Niemann Foods’ footprint in Missouri is about to grow again. Company officials announced Monday the purchase of Hickman’s IGA stores in Bowling Green, Vandalia, Winfield and Mexico.
“We’re excited,” said Gerry Kettler, director of consumer affairs for Niemann Foods Inc. (NFI). “It’s a natural expansion in central Missouri. We see a great deal of future growth in that market.”
The sale comes after months of discussion, according to Kettler, who declined to discuss terms of the agreement.
“We’ve been negotiating for a while,” he said. “The timing was right and we’re excited to expand our presence, so it’s worked out well.”
Jim Hickman, president of Hickman IGA, who will remain involved with the stores as a consultant, agreed that the timing of the transaction was appropriate.
“After 54 years of operating our stores the time was right to review our operations in mid-Missouri,” he said in a media release. “I am very proud of all our associates and the relationships we have built in the communities.
“Niemann Foods is a successful company and is held in the highest regard in the industry. I know that the Niemann group will be a good fit for our employees and the towns we serve,” added Hickman, who is not including in the deal with NFI the IGA stores in Perry and Paris.
“Jim and his team have been great to work with,” said Rich Niemann Jr., president and CEO of NFI in a media release. “We are pleased to build on the Hickman tradition of quality products and great customer service.”
Although the transaction is not expected to be finalized until around April 1, operations at the four stores being purchased will not miss a beat, according to Kettler.
“The stores will continue to operate as IGA,” he said. “They (customers) will still see a lot of quality products. We understand that prices are very important to customers. We’ll keep the prices low.”
As for the employees at these stores, Kettler says that the “terms of employment will be discussed with associates in a meeting later this week.”
Because of anticipated sales growth, the associate-owned company believes there is the “potential for job growth” in those four communities.
After the sale is finalized, a major renovation is planned at the store in Mexico. Later in the year remodeling will take place at the other three sites.
NFI, founded in 1917, has steadily been expanding its presence in Missouri. Over the past three years it has added an Ace Hardware and County Market in Palmyra, plus pharmacies in Palmyra, Canton and Lewistown.
Page 2 of 2 - Among the 100 retail locations that are operated by NFI are the County Market, Save A Lot and Pick A Dilly stores in Hannibal.