Weather Forecast


Hometown grocer: Changing of the guard

After taking over the south Main Street grocery store in 1987, Dick and Carol Rinehart have decided to step down as owners of Dick's Fresh Market (shown in right-hand corner) and Dick's Hometown Liquor (shown in left-hand corner). The new owners, the Rineharts' children, include, from left: Brian and Lisa Weiss, Dick's Fresh Market; Doug Rinehart, Dick's Fresh Market; Carol and Dick Rinehart; and Michelle Rinehart and Kurt Lake, Dick's Hometown Liquor. <i>Jillian Dexheimer photo</i>

After 31 years of ownership, Dick and Carol Rinehart, proprietors of Dick's Fresh Market, 1121 S Main St., and Dick's Hometown Liquor, 1141 S Main St., say "it's time" to move on.

The Rineharts' children Doug (son) and Katie Rinehart, and Brian and Lisa (daughter) Weiss, will take over Dick's Fresh Market. Michelle Rinehart (daughter) and her husband Kurt Lake will take over Dick's Hometown Liquor.

The ownership transition occurs after three years of planning, thinking, looking, and talking.

"When you build something for 31 years...sometimes letting go is hard to do, but we are comfortable with the succession," said Dick.

With the current tax laws, ramifications of small business transfer, and after 31 years, the family felt it was time to restructure.

"It's been a wonderful trip, we've enjoyed the ups and downs -- the ups more than the downs," said Dick Rinehart of owning multiple grocery stores and a liquor store.

He added: "We have always appreciated the community support and tried to show appreciation. We've had a wonderful 31 years and the roots are deep."

Into capable hands

The venture into grocery store ownership started when son, Doug, worked part-time at Dale's IGA in 1981. By 1982, Dick had bought into the store.

In 1987, the Rineharts bought the store outright and in fall 2012, they celebrated 30 years of ownership.

Since starting in 1981, Doug has worked his way up the grocery ladder. He said he's worked nights and weekends as a grocery bagger, stock clerk, night manager, department head, management and then owner in 1997, when he took over the Amery grocery store and in 2009 at the Osceola store.

Sister Lisa started working in the family business in 1990, where she worked as a cashier. She has also done work in the front end of the store, office work, the pricing department and the receiving area.

Lisa's husband, Brian, has worked at Dick's Fresh Market for 21 years. Of those years, 18 have been as part of the management team.

After working at the liquor store from 1993-96, when it was at a different location, the Rinehart's daughter, Michelle, sought employment outside the family business. In 1999, she came back to run the liquor store.

In 2005, she came over to the grocery store and worked the front office. She was also responsible for human resources and financial work for the parent company which owns multiple grocery stores and the liquor store.

She said about learning the different jobs within the grocery and liquor stores, it's "...easier to tell people what to do when you have done their job."

After getting married, Michelle's husband, Kurt joined Dick's Fresh Market in 2006. Kurt said he has done jobs including: maintenance, grocery bagger, stocking, ordering groceries, grocery manager, and night/weekend manager.

Stores remain unchanged

According to the new owners, "Everything will stay the same." Doug said that as far as the customers see, nothing is going to change.

Dick added, the "...transition will be seamless."

One question that's come up since news of the transition has trickled out is the fate of the gas coupons. Customers need not worry -- Doug, Lisa and Michelle -- all confirm that gas coupons will still be offered.

Doug says that the new owners plan to follow the long-time mission statement -- "Clean, neat, fresh and friendly."

Doug said they plan on offering "...a warm and fuzzy conventional grocery store that specializes in customer service."

Dicks feels that his children and their spouses will " nothing but improve on the store."

Doug added about Dick's Fresh Market and Dick's Hometown Liquor: "We are a one-stop shop and hometown proud."

See the complete version of the story in the May 2 edition of the Journal.

Jillian Dexheimer
Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
(715) 426-1046