Baseball-themed day of free samples draws crowds by BETH ALTENA Rockford Ric’s Food Center is a busy place these days four years into their location at 6969 Belding Road. The store was especially busy Saturday, May 5 with the Spring Taste of Ric’s, where vendors and store staff offer free samples of many food products. There were about 40 stations offering samples from wraps and sandwiches from the Ric’s deli to rootbeer floats in dairy. The meat and seafood department were especially busy as people lined up for samples of the store’s signature kielbasa and tasty crab cakes, sale priced at just a dollar each for the day. According to Store Director Dave Brickner, the events are greatly anticipated by both customers and staff, and this year’s included a drawing for a free grill valued at about $700. Brickner said the store is a busy one for the chain, and beer- and wine-tastings on Saturdays from 3 to 6 p.m. have been very popular. The store has been holding the tastings for the last seven months, and the selection of wine and beer is the best in West Michigan, Brickner believes. “Michigan has so many good breweries we have been able to focus on Michigan-made beers,” he stated. Michigan also has a great selection of locally made wine, but the store also features wines made worldwide. “We are so event-oriented,” Brickner said of his Ric’s. April was Michigan Wine Month, May includes the Taste of Ric’s and Mother’s Day, and the new one-day sales have been big successes. Brickner also expressed enthusiasm regarding the proposed development for the property surrounding the store, which was a Planned Unit Development for residential homes, townhouses and other businesses along the Belding Road frontage. The development went to the bank after sales failed to take place and the economy spiraled down, but now one of the town homes built on the site has sold—a happy sign of better times to come.
Tax-deductible donation makes real differences in lives of real people This Saturday, April 16, Rockford area residents will have the opportunity to help others and put a little tax deduction into their finances. A manned Salvation Army truck will be at Ric’s Food Center, 6767 Belding Road from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. According to Diane Tabor, who schedules truck pick-ups, spring is a good time for donating, as people clean out closets and do other spring cleaning activities. Donations are also tax deductible and go to a very good cause. Forms for tax deductions will be provided at the time of donation. “The Salvation Army helps those whose lives have fallen apart due to various reasons such as addictions,” Tabor said. Currently there are about 100 beneficiaries whose full-time job while tending to recovery is to sort donations. The sale of donations at Salvation Army’s area stores is responsible for funding this and the international humanitarian aid Salvation Army provides. Dave Brickner, store manager at Ric’s, said the hosting of the truck is typical for the family-owned grocery. The store also donates to a food pantry on a daily basis, and has a Mel Trotter donation box on-site every day. Giving back to the community that supports the store is not only Brickner’s philosophy but also that of the family that owns the several Ric’s Food Centers in Michigan. “We try to give back to the community whenever we can,” Brickner said. Tabor said clothing that is in good condition—no stains or tears—appliances that work, household goods and furniture are all among the items that are typically donated and are available for sale. The truck at Ric’s will have people there to help unload items, and trucks make regular pick-ups in the Rockford area for those who don’t have the means to transport large items. The Salvation Army has a guide online to estimate the value of donated items and the tax refunds available may be a surprise. A child’s snowsuit may be worth up to $19, a bed may be valued at $170, and a complete dining room set may be worth up to $900. See donation values at www.satruck.com/donation-value-guide. To find out more or to schedule a pick-up at your home or […]
Public invited to help others in need When Ric’s Food Center planned opening their doors three years ago, they knew there would be extra product—produce, deli and more—that would go unsold yet still be perfectly good. The family-owned company looked around Rockford for a deserving charity and found Lean on Me Outreach. “We give them about $1,000 worth a day,” said Ric’s Store Director Dave Brickner. Brickner said the store’s dedication to offering fresh, perfectly presented items from baked goods, produce and deli—and even the products on the shelf that shoppers might not think of as having expiration dates, such as cereal, pastas and canned goods—mean there is good food and non-food items as well to be donated to Lean on Me. Brickner said Ric’s is inviting the public to give if they are able during a food/product drive on Saturday, Nov. 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A Lean on Me truck will be at the Ric’s Food Center, 6769 Belding Road, open for donations. “We do this at all our Ric’s stores,” Brickner said of the company. Being actively involved in the community in which each of the five stores is located is a philosophy that is particularly evident at the Rockford Ric’s. The store sponsors the Rockford High School Athlete of the Week each week in The Rockford Squire and stepped up in this year’s Community Expo, offering free food samples. A Taste of Ric’s—coming up soon on December 4 at the store—is a big event with free food samples from dozens of vendors and live entertainment, all free to the public. Brickner said the store donates not just food, but product the store decides not to sell. When the store switched brands of non-food product, it was decided not to keep the old brand on the shelves with the new, and all that product—shampoo, toothbrushes, diapers and more—went to Lean on Me. Lean on Me director Lisa Shaffer said the facility, the outreach ministry of Resurrection Life Church, is unique among charities in that it does not require people to prove need in order to receive aid. Located at 11555 Edgerton Avenue, Lean on Me offers food box and other product pick-up three days a week, no questions asked. She […]
Michigan weather was as fickle as its reputation Saturday, May 1 with a stormy morning giving way to a beautiful sunny spring afternoon. The crowds at Ric’s Food Center, 6767 Belding Road, proved reliable, however, as the parking lot and store were filled with visitors to the Spring Taste of Ric’s event from noon to 4 p.m. Store Director Dave Brickner was happy with the turnout after his staff and store vendors worked hard to prepare for a successful event with samples, music, prizes and plenty of smiles down the aisles. “We had a lot to compete with,” Brickner said, noting that many other festivals and events were held the same day. Brickner believes the strong turnout shows how much people enjoy the customer appreciation events the store holds several times a year. He said vendors and staff all look forward to offering samples of their product to a pleased public. “It makes sense,” Brickner said. “This is their chance to showcase their product to hundreds and hundreds of people all in one day.”
Four people left $500 richer, but no one was able to claim the big prize of the day, the Chevy Malibu offered by drawing by John Decker Chevrolet. No one left empty handed, unless by choice however. The sixth annual Community Expo held March 20 was as well-attended as in past years. Booths of all types offered coupons, information, free gifts and goodies. Mike and Vanessa Carroll, along with daughter Jade, said the event has become like a reunion, a chance to interact with friends and talk with business owners they know. A day-long cold snap may have helped attendance by making an indoor event sound more appealing. Next year will be the seventh for the Community Expo, sponsored by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.