A crew of about 20 employees from Wadena, Crosby, Walker and Baxter Super One Foods stores were busily unloading and stocking thousands of items this week in preparation for the exciting opening of a new grocery store in Wadena.
Inventory at Wadena's current Super One grocery store is rapidly shrinking, while it's swiftly increasing at another as the business looks to have a store close and open in the coming days.
Super One announced recently the closure of the current location off Ironwood Ave, near Fleet Supply, April 27, and the opening of the new location between Aldrich and Bryant avenues south of Hwy 10 is set for May 1.
The change means the company owners Miner's Inc. will no longer be renting the old building, they will own the new building. Store manager Jim Walz looked at that purchase and investment in a total overhaul of the old building as a major positive for employees and customers. It shows a commitment to Wadena, Walz said.
"We are blessed that Miner's committed to invest in the community and the employees," Walz said. Miner's Inc. is a family owned and operated business with stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and throughout the upper Peninsula of Michigan including the Super One store in Wadena.
He felt having ownership of the building and having an upgraded building set the business up for a great future. The efficiency of the new building could be measured not only in customer ease of getting what they need quickly, it is also a much more energy efficient building, Walz said.
"It's going to be so much easier for customers to get what they want and get on their way," Walz said.
The footprint of the new store is noticeably smaller, and while that means less square footage to work with, the newer displays show off merchandise more efficiently.
"Even though we'll be moving to a smaller footprint, the customer will still be delivered what they expect," Store Director Patrick Miner said.
Miner, one of the owners of the family business, said the current merchandise is not going away-apart from the full deli.
The loss of the deli is one area that area residents have gasped at. While the deli in the former grocery store was a prized service, customers will not see all the same options in the new location. Some cold tray deli options will be available at this location coming from the Baxter Super One store.
"As retailers, we really don't want to take an offering away from the customer," Miner said. But the decision was made, nonetheless.
Miner said the difficult decision to not include a deli was partially to do with the smaller building. He said what the new store does offer are amenities that he feels customers will appreciate.
He spoke about the excitement he had heard about returning to this location. Creating an entirely new store out of the vacant building has stirred up a lot of excitement from the community, as well. Miner said the decision to make the move back was driven by changes in the marketplace.
"The market was a challenge and as soon as Walmart came to town it created a really challenging marketplace," Miner said.
The family knew that the business had success in the old location and saw this spot as a convenience to the customer.
What may be of some inconvenience are the three days between the closing and opening of the two stores and the somewhat limited supply of grocery items currently on display as the store makes the move. Miner apologized to customers for that disruption and he noted that a great deal has to be done in that short window to be prepared, including the move of equipment like the checkouts from one store to another and everything else that makes a grocery store tick. He said a large staff has been hard at work to have everything right for opening day. Speaking of staff, Miner said, you'll see virtually all the same staff as the previous location.
Miner and Walz each shared an excitement about the opening of the new location.
"We're thrilled and excited to provide a brand new offering," Miner said.
Just a few exterior items have yet to be checked off the list. Miner said that work should cause minimal disruption.
While the business gets comfortable in the new location, a grand opening is in the planning stages, possibly in June, Miner said.