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Drees Retires From GF Buche Co. After Nearly 36 Years

Greg Drees
Greg Drees

Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 09:11 am

Gregg Drees has worked for three generations of Buches at South Dakota’s GF Buche Co., starting with Bob Sr., then with Robert and finishing with current president RF Buche (pronounced boo-ee). He has praise for all of them.

“Bob Sr. had an uncharacteristic thirst for knowledge and understanding of computers when most people his age wanted nothing to do with them,” Drees said.

Drees also admired Robert’s ability to network and learned that you treat every customer the same regardless of their station in life. RF has the gift of kindness.

“He drove thru blizzardy weather to be with me when my mother passed away, and he truly cares for each one of his team members,” Drees said.

Drees started in the Mitchell, South Dakota, Buche Foods store in 1981 as the clothing department manager and worked his way up to senior operations manager of GF Buche Co.

One of his favorite memories is the GF Buche Co.’s 100th anniversary, when the company gave away a car at each location. But he also enjoyed watching security footage of a few grocery cart races that happened after one of the stores closed.

He enjoyed time with his teammates at GF Buche Co., but with the good also comes the bad. The worst thing Drees said he ever had to do was fire someone he trusted and cared for because they were stealing.

Drees said he is honored to have worked at GF Buche Co. in part because of how much the company supports the local communities it serves by donating food and volunteering with schools, organizations, churches and individuals.

“We do not believe in blowing our own horn about this. We do it because it is the right thing to do,” Drees said.

One of Drees’ proudest moments was receiving the “Healing the Sacred Hoop” Peace Medal from the Gregory school. Riding in the homecoming parade with his daughter, Kelsey, as the parade grand marshal also is a favorite memory high on his list.

The grocery industry has seen many innovations since Drees started, with barcode scanning and the addition of computers among the biggest changes.

“Trends change very quickly, and it can be challenging to react fast enough to those changes,” Drees said.

When asked about his hopes for the grocery industry, Drees’ hope is “that we never become a society of call in your order and it is delivered. In small-town America, the grocery store is as important as the school and hospital. You lose it, and your town dies.”

Career lessons Drees said he learned while working for GF Buche Co. are also great life lessons: listen and understand before you speak; what seems like a small problem to you is a big problem to the person that brought it to your attention, so treat is as such; treat everyone the way you would treat your best friend; and always be fair and honest.

Drees’ plans for retirement show he has no signs of slowing down. Landscaping, creating a workshop space in his garage for a few hobbies, golfing and motorcycle trips are a few of the things he has planned. His wife, Barb, also has an extensive “honey-do” list that he has been putting off for a while.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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