Tadych’s Econofoods celebrates 45 years
By Tim Beimal
Tadych’s Econofoods is celebrating 45 years of successful, family-owned grocery operations in northeast Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. Jim Tadych founded the family business in July of 1968.
When you ask Jim Tadych why he has been in the supermarket business for over 45 years, he will tell you it is because he loves people. Being able to fill the needs of his customers has been his passion from the beginning.
That mind set has carried Jim from his first store in Brillion in July of 1968, to the most recent acquisition of his store in Clintonville.
It should come as no surprise Jim Tadych took to the grocery business.
His father, Victor, got into the grocery business as a teenager in the 1920s and left school early for his first meat market job. That job led Victor to open Fairview Market in Manitowoc: a small general store and market where Jim started packing potatoes when he was grade school age. He would work before and after school, though he and his brother Jerry were sometimes caught throwing rotten potatoes at each other!
In the early 1960s, Jim took time away from his father’s family business to serve in the Army. Upon his return, he got married and started his family.
Jim realized his father’s store could not adequately support the many family members now involved. So, in the mid 1960s he began to search for a store to buy.
The search proved difficult until 1968 when he found a small “mom and pop” grocery store in Brillion. It was a turn of the century blacksmith shop converted into a grocery store with less than 700 square feet of space.
For decades it was known as Doughty’s Grocery, although the Keenway name remained on the building. You can find a picture of this store prominently displayed in every Tadych’s Econofoods.
The store’s original owner, Francis Doughty, had passed away and his wife Freida was ready to sell. However, she hadn’t realized Jim was a potential buyer. She thought he was applying for a job. She told him, “We’re not hiring anymore.”
Ultimately, Freida sold the store to Jim. Both Victor and Freida helped finance the deal and further supported Jim by not calling in their loans during the early years.
The store served as a modest beginning for Jim. He, his wife Pat and their three kids lived above the store. In his first days of self employ, Jim asked himself more than once what he had gotten into.
Forty-five years after T & C Market first opened its doors, Jim Tadych knows the answer to the question he asked himself in 1968.
“I have gotten into, not only a business or career, but a way of life. A blessed life filled with many challenges,” he said. “But those challenges are offset by the many great friends, employees and customers I get to work with every day.”
Jim’s son Mike is now the president of the company, though Jim is still very involved with major decisions and day-to-day operations.
Tadych’s Econofoods History
- 1968: T&C Market founded after the purchase of Doughty’s Grocery store in Brillion
- 1969: Built T & C Market adjacent to old building
- 1971: Purchased Dingeldein’s Market in Forrest Junction
- 1974: Opened T & C Market Shawano
- 1978: Moved T & C Market to 205 N. Main St. (Hub Shopping Center)
- Late 1970s: purchased four Park ‘n Markets in Appleton with partner Ralph Moehring
- 1981: Opened Save A Buck in Sturgeon Bay
- 1986: Opened first Econofoods in Iron Mountain, MI
- 1989: Opened Econofoods in Sturgeon Bay, moving from Save a Buck
- 1989: Opened Econofoods in Marquette, MI
- 1992: Opened Econofoods in Houghton, MI
- 1995: Opened Econofoods in Plover
- 2001: Purchased Econofoods in Clintonville
- 2007: Remodeled and added on to the Clintonville store
- 2009: Opened “Tadych’s Econofoods” in Brillion
- 2009: Started using the “Tadych’s” brand on/in stores