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Market Profile Midwest

Krause’s Market Prides Itself On Variety For Shoppers

Krause's Markets

Kari Olson and her, brother Dalles Jr., who operate Krause’s Market, know a thing or two about running a grocery store in a rural area. 

Kari Olson, Krause's Markets
Kari Olson

In one form or another, Olson and her family have been in the retail food business in North Dakota since World War II. The family’s first store opened 80 years ago in the farming and ranching community of Carson, North Dakota, population 600.

Krause’s Market’s store count has grown to three – in Garrison, Hazen and Washburn – and many of the tenets on which the store was founded remain true. 

The markets range in size from 12,000 to 30,000 square feet. What is unique about two of the locations is that they surround the “big lake” in North Dakota. Lake Sakakawea is known for its fishing and recreation, attracting visitors and locals alike. 

Hazen is on the south side of the lake and Garrison is on the north. The Washburn store is on the Missouri River.

“Washburn is a beautiful area known for great hunting, as well,” said Olson, adding that agriculture and power plants are the main sources of income for area residents.  

While Krause’s Market sees its share of visitors, particularly during the summer months, they primarily cater to the locals which range from young families to senior citizens. They remain the only grocery store in the area that still offers a print advertising circular. 

Krause's Markets

“Our customers still like to see an ad to plan their weekly menu and make their grocery list,” Olson said.

Limited shopping options

As is typical in many rural areas, the number of other grocery stores in the area is limited and residents tend to lean on a combination of sources near and far. In some states, this might mean regional stores are used as fill-in options, but not so in Krause’s communities.

“We have a good shopper base and close relationship with our customers,” Olson said. “If they want or need an item, they will check with us to see if we are able to get it before going elsewhere. We pride ourselves on willingness to go the extra mile and our variety.” 

In addition to Krause’s Market, shoppers sometimes go to dollar-type stores or head to Bismarck, the state’s capital, which is anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes from their stores. “People end up going to Bismarck for errands and appointments, so it is easy to do a big box stop while they are there,” she said.

Standing out

Krause’s has developed a reputation for its special offerings, namely meat. The Hazen location makes sausage in Krause’s Smokehouse. 

“We currently make varieties of country style, summer and are known for our old-fashioned sausage, the kind like your grandparents used to make,” Olson said.

Much effort has been made to provide the type of grocery store the community deserves. 

“In addition to our sausage, what brings customers to our stores are our perishable departments, friendly staff and store conditions,” Olson said. “We work with our staff to ensure they are taking care of our customers, that they have the products our customers want and that their focus is on offering quality products.”

To ensure departments such as produce have the freshest products possible, trucks make deliveries five times a week. Olson’s brother works with their meat suppliers to find the best deals. “We are in the Midwest, meat is still center of the plate,” she said. 

During summer, the meat departments feature an expanded assortment of grill- ready items. 

“Our Garrison store in particular sees a boost this time of year from campground traffic and people heading to their cabins,” Olson said.

All three locations have in-store bakeries. The Hazen and Garrison locations, Olson added, still fry doughnuts every day, which she said is becoming a lost art, in part due to labor shortages. 

Each store also features a deli with grab-and-go prepared foods and a hot lunch Monday through Friday. “Of course, fried chicken is a staple,” she added.

Other than their size, Olson said the three stores are alike. “We run the same ad for all three banners – so the variety might be a bit less in Washburn, but all three offer all the same services,” she added.

Krause's Markets

In 2021, Krause’s Market began offering ShopHero, an online shopping option as well.

Attracting good help

The success of Krause’s Market wouldn’t be possible without their staff, Olson noted. The stores employ about 105 people. “We have been blessed with caring store managers. They really go beyond for our stores, their staff and our customers,” she said. 

At the same time, Olson pointed out that maintaining this level of service in a rural area can be challenging, due to lack of help. 

“Everywhere you go, there are ‘help wanted’ signs in our area. Every retailer is facing the same issue, which is how to find good help,” she said.

Olson said Krause’s promotes its flexibility as a big benefit. “We try to work with our staff to give them the time off they need. Our staff is great at working together and covering for each other.”

In 2020, the company began offering a 401(k) plan. “We realize it is important for our staff to prepare for their future, as well,” Olson said. 

Expansion is not out of the question, but Olson said some limitations exist. “From time to time, we discuss the future and if we should expand. However, one of the biggest issues we face is locational challenges. From a logistics perspective, keeping our stores within a 50-mile radius of each other is key.”

Read more market profiles from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Carol Radice

Senior Content Creator

Carol joins The Shelby Report with more than 25 years writing for B2B magazines that cover the drugstore and supermarket industries. A Rutgers graduate, she earned her B.A. degree in journalism and mass communications more years ago than she cares to admit. She is thrilled to be working with such an accomplished team and to share her knowledge of the industry with Shelby’s readers.

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