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Longtime family grocery in Spicer, Minn., to operate under new ownership

Mitchell Wiedeman , right, rings up groceries Wednesday for Sondra Anderson, a longtime customer at Jahnke Foods in Spicer. The store is being sold next week to Teal’s Market. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange1 / 2
Darryl Jahnke, who has managed Jahnke Foods in Spicer since 1983, said this week he is selling the family-owned business to Teal’s Market. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange2 / 2

SPICER — Monday will be the last day that Jahnke Foods will operate under that name at the Green Lake Mall in Spicer.

The store will be closed on Tuesday, and will reopen Wednesday under new ownership and with a new name — Teal’s Market.

Jahnke’s owner Darryl Jahnke, general manager of the family-owned business since 1983, confirmed this week that he is selling the grocery store to Teal’s Market.

Teal’s is another family-owned business with a 70-year history that will now own and operate 10 grocery stores: seven in Minnesota — including Paynesville and Cold Spring, two in North Dakota and one in South Dakota.  

The Spicer location “fits our niche well,” said Andrea Teal, general manager of Teal’s, which was started by her great-grandparents in 1942 in Cass Lake.

She said the Jahnke family “built a good business” with long-term employees and positive customer service that Teal’s intends to continue and build on.

“We’re excited to expand in the Spicer community with Darryl’s employees,” she said. “It’ll be a good transition for us.”

Jahnke, 53, said the time was right to sell the business and he is pleased that a family-owned company with a strong history of good service is buying it. “They’ll serve the community very well,” said Jahnke.

But he acknowledged the transition won’t be easy.

“I have mixed emotions,” said Jahnke. “I’m excited and I’m sad.”

The sale of the Spicer store, which is now associated with Supervalu, means the end of the Jahnke-family business.

His father, Leonard, began purchasing and running Red Owl grocery stores in 1976 and at one time owned five stores in Minnesota, including Spicer and Willmar.

Darryl Jahnke began working in the family business when he was 16 years old. He became manager of the Spicer store when he was just 24.

 “I’m going to miss everything,” said Jahnke, who thanked “all the customers for all the years of shopping” and his crew of longtime employees, including some that started working at the Spicer grocery store a couple months before he did.

“I wouldn’t have been here without them,” said Jahnke of the store’s customers and staff.

“The community has been great to us and our family. I’m going to miss every part of it,” said Jahnke. “It’s been a good ride.”

The store has 45 employees, and Teal’s intends to keep all of them on staff.

 “That was very important to me,” said Jahnke, who told his employees last Thursday that he was selling the store.

Jahnke and his wife, Deb, have three young grandchildren who live 900 miles away in Aurora, Colo. He said the desire to spend time with his grandchildren, as well as his daughter, son and son-in-law who all live in Colorado, is the primary reason he agreed to sell the store to the Teal family, who initiated the call to Jahnke.

“You always second-guess yourself, but deep down inside I know it’s the right decision,” he said.

“ … The kids are only small once,” said Jahnke, who has pictures of 5-year-old Jaden and 2-year-old twins Noah and Uriah in his office at the grocery store.

Jahnke said he’s too young to retire and he may pick up work at a grocery store in Colorado, where he and his wife may eventually move.  

Jahnke Foods will be open for regular hours on Monday, when Jahnke will do the final payroll on his last day as owner of the store.

“It’s going to be a tough day, I know that,” he said.

The store will be closed on Tuesday for crews to do inventory and allow Teal’s to re-tag the store with the Nash Finch Company merchandise, including the “Our Family” private label.

It will reopen on Wednesday morning as Teal’s Market.

Andrea Teal said over the next couple months they intend to give the store a facelift with new shelving, cases, freezer doors and a color scheme of tan and burgundy that matches the other Teal’s Market stores. The layout of the store will not change at this time, she said.

A grand reopening is expected sometime this spring.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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