SANBORN—Sanborn Foods turned 50 years old on July 1, which to Scott Vogelaar is a testament to the support the store has enjoyed through the years in the O’Brien County community of about 1,400.
“That’s a big thing,” he said.
Scott has co-owned the grocery store, located at 302 Main St., with his wife, Teresa, for the past 11 years. Before that, the business belonged to Scott’s father, Greg, who was a partner in the company for about four decades.
To celebrate its 50 years of business, Sanborn Foods offered a range of deals to customers this week on products ranging from pop and chips to produce and meat.
On Friday, the store had an open house for its anniversary, during which it served root beer floats and provided various item samples to guests. Attendees also drew for prize giveaways, including 50 bags of free groceries.
Scott noted the store’s physical layout has not changed too much during its 50-year history, aside from getting updated equipment and incorporating computer technology over the years.
That is not to say the store has not seen its share of ups and downs, most recently during the coronavirus pandemic.
Scott recalled how Sanborn Foods saw a surge of business at the start of the pandemic in early 2020, since many community residents did not travel far at the start of the public health emergency.
“They wanted to stay close to home, stay away from the big stores,” he said. “Now everything’s kind of gotten back to normal. We still have all of our regular customers. Things have kind of leveled off a little bit.”
The store, like other grocers, experienced inventory shortages as the demand for some items spiked and could not keep up with supplies. Scott said that also has mostly returned to normal, although certain items still remain difficult to get from manufacturers.
“They’re still having major issues with labor and some raw materials. For them, it’s still a struggle, which trickles on down the line,” Scott said.
He and his workers also increased the store’s cleaning procedures throughout the day to disinfect surfaces in light of the virus.
“We’re still doing that to a certain point, but it’s not as extreme as it was,” he said.
Since he became co-owner of Sanborn Foods, Scott said he has enjoyed being his own boss while being able to make connections with community members who shop at the store.
“And our employees are great to work with,” he added. “We have a good time. We enjoy working together, and we try to make it a relaxed working environment.”