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.
Ric’s Food Center
Ric’s Food Center Rockford store Director David Brickner can’t believe how fast two years have flown by at the store. He holds up the new Tell A Friend logo, caricature of store owner Andy Woodrick, who bought the business from his dad in 1997. It seems like yesterday Ric’s Food Center opened for business, but on Monday, February 8, the store passed its second anniversary. “It feels like two minutes, not two years,” said Store Director Dave Brickner. He didn’t want the date to pass without thanking the customers that have become regulars at the family grocery. “The people have been very supportive,” he said, noting that he is often surprised at how far shoppers come to visit. Many local residents have become regulars, but shoppers come from Belding, Ada and often beyond. “They’ll tell me they live in such and such place, but every time they come through here they have to stop in.” Brickner believes winning customers comes from many things staff at Ric’s does. “I don’t believe anything is a small thing,” he said of the company philosophy of customer service and making each shopping experience a pleasure. Periodic open houses with free product sampling are among ways the store thanks to their shoppers. Periodic super-specials, such as a meat sale held this Thursday, February 11 and running through Wednesday, February 17, are other examples. Still, it is the smallest things as well as big events that Brickner believes drive loyalty. “People can do everything right, but if they don’t mean it, you can tell,” he said of his employees’ cheery attitudes. “I hear all the time how people appreciate our staff and they want to know how we do it,” he said. “If you want a friendly staff, hire friendly people.” He used as an example Carol in deli, who was the subject of a note praising her caring attitude. Brickner also credits the store’s success with the feedback they receive and follow. “We can’t do the best job if we don’t know what people are thinking,” he said. The store’s new campaign, Tell A Friend, debuted the first of the year. A caricature of owner Andy Woodrick is the star of the program, which encourages people to share their […]
Event one of many community efforts “If you leave here hungry, that’s your fault,” said Ric’s Food Center Store Director David Brickner. Brickner is excited to offer another “Taste of Ric’s” event, free and open to the public this Thursday, December 3 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the store, 6767 Belding Road. Several dozen vendors will offer free samples, giveaways, and demonstrate recipes of their most delicious food items. Ric’s hosts such events periodically and the turnout and response is always enthusiastic. “We are all running around with smiles on our faces,” he said of staff who also look forward to the events. “This gives our vendors a chance to shine, and it gives us a chance to show our customers what we are capable of.” From sweet treats including ice cream, egg nog and Max and Emily cheesecakes, to Dellalo oils, dipping spices, cheeses and other Italian specialty items, Brickner said the store’s suppliers love the chance to prove how good their items are. “We barely had to whisper this to our vendors and they were right on board. They see how much excitement is generated by these events and love to be part of it.” Many suppliers deliver multiple items to the store, and many are specialty or gourmet that have a reputation for fine quality. They offer a variety of their products for tasting, and many have become household names that people look for. “We have Honey Boy Bobs, Paramount Coffee, Schuel, Carmela, Boar’s Head, Maceri and Sons, and more. Ric’s own in-store products, such as prime rib and the kielbasa created by one of the store’s butchers, Pat Ober, will also be featured. “These are internal items that we have become famous for,” Brickner noted. Other everyday names, such as Nabisco and Keebler-Kellogg will have booths. “We love to show our customers what we have to offer, not just for the holidays but for their everyday full grocery needs,” Brickner said. Customers new to the store are encouraged to make their first visit during the Taste of Ric’s. “You are not expected to spend dime one while you are here.” Brickner said people wonder how the store can afford to offer such a costly event, but he and the staff, […]
Lack of action on development not ‘part and parcel’ to store Ric’s Food Center Store Director Dave Brickner wonders if rumors over the ongoing lack of action in the Cannon Town Center development might be costing the store customers. He said the store has a 20-plus-year lease and ownership of the planned unit development at Myers Lake Avenue and Belding Road is unrelated to the financial situation of the store. “It’s not part and parcel to the food center,” he said. “We have our own decades-long lease, and who owns the property does not affect that.” Brickner said he believes the property surrounding the store on three sides is a gold mine waiting for the right developer, with great exposure to two busy roads and a location where business and residential is prime for growth. “This will be the next area in Rockford to grow. It’s an awesome location and we have the best schools in the state. As a person, that’s what I looked at when I was thinking of coming here. All our elementaries are in the process of serious expansions. Where else in the state do you see that happening?” said Brickner, who has a kindergartener starting school in Rockford this week. People in Rockford appreciate quality schools and understand how important funding is to keep schools effective. “I come from an area where people were notorious about voting down millages. Here people support the school, and that makes a huge difference,” Brickner said. Qualities such as the school and the community will be a draw when the time is right for a smart developer to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the now nearly vacant Center. Cannon Township Supervisor Pete MacGregor pointed out that much of the expense of a large development is already completed for the Center. He called the development a “plug and play” opportunity, meaning a buyer could obtain the property and begin building and selling with very little extra expense or effort. Brickner said rumors in the township have been circulating since the Ric’s Food Center opened on February 1, 2008. The rumors have worsened since the development went into foreclosure this summer […]