Our Town Iowa City - 3 Generations of John's Grocery

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By Becky Ogann

IOWA CITY - Part of what makes Iowa City so unique is its diversity and there is one place in town that truly embraces diversity. John's Grocery sells over 1,000 different kinds of beer from around the world. We'll take a look inside the only family-owned grocery store left in Iowa City.

John's Grocery has been one of the Iowa City staples since it opened in 1948.

"The places you remember about Iowa City are Paglia's, the Hamburg, and John's, the places that make Iowa City unique," said Doug Alberhasky, John’s Grocery Owner.

The thing that makes John's Grocery so unique is its beer selection.

"I'd say 80 percent of the townsfolk have traveled abroad and when you're sitting in a beer garden in Munich- you get it. And when you come down to John's and find the beer that takes you back to that time, it's a magical thing," said Alberhasky.

The store is also known for its nickname, ‘Dirty John's’. In the 1950s, John's Grocery was the first establishment in Iowa City to sell playboy magazines. Some local junior high boys stole a stack of the magazines from the store. The rumor was that 'Dirty John' gave them to the boys. The name stuck. So has the tradition of catering to all kinds.

"We have a little bit of everything for everybody," said Alberhasky.

Alberhasky says the business truly is a family owned business.

"It's very hard in this day and age to find a three-generational family-owned business. It's a source of pride. We treat people like they are family," said Alberhasky.
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