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Elgin’s only grocery store celebrates one-year anniversary; customers call it a ‘Godsend’

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 8:42 PM CST
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ELGIN Iowa (KCRG) - Pam Pfister is a loyal customer at Valley Fresh Market in Elgin.

”I am a pick-up milk and run home and I work in town, so almost every day I am here,” Pfister said.

If the store was not open, Pfister would have to drive 10 to 30 miles away to shop in Decorah or West Union. Thankfully, she does not have to worry about that, because a year ago, 70 Elgin families came together to buy the store, preventing it from closing.

”It is a Godsend, let me tell you,” Pfister said. “For not only me, the entire community, the senior citizens, the surrounding communities. Very thankful.”

Craig Bennett, who manages the store, said the novel coronavirus pandemic has made the store’s first year both challenging and rewarding. He said one of the biggest challenges has been the availability of goods.

”Our warehouses are typically run at 96% full and we have been running at around 72 to 75% full,” Bennett said. “We have had full sections of the store that have been empty.”

But, on the other hand, Bennett said sales have been outstanding.

“COVID brought a lot of people who work out of town to the store because they were working from home,” Bennett said. “We ended up with a lot of situations where they would normally have stopped by another store that was near their office before they came home and now they are pretty much shopping here exclusively.”

In its first year, Valley Fresh Market has also partnered with Mr. B’s Red Heart Pizza in Waucoma to raise money for charity. This month they are donating to the Open Hands food pantry in West Union.

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