BROKEN BOW—As one owner puts it, the Grocery Kart is the “best place in the world to work.” This month the store celebrates its 35th anniversary. Dave Green saw two expansion projects and worked with countless employees and customers during his 28 years as manager of the Grocery Kart in Broken Bow.
The store is located on east Highway 2 and welcomes customers from all walks of life and from all areas of central Nebraska. Dave estimates that 75% of customers travel from rural areas to do their shopping.
“This is an awesome community, I love these people. I love the farmers and ranchers and I love the folks in town too. About 75% of our business is from people who live in the rural area,” Green said.
Green said the primary mission is customer service and he has been delighted with the dedicated employees, many of whom have worked at the store for 20-30 years. Many high school students gain their first work experience by working at the Grocery Kart.
“I’m really proud of the team we’ve got here now. Steve [Fowler] is doing a great job as manager. Laura [Fernau] is our assistant manager, does awesome. And then our whole team working together—that’s what makes it all happen—I love these people and they are just so delightful to work with and have been over the years. So I’m proud of them. And as an owner, it’s important to me that they carry on the mission of providing that personalized awesome customer service that people deserve here and that they listen to their customers and work together as a team. That’s what it’s all about,” Green said.
Roy Yanagida, Steve Stump, and Jerry Snurr–three local business men–opened the Grocery Kart in 1983, before hiring Dave in 1988 as a full partner and store manager. Green began his career in the grocery business in 1967 as a high school student before graduating from Kearney State College.
Dave and his wife Karen moved to Broken Bow with four children. He said they thought the move would be a good opportunity for the family and grew to love the local community.
Throughout the expansion projects such as the deli and the liquor store, Green says the focus continues to be on keeping prices low to better serve customers.
“The focus first of all is on customer service. That’s always been our motive of operation. So, the goal is to provide all these fresh, quality foods to our customers at the best possible price and then treat the customers really well so they come back and shop again…Give them really good service, help them out. Provide them with good service and make them happy,” Green said.
To celebrate this huge milestone, the Grocery Kart is having specials all month long. Manager Steve Fowler has been in the grocery business for 15 years and has been in Broken Bow for a year and a half. He grew up near Arcadia and says it is an honor and privilege to help celebrate this anniversary.
“Being around 35 years in the grocery business is quite a deal and it’s an exciting thing for the community and for our associates. And for me to now be a part of it, I’m just thrilled,” Fowler said.
The Grocery Kart employees understand the importance of the local communities and continue to be involved in organizations and benefits throughout the area. “You can’t expect to receive until you first give,” Green said.
“It takes taking care of the customers, great customer service, a great team to take care of those customers and really that’s the backbone of everything we do to make this successful and then you have to take care of your community as well,” Fowler said.
A Mega Meat sale will take place this week at the Grocery Kart and customers can enter to win gift cards, a vacuum sealer, and free groceries for a year. The winner of a $3,500 gift card will be drawn at the end of March.
“They just have everything I need, the friendly service and everything,” Velma Oatman said as she shopped with her great grandson.
The Grocery Kart continues to serve with a smile and thanks their customers for 35 years of loyalty.
“To be involved in a community-minded business like this is very refreshing and fun and I’m just excited to be here,” Fowler said. “You know grocery business is really about three things. It’s the customers number one. It’s the team, the employees–all of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a store manager, a department manager, a cashier, it doesn’t matter what you do. Every employee plays a vital role into the success–and/or lack there of–of a grocery store.”