Woonsocket regains grocery store
WOONSOCKET -- A Woonsocket couple plan to reopen the town's grocery store in October.
Bruce and Kandy Schmiedt, who own Express Stop and Express 2 gas stations, purchased the grocery business from Darin and Anne Schmiedt. Bruce and Darin Schmiedt are cousins.
Dakotaland Federal Credit Union purchased the land and building, and will lease the grocery store space to the grocery business' new owners. The credit union is in the same building as the store.
Bruce and Kandy Schmiedt said they will make some changes to the former Darin's Market -- including calling the store Woony Foods -- and will offer many of the same items.
"We needed a store in town," Kandy Schmiedt said. "Darin absolutely did a fabulous job all the years it was open. He built a new building and there were a lot of finances with that. He did a wonderful job paying it all down. I just think he has a young family and they needed a change in their family circumstances."
The store is set to open the second week of October. It has been closed since June.
"People are excited not to have to drive for groceries if they don't choose to," Kandy Schmiedt said. "That's our main goal. You shouldn't have to leave town if you don't want to."
Darin and Anne Schmiedt, owners of Schmiedt Enterprises, sold the business, land and building on Aug. 23, according to Tara Weber, Woonsocket city finance officer.
Dakotaland Federal Credit Union purchased the land and building for $270,000, according to the Sanborn County Register of Deeds Office. Schmiedt and her husband declined to disclose how much they paid for the grocery business.
"What you pay for a business doesn't make the business," Schmiedt said. "Whether you paid a lot or a little, it's what you put into it as a business owner and what you can do for the community."
Bruce and Kandy Schmiedt said they got a loan through a bank to purchase the grocery business.
Darin's Market closed in July. It originally opened in August 2001. In 2003, Schmiedt Enterprises received a loan through Santel Communications to build a new store after the original building burned on Main Street. The loan was given to the city of Woonsocket and passed to Darin and Anne Schmiedt. The Schmiedts were always on time with their payments and the city never felt in danger of having to pay off the loan, Weber said, but the city was designated as the guarantor of the loan.
The loan -- which still had a principal balance of more than $350,000 -- was paid off Aug. 26, Weber said. She said the city also facilitated a loan for Van Dyke's Supply Co. in the last 15 years, but has not done any others.
"We did take a risk, but we knew we were going to get paid in full," Weber said of the loan to Schmiedt Enterprises. "That was never a concern. We knew the buyers were there, but they were in negotiations at the time."
By Aug. 23, the city released the mortgage, equipment and assets for the store to allow Schmiedt Enterprises to sell all the property, she said. In turn, Dakotaland Federal Credit Union and Bruce and Kandy Schmiedt paid Darin Schmiedt, who then paid the city of Woonsocket in full for the loan -- $355,793.08. The city has now paid Santel Communications for the original loan, Weber said.
Kandy Schmiedt said they are currently in the process of cleaning the store and working out a schedule to stock the store through Affiliated Foods of Norfolk, Neb., which is why the store won't open until October.
The store re-opening will create about five full-time jobs -- a manager and three to four full-time employees -- plus some part-time positions. At least one former employee of Darin's Market will return to the store, Schmiedt said.
The credit union has remained open during the transition period with a temporary wall separating the store from the bank office.
Dan Cumbee, president and CEO of Dakotaland FCU, said the credit union has about 800 members in the community.
"We've had an office there for nearly 10 years. We have a pretty vested interest in the Woonsocket market," he said. "They've been very good to us."
He said Dakotaland had been looking into purchasing the building for a while prior to Darin's Market closing. Before The Daily Republic published an article in July about the business closing, the credit union was "kind of in the works" of purchasing the building and land, Cumbee said.
"We wanted to protect our interests," he said. "It could have been sold to anybody and we didn't want to see a feed store or warehouse or who knows what could have happened. By us buying it, we kind of secured our future in Woonsocket."
The credit union plans to expand its space in the store in 2014 or 2015, another reason to buy the building and land, Cumbee said. Plans are to add on a second office and a one-lane drive up window.
Cumbee said the purchase was also instrumental in allowing Bruce and Kandy Schmiedt to purchase the business.
"We're glad we can help," Cumbee said. "I think their future is bright."