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Wells grocery store owner buys store in W’bago

By Staff | Nov 10, 2013

Dennis Schrader, left, and Bruce Mandler are the new owners of Marketplace Foods in Winnebago. Mandler also owns the Marketplace Foods store in Wells.

While the grocery store in Winnebago may look the same this morning, there are actually big changes going on at the Main Street business.

New owners, new manager and a slightly different name.

Bruce Mandler, who owns the Marketplace Foods grocery store in Wells, has purchased the MarketPlace Foods store in Winnebago from Jim Baldus of Austin.

The sale is effective today, Monday, Nov. 11.

“I’m pretty excited about this,” Mandler says. “I have wanted to branch out and have another store for some time now. The Winnebago store is the perfect fit, it is a newer building and it is in a great community.”

There is an added benefit to his purchase, Mandler says. Location.

The new manager of the store is going to be Dennis Schrader of Northrop.

“The Winnebago store is just a 15 mile commute for Dennis and a 20 mile drive for me,” Mandler says. “We can both easily get to the store when we need to be there, since it is right in between the two of us.”

Schrader, the new manager, has a lot of retail experience, Mandler says.

“Dennis was my store manager in Wells from 2003 to 2007,” he says. “He also has been working at both Shopko and Sterling Drug in Fairmont.”

Schrader is married and he and his wife, Jodie, have two children; a son who is in college, and a daughter who is a junior at Fairmont High School.

“I am very excited to have this opportunity,” he says. “When Bruce called me I said yes right away to getting back into the grocery business again.”

Schrader will be more than just a manager, as he will be a junior partner with Mandler in the business.

Mandler is also a veteran in the retail food business. The Adams native came to Wells in 1993 to manage the grocery store.

He and his wife, Amy, have lived there ever since. They have two daughters, an eighth grader and a junior at USC Schools.

In 1994, Mandler became a partner in the Wells grocery store operation with Dan Wagner, who lives in Adams. They continue to be in partnership to this day.

Wagner owns six stores in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, with various partners. However, Wagner is not involved in the new Winnebago store purchase.

“I have helped Dan set up some of his other stores, like the one in Britt, Iowa,” Mandler says. “And, we will continue to be partners in the Wells store.”

Mandler says the Winnebago store will continue to have nearly the same name.

“We are going to make a little change to the name,” Mandler explains. “We will spell both places as one word and use lower case letters.”

Currently the store in Winnebago has the name MarketPlace Foods, with a capital ‘P.’

“We will be lower casing the ‘p,'” Mandler explains. “And using the logo of the Wells store for both sites.”

While both stores used the same name of Marketplace Foods, there has been no connection what-so-ever between the two, Mandler says.

“We both purchased our stock from same supplier (Affiliated Foods), but we had no real connection,” Mandler says. “It was just a coincidence both stores had similar names.”

Schrader says he expects the staff at the store to remain the same, only he will now be the manager.

“We plan to do a lot of updating, both to the store and the systems we use,” he says. “It already is a very nice store building, only five years old. We just want to improve it some. I think people will be pleased with what we have planned.”

The two new owners both say they are eager to meet the people of Winnebago and the area and hope to provide a great store for folks to shop in.

“I know the community has strong support for the store,” Schrader says. “I am excited to get to work, meet our customers and make the store the best that we can.”

And that, he adds, starts today.