News: Abbotsford – (New Country Market Ownership- 2018)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Hediger, Kramer,
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 9/12/2018
Hedigers Take Ownership (Abbotsford’s County Market – 27 August 2018)
Hedigers take ownership of Abbotsford’s County Market
Kramer’s County Market of Abbotsford recently became “Abby County Market,” with Dave and Stephanie Hediger as the new owners. Dave, who has worked at the store for the past 11 years, said customers should not expect any big changes with the transition but rather a continued focus on customer service. (Photo by Valerie Brecht/Clark County Press)
By Valerie Brecht
Kramer’s County Market of Abbotsford recently went through a change in ownership, and with that, a name change to “Abby County Market.”
With any ownership change, there is inevitably a period of transition that can be challenging for a business and its customers.
However, Dave and Stephanie Hediger, who officially became the store’s owners on Aug. 27, seem to be taking the transition in stride. They say their goal is to not make any drastic changes, but rather to keep a good thing going as they continue to provide service to the community.
“We … wanted it to just be a seamless transition,” Stephanie said.
One thing that made the transition easier is Dave’s familiarity with working in a grocery store, having spent a combined 25 years in the business. He grew up in Neillsville and worked at what used to Bob and Carol’s IGA Food Center. He then worked at Copps Food Center in Stevens Point before starting at Kramer’s in June 2007.
Stephanie also has experience in retail, having worked at Menard’s for several years.
Dave and Stephanie and their children have lived in Colby for the past 10 years, with Stephanie working at the store for the past year and a-half.
In 2013, Dave sat down with Dennis Kramer, former owner of the County Market, and they arranged a contract to transition ownership in five years.
Abby County Market has a history of being a family-run business. Howard and Vivian Kramer were the first owners of the grocery store. Eventually they transferred ownership to Howard’s son, Dennis, and his wife Beverly. The Kramer family owned the store for 55 years.
“They did a phenomenal job,” said Dave.
“Quite a legacy there,” added Stephanie.
“Yes, it’s a major legacy. They remodeled I think four to five times, they went through a fire, I mean they built this place from scratch up,” Dave continued.
The Hedigers plan to build on the solid foundation laid by the previous storeowners.
“Our goal is not to change anything, pretty much. I mean, it’s the basics; we’re going to keep the basics going. There’s some things we have to adapt to, but it’s nothing that’s gonna be really, really noticeable yet,” said Dave.
“[Our goal] is to keep up customer service the most,” Dave explained. “We have to change up a little bit the IT, which is the registers – we have to get new registers and all that. But as is, the store is pretty much set.
“I mean we walked into a really, really well-established business, from the get-go, from 2007 on. My goal is to continue servicing the community and just give back.”
Dave said a big strength of the store is its employees. No employees were lost through the ownership transition and the store has been fortunate to have minimal employee turnover, Dave expressed.
“We have hardly any turnover. We have managers that have been with us for at least five years or more.”
Abby County Market employs about 95 people, with 55 to 60 percent working full time. The majority of the employees are from Abby and Colby, said Dave, although there are some from as far away as Marshfield or Edgar.
“We have really good, loyal employees and our customers are very loyal to us,” Dave emphasized.
Along with providing employment for people in the surrounding area, the store has a wide customer base, which Stephanie said they are hoping to expand.
The store draws customers from roughly a 20 to 30-mile radius. Along with servicing the immediate community in Abbotsford, Colby and Unity, County Market services people from Loyal, Stetsonville, Greenwood, Dorchester, Athens, Edgar, Stratford, Owen, Withee and Curtiss, Dave and Stephanie said.
“We draw from a lot of communities,” Dave said.
Going forward, the grocery store will continue to provide specialty services for customers, such as floral delivery and catering through the deli.
Dave also mentioned that the store is able to special order items for customers.
Dave and Stephanie ae looking forward to having ownership in what they see as a fulfilling job.
“That’s one big point that we will always stress: love your job,” said Dave.
“Yeah, enjoy your work, have fun, work hard,” Stephanie added.
The two expressed their appreciation to those who have supported them thus far.
“Number one, … we are grateful to the Kramer family. We are very grateful to the community and the customers, and we are very excited to serve the community and the areas surrounding us,” Stephanie said.
Dave extended appreciation to his parents Fritz and Dixie Hediger of Neillsville as well.
Dave and Stephanie Hediger are the new owners of Abby County Market. The two pose for a photo in front of the store with their daughters Lanie (left) and Abbie. (Photo by Valerie Brecht/Clark County Press)
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