|Times were tough for rural families in 1926. Larry Verhagen dropped out of his freshman year of High School to work so he could contribute to his familys income. He found a job as a delivery boy for a local grocer. Several stores and promotions later, in 1936, he opened his own "Mom and Pop" store in Kaukauna. It was across from the north side train depot, and featured a chilled meat case to display cuts of meat, a rarity at that time, as the norm was to have separate stores for groceries, meat, and "greens".
||Larry opened Kaukauna's first "cash and carry" supermarket at the corner of Main and 3rd in 1947. Being an innovator, he featured refrigerated produce and meat cases, and soon after added air conditioning, all area firsts in the grocery business. That store was a huge success, which forced a move to new, larger quarters on Dodge Street in 1952. Within a year, Larry joined the Piggly Wiggly system to take advantage of group buying and advertising. He also debuted the areas first frozen food self-service case. |
|In 1963 his son, Tom joined the business, and a second store was added in Little Chute. It was twice the size of the Dodge Street store. Due to Kaukauna's growing south side & customers now shopping by car; the Dodge Street store relocated to a larger building at 1900 Crooks Avenue in 1967. Both of those stores were later enlarged and moved to locations nearby that can best serve the customers.
||In 1984, the Verhagen family purchased an existing supermarket in Manitowoc* and immediately expanded and remodeled that store. Fifteen years later the fourth store was build in DePere. All stores strive to present one stop shopping for their neighborhoods. |
*In January 2011 The Manitowoc store was sold to Bob Fox, owner of Two Rivers.
Today, two children of Lawrence and a son-in-law work in the business. The oldest son, Tom, serves as company president. The youngest of the family, Mary Lynn, serves as Vice President, and her husband, Paul Knapp, serves as a supervisor for Deli, Bakery, and Fast Food departments.