Leppinks Food Centers is a fourth-generation, family-operated company headquartered in Belding, Michigan. The seven Leppink stores are owned and run by John Leppink, his brother-in-law, Rich Cole, and John’s cousin, Ransom Leppink.
John Leppink, the majority owner, has four of the Leppinks locations but also six Save A Lot Food Stores and a True Value hardware store. Cole owns one Leppinks store and Ransom the other two.
The company began in 1928 when John and Ransom’s grandfather, John Leppink, opened a meat market in Belding after immigrating from the Netherlands, according to Arianna Meinke, marketing manager. Meinke, her two brothers and their cousin represent the fourth generation of the family business.
Leppinks has since expanded beyond Belding into nearby Ferrysburg, Howard City, Lakeview, Newaygo and Stanton. A store in Dorr debuted in September. “Rather than create a cookie-cutter approach to business, each store is different by design so it can be a true neighborhood market,” Meinke explained.
Like so many other retailers, the family weathered the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic was a struggle in terms of securing products, while at the same time trying to hold onto employees,” said Robert Leppink, center store director. “We at Leppinks took the all-hands-on-deck approach and filled in and helped wherever and whenever needed.
“The supply chain has yet to recover from the pandemic. We are still seeing poor fill rates in major departments like grocery and frozen that fall below 50 percent. We were fortunate to have a curbside Groceries to Go program already implemented prior to the pandemic and saw major increases in usage on that program and have retained that business.”
Leppinks continues to support its staff and its local communities.
“Our team members are all part of the Leppink family,” Meinke said. “We send birthday cards to all associates, graduation gifts for high school seniors, service awards for those who have been employed for major milestones…and we send flowers when one of our associates loses a loved one.
“We donate to the local school’s sports and organizations, whether it be a sponsorship or donating bottles of water.”
The Newaygo and Belding locations are the title sponsors for the Gus Macker three-on-three basketball tournaments. In addition, Newaygo takes part in a “Turkey Ticket” event around Thanksgiving.
“We partner with the local police departments and donate turkeys…our team rides along with the officers as they pull over people in the community and instead of giving them a ticket, give them a turkey,” Meinke said. “During November and December, we do a holiday dinner donation program at all our store locations.” Last year, the effort resulted in over 2,500 dinners to families in need.
Within the stores, the company continues to make improvements. Recently, the Belding and Lakeview stores installed self-checkout stations. The recent acquisition of the Dorr site reintroduced residents to a brand with which they were familiar.
“The store location was another SpartanNash independent, Dick’s Market, which sold to [us],” Meinke said. “The Dorr community has been very inviting and it has been fun to get to know a new community.
“When it was Dick’s Market, they were well known for their famous bratwurst with their in-store sausage shop. We learned the famous recipes from the previous owner and kept Dick’s Sausage Shop as a brand. Since September, we have brought [it] to three of our other locations and it has been a huge hit.”
For more information, visit leppinksfoodcenters.com.