Inside Business: Dan`s Supermarket | VideoJim Christianson | 2/12/2013
Dan`s Supermarket is a busy place and it`s getting busier. Executive Vice President of Operations Ralph Dockter says the growth is exciting and challenging at the same time, especially in western North Dakota. "All of our stores are growing, operating both in Bismarck-Mandan as well as Dickinson. Dickinson has taken on a whole new meaning the last couple years with what`s happening there."
Dan`s currently operates six stores in Bismarck, Mandan and Dickinson. That`s a huge expansion from the store`s small beginnings with just one location in downtown Bismarck in 1949. Roy Rockstad and Bus Leary bought a Piggly Wiggly and renamed it Super Valu. They added more locations over the years, but the chain remains family-owned and locally operated.
"One of our bigger operational challenges now is hiring enough staff. There`s lots of job opportunities in both Bismarck-Mandan and Dickinson," Dockter said.
The six locations employ about 700 people total. Their employees are focused on providing good customer service, and offering products the customers want. Dockter has noticed a change in people`s eating habits in recent years, as consumers are getting more health-conscious.
"We are adding more organic items all the time. That`s becoming a bigger part of our business. It`s still a relatively small percentage of business but organic, natural, healthier eating is an ongoing, growing part of our business."
Those organic items are just a few of the 50,000 different items this store carries.
As a locally owned and operated grocery store, Dan`s has the flexibility of offering local products such as Bessie`s Best cheese from Sterling.
"There is some advantages to being a smaller company where in large organizations, they need to be able to service a whole region of the country. In our case, if we want to bring something into one store, we can do that," Dockter said.
That`s a business model that`s helped them remain strong for 63 years, with a bright future ahead.
Just in case you were wondering who Dan is, he`s a fictitious cartoon character that`s been used in their advertising since early on.