Gary's Story

Gary's is a local family owned grocery store in the small college community of Mount Vernon. We have served Mount Vernon, Lisbon and the surrounding communities since 1971. We have been providing the community with great service on the corner of Highway 30 and Highway 1 for over 30 years.

Gary Dietrich, our founder, started as a clerk in a small grocery store in Marengo, IA in 1950. Gary spent a lot of years working his way up to manager, first at the Cedar Hills Me-Too store and then at the Hiawatha Me-Too store. Dave Rank, a friend of Gary's, partnered up with him and they decided to buy a store of their own. They saw an opportunity in Mount Vernon and bought the Super Valu store. Gary thought Mount Vernon was the ideal town to own a store because of the great values of the community. They opened their doors in 1971 as Dave & Gary's Super Valu.

Business was good for the first ten years, but in 1981, Dave decided to retire, leaving Gary as the sole owner of the store. After a couple years, Gary decided to change the name of the store to its present name, Gary's Foods.

Gary always had a philosophy of putting his bottom line back into the store. This resulted in two major expansions in 1980, with the store doubling in size, and in 1990, increasing the size of the store by 50%. Along with the expansions, Gary was aggressive with case replacements and remodeling different parts of the store. This philosophy has lead to a state-of-the-art facility that we like to pride ourselves on.

Another philosophy of Gary's was to give back to the community as much as they gave to him. He was always pleased to give money to a charity, as long as they brought some good to the community. He always sponsored the local youth sports teams and right now, Gary's Foods is a Gold Sponsor of the Mount Vernon High School Yearbook and Platinum Sponsor for the Lisbon High School Yearbook. One of Gary's favorite places to donate was the Southeast Linn Community Center in downtown Lisbon, and we continue with that today. We also offer our C.A.R.E. coupon books to help any group to raise funds. Stop in and ask a manager to get started with that today.

The Gary's family lost a great man in early 2008, when Gary Dietrich died at 73. He taught his family a lot and was even showing them something new all the way down to the end. The 2nd and 3rd generations of his family now run the store under the same philosophies and values that he instilled in them. He will forever be remembered as a kind and loving man.

Original text