BEMIDJI, Minn.–– KJ’s of Wisconsin, Inc., announced it has entered into an agreement with SpartanNash to acquire the existing Gordy’s stores in Barron, Chetek and Cornell, Wisc. and rebrand the stores KJ’s Fresh Market. SpartanNash will continue to distribute grocery and fresh products to the three stores.
KJ’s also purchased Grantsburg Family Foods and will be rebranded as KJ’s Fresh Market.
KJ’s Fresh Market, and its related company Johanneson’s Inc., operate grocery stores under the Marketplace Foods and Drug banner, MP Wine and Spirits stores, MP Gas and Convenience stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.
CEO Keith Johanneson is excited about the opportunity to invest in the communities to bring stability and superior grocery operations to Barron, Chetek and Cornell.
“We look forward to building relationships with our retail team members, store guests and local partners, listening and learning about how we can better serve each of these three unique communities’ needs,” Johanneson said. “Our goal is to provide quality groceries, superior meat and produce -- all in an inviting shopping experience in every store. We intend to invest in remodeling and making physical plant improvements once we fully evaluate the needs of the local communities.”
The transaction is expected to close in early June. Johanneson stated, however, that “KJ’s Fresh Market will begin working next week with the local store management and team members to start the transition.”
Marketplace Foods and Johanneson’s Inc. history spans 79 years. The company was founded by Keith Johanneson’s parents, Thelma & John Johanneson, in a small country grocery store in Edinburgh, N.D. in 1940. Looking to expand the business, they moved to Bemidji, Minn. in 1957 and opened their first store in Northern Minnesota. Bemidji now serves as the company headquarters.
Through the 79 years of operation, the company has expanded in several markets, developed new concepts and is excited about the opportunity to further expand its operations in Wisconsin. In 2011, the National Grocers Association presented Keith Johanneson with the Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Excellence Award to recognize an independent grocer that exemplifies persistence, vision, and creative entrepreneurship. This annual award (started in 2009) is one of the most prestigious honors awarded to independent grocers. In 2018, NDGA also recognized Johanneson Companies as Grocer of the Year in North Dakota.
The company is proud of its commitment to building stronger communities and has a long history of investing in various local and regional organizations in the communities the company serves. The company sponsors various community events in its existing locations including, Ride for the Troops, Power of Pink for Breast Cancer awareness, Stuff A Truck annual food shelf fundraiser, an annual Easter egg hunt, plus events with United Way, March of Dimes and other charities.