Quincy-based Niemann Foods Inc. (NFI) is building a County Market store in Sherman that will open early next year. The new store will feature a deli, bakery and café and create 50 to 75 full-and part-time jobs.
The Cass County Star Gazette reports that the company bought Save-A-Lot stores in Springfield and Beardstown and an IGA in Petersburg from Kent Family Inc.
The Save-A-Lot stores are located at 412 E. 4th St. in Beardstown and 2520 E Clear Lake Ave. in Springfield. They will continue to be under the Save-A-Lot banner and join a dozen or so that Niemann already operates
The Petersburg IGA, which will be converted to the County Market banner, is located at 500 E. Sangamon Ave.
Owners Craig and Stephanie Kent told The State Journal-Register that they plan to retire. The Kent family owned the Petersburg IGA since 1976, the Beardstown save-A-Lot since 1981 and the Springfield store since 1997, the Journal-Register reports. The Kent family will continue to own the Riverton IGA
The moves bring associate-owned Niemann’s supermarket count above 90 in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. The company also operates Pet Supplies Plus stores and Ace Hardware stores in some of its markets.
Last year, NFI bought the Rantoul IGA and converted it to the County Market banner. A ribbon cutting was held to mark that store’s $1 million-plus renovation on July 22.
The Rantoul Press reports that sales are up and as a result NFI added 10 people to the payroll, bringing the number of employees there to around 120 to 150.
“We have seen an increase in business from day one,” said Rich Niemann, president and CEO, adding that sales have increased “in double digits.”
The store was reworked in County Market’s “traditions” format, one it is using in 30 of its stores. The renovation added a sit-down dining area, expanded the store’s perishables departments and included a new ceiling and flooring. The façade also got an upgrade.
Niemann said employees received additional training, emphasizing customer service. People will see employees “who are very attentive” to customers, Niemann said.
Within a year and a half, Niemann estimated, 30 employees will be part owners of the store with stock that is “gifted” to them. He said that aspect helps employees to more readily buy in to the team concept.