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Lee’s Marketplace Offers Shoppers Fun Experience

Lee's Marketplace

Lee’s Marketplace, headquartered in Logan, Utah, believes that grocery shopping should be a fun and enjoyable experience. In fact, that is the first line of the company’s mission statement.

Jonathan Badger, president and CEO, said they try to live by that through the experience offered in their stores. “Knowing that it’s kind of a chore sometimes to go to the store and bring the kids, we try and make it a good, fun experience.”

Lee's Marketplace

He added that offering signature items helps make the Lee’s Marketplace experience special. 

“We have several of those items that we’ve created, from our own salsas to special popcorn,” he said. “We have a whole popcorn department now where we can make popcorn for the schools in different colors, for weddings; we can do all sorts of things to help with the confectionary part of life that keeps people happy.”

Badger has been in the grocery business his entire life. The company was founded in 1981 by his parents, Lee and Shari Badger, who bought a small grocery store in Smithfield. In 1994, they built a larger store across from the original location. Since then, the company has expanded in the Cache Valley area of northern Utah and now has seven stores. Groundbreaking for an eighth store was held in October in Mountain Green.  

Additional stores may be in the company’s future.

“Utah is one of the fastest growing states in the union right now. We are always looking for opportunities to grow our company,” Badger said. “We’ve got great people in leadership roles, and we’re trying to develop from within.”

According to Badger, one of the greatest challenges the company faces is competition with big box stores. Giving customers a “better offering and better experience” is one way of setting Lee’s apart.

Labor also continues to be tight. Badger said it’s “challenging just to get people to work and hopefully have them trained up and serving our guests.” And then there’s supply chain, an issue all independents face “because we’re not the big guys.”

Lee's Marketplace

Lee’s Marketplace feels strongly about giving back to its communities. “Our community-centered efforts are core to who we are and what we do,” Badger said. The company helps its local food bank each year, especially around the holidays but also through weekly product donations.

Lee’s supports several other local organizations, from family services to schools as well. It also hosts an annual Easter egg hunt, along with an in-store haunted house and trick or treating for Halloween.

One program that is close to Badger’s heart is the Lee’s Cares Foundation. It was created in 2015 in memory of his father, who succumbed to ALS in 2009. The foundation’s primary purpose is to help find a cure for ALS, along with assisting families with the physical, emotional and financial burdens they face when struggling with this diagnosis.

Badger said the annual golf and charity event the company hosts has “raised upwards of between $130,000, $140,000 each year. We’ve donated almost a million dollars to research so far.”

Badger said the foundation helps families battling ALS through purchasing wheelchairs or a last vacation. “That’s been a big focus for us, to help them with whatever they need to feel comfortable as they go through this. Unfortunately, it’s still a terminal disease. We’re still trying to find a cure, but we’ll do everything we can to help them be comfortable and happy.”

When asked what he enjoys most about being an independent grocer, Badger said it is the people. “The teams we have, the people that come into the store, the communities that we support. It’s serving them and hoping they have a good experience…we want to help their families.”

Read more market profiles from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Treva Bennett

Senior Content Creator

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

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