; it was his family’s livelihood. But the experience he gained in those early years also proved to be valuable training for his career heading up that business which today employs more than 1,800 people and operates more than two dozen businesses including supermarkets, convenience stores/gas stations and real estate development entitites in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. In 2013, Johanneson’s Inc., headquartered in Bemidji, MN, celebrated 73 years in service since its founding by Keith’s parents, Thelma and John Johanneson.
Following college at Bemidji State University, the University of Minnesota and Oxford University, Johanneson, of Icelandic heritage, worked as a market research analyst for SuperValu, Inc., based in Minneapolis/St. Paul. In addition, he started his own beer distribution company in his native Bemidji town. Shortly thereafter, Keith replaced his father as president of Johanneson’s, Inc., the position he holds today.
Johanneson has a deep commitment to bettering the communitites his retailers are a part of, and because of it he has been honored by his peers with awards including the Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Excellence Award presented by Kraft Foods, and the Spirit of America Award, the industry’s highest recognition for exceptional commitment to and investment in community by corporations and their employees. He has served on numerous industry councils and continues to sit on several boards including Security Bank USA, Concordia Languages Villages, Minnesota Grocers Association, and Bemidji Industrial Development Corporation. He is the founding president of Bemidji Joint Economic Development Corporation.
Johanneson and his wife, Maria, live in Bemidji and have four grown children and six grandchildren.