Home » New Year Brings Self-Checkout, Online Shopping To Buche Foods

New Year Brings Self-Checkout, Online Shopping To Buche Foods

Buche Foods

Family-owned business serves smaller rural towns of South Dakota

by Mary Margaret Stewart / staff writer


R.F. Buche is the fourth-generation owner of Buche Foods, which was founded in Lake Andes, South Dakota, in 1905 by his great-grandfather, Gus Buche. Today, R.F. Buche owns and operates grocery and convenience stores, a Subway sandwich shop, hardware store and an auto parts business.

He and his wife, Tammi, have four children. It’s their hope that son Gus will one day continue the family’s legacy – not just as the founder’s namesake, but as a fifth-generation grocer.

Reflecting on the family’s history, Buche said the key to success likely has been that they “put our profits back into our people and back into our stores.” And the company has done just that during the pandemic.

“The challenges have been the same stuff that everybody saw on the news, but we had supply shortages. We had allocations on many, many products. It wasn’t just toilet paper and Clorox bleach and Lysol. It was all kinds of different items,” Buche said.

“We would buy our maximum amount allowed and try to ship them around to the other stores that maybe did more volume.

R.F. Buche

“Our employees were scared to come to work and had distanced learning for their kids. So that was a juggling act to try and keep the stores staffed…probably the toughest thing was keeping both our consumers and our team members educated on what wa s going on, almost day to day.”

However, having the South Dakota Retailers Association to lean on while navigating the unchartered waters of a pandemic has been essential.

“They provided a lot of valuable insight…by providing information that was first out and accurate, by being there for us to be able to call with questions about, ‘We heard this was going on,’ or ‘Is this the case with meat?’

“And then with the South Dakota Retailers, we have access to a human resource attorney. Utilizing that was a huge strength for us to be able to ask questions and get concerns taken care of from some of our team members.”

With over a century of business, the company didn’t stop in 2020, nor is it about to now. Buche is eager for what the new year holds, with technology at the forefront.

“We just launched our online shopping, and so we’re really excited for that. It’s been going well,” he said of Buche Foods.

“We are in the process of putting in some self-checkouts, which will be new in our towns because we’re in smaller grocery stores in smaller rural towns. But that will provide another element, we think, to improve the customer’s experience. If there’s people that don’t like to wait in line, or are simply concerned about being contact-free, we’ve got that option for them.”

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