The hometown turned out in big numbers to celebrate local family owned Country Foods 30th Anniversary last week. There were money saving specials throughout the store and give-a-ways every half hour that included a new Traeger grill and many other door prizes plus a free Diamond M Ranch Choo Barbeque. The stores slogan “Hometown Proud for 30 Years” was worn proudly by the entire staff that happily turned out to serve everyone who came by. Country Food Grocery Inc. is a second generation Alaskan owned corporation headquartered in Kenai that has grown since it was founded in 1972 by John Steinbeck and his wife Margaret as a small independent grocery in Kenai that was known as Foodtown. In the early 1980’s John’s sons, Dustin and Travis joined the business and after a major remodel and a name change what is now Country Foods was born.
Gary Stroh, food service distribution manager for Country Foods told the Dispatch, “In 1986 Dustin began marketing produce to restaurants and other business in the local area and Country Foods Wholesale was born which has grown into a broad line foodservice distribution company serving all of South Central Alaska with warehouse facilities in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Kenai. We offer dry goods, dairy products, frozen foods, produce, meats and non-food items to our customers which range from small sole proprietor restaurants to international corporations with multiple service locations,” he said.
Chris Duncan, store manager, has been working at Country Foods since he was 14, “It’s the only job I’ve ever had, and the Steinbeck’s are a great family to work for. When I graduated from school I could have moved on, but I felt I already had a lot of on the job training and like I tell my crew when the day comes that I’m not learning something new and challenging, I’ll move on, but that has never happened. I guess we were a little nervous when the big box stores came to town, but we felt if we focused on our customer service, an old fashioned commitment to quality combined with 21st century knowledge, methods and transportation systems our customers would stick with us and they have,” said Duncan. “Hometown Proud” runs deep at Country Foods as anyone who visits their break room upstairs can attest to with a glance at the wall filled with appreciation plaques from a wide variety of local sports teams and service organizations, “Our biggest goal is to give back to the community and help build the future of the Peninsula which are our kids, schools and sports activities for youth and we do the best we can to support those organizations,” added Duncan.