Grocery store sale underway
Building, parking lot renovations planned
By Angie Landsverk
KD’s IGA is in the process of being sold to a family that owns a grocery store in Marathon County.
“Right now we’re working out the final details of the sale with the current owner. Both parties are very committed to it,” said Lance Bauer. “The goal is to have a grocery store in Weyauwega by the end of October.”
For the past five years, Bauer and his father Keith have operated a Supervalu grocery store in Edgar, a village of about 1,400 people.
Bauer described it as a family partnership and said they plan to run the grocery store in Weyauwega the same way.
That means Bauer will be the store director and run the business, while his father will own the building.
The store will remain a Supervalu grocery store.
Weyauwega is a lot like Edgar, Bauer said in regard to their interest in buying the store here.
“It’s a family-oriented community,” he said.
Bauer said they do not want to have big-box stores.
“We want to be one-on-one with the community,” he said. “That’s what drives us.”
The Bauers enjoy working with parent-teacher organizations, FFA members and supporting community events.
He calls opening the store by the end of October a “realistic” goal.
Some remodeling is planned before the Bauers open the store with stocked shelves.
“We plan on putting a new face on the building,” he said. “We want to make it look as nice as we possibly can.”
They also want to open up the entrance when people walk into the store and widen the store’s aisles.
The city of Weyauwega is working with them.
During a special meeting on Sept. 5, the common council unanimously approved a development agreement with Wega Property LLC.
Ald. Bruce Goetsch was absent.
As part of the agreement, the city agreed to provide up to $40,000 for exterior renovation costs to the building.
The city also agreed to make improvements to the parking lot, do concrete work by the loading dock and remove a tree.
The common council previously approved spending up to $50,000 on those improvements, said City Administrator Jeremy Schroeder.
He said the tree has already been removed.
The city currently owns a portion of the parking lot.
Once the improvements are made to the parking lot, the city’s portion will be conveyed to Wega Property, putting the former city parcel on the tax roll.
Following the parking lot improvements and remodeling of the store, Wega Property plans to lease the property to Wega Foods LLC.
Bauer is the principal owner and managing member of Wega Foods.
“In the agreement, we want to see the value potentially increased to $400,000 after the remodeling is done,” Schroeder said.
The property’s current value is about $270,000, he said.
“It will be a huge asset to the community,” Schroeder said. “The wheels are in motion.”
Kenny Dearth has run KD’s IGA for the past 13 years.
“The community’s been very supportive. I’m just glad we’re able to keep a grocery store in Weyauwega,” he said. “That was important.”
He said the 10,400-square-foot grocery store was built in the 1970s.
It was a Ron & Lloyd’s, and Dearth’s parents owned the store before he bought it from them.
“I was born and raised in the grocery store business,” Dearth said.
He raised his three children in the business as well and said, “I’m going to try something different.”
Dearth is going to work in a hardware store in Plover.
“I’m going to miss the customers,” Dearth said. “I had a lot of good employees and enjoyed watching the high school kids grow and develop. Every book has a new chapter.”
Bauer said things will progress quickly once the agreement is signed.
“We’re excited to get the store open and serve the community,” he said.