Gary Vanden Berg loved working in the grocery store business.
His start in the business was in Appleton, where he bagged groceries at a Piggly Wiggly.
For more than 30 years, he operated various stores in the Waupaca area.
First was Gary’s Harvest Foods in Scandinavia in 1978, which was followed by opening a store in Waupaca in 1981 that he turned into a Piggly Wiggly franchise.
In May of 2013, he and his wife Bonnie sold the business to Scott and Lorrie Neumann.
Like Gary, Scott began working at Piggly Wiggly at a young age.
Working for Gary, Scott worked his way up in the business and eventually became the manager.
In 2013, Gary’s Piggly Wiggly became Neumann’s Piggly Wiggly.
Vanden Berg passed away Oct. 22, 2013.
When his family contacted Scott and said they would like to put a bench in the store in Gary’s memory, Scott immediately agreed with the idea.
“I wouldn’t be here without him,” he said. “I was blessed to work for him and with him and to get to my ultimate dream of owning a grocery store.”
Bonnie, with her son and daughter-in-law Jason and Amy Vanden Berg and daughter and son-in-law Amy and Aaron Tuomi, presented the bench to the Neumanns on Wednesday, Oct. 1.
“There’s always a need for someone to wait for someone or to rest, so we thought it would be a good thing in memory of Gary,” said Bonnie. “I’m sure it’ll be put to good use.”