RAPID CITY, S.D. - Lynn's here has acquired three Family Thrift Center stores in South Dakota from Nash Finch, Minneapolis. All three stores will operate under the Lynn's Dakotamart banner.
The Family Thrift Center stores - conventional neighborhood supermarkets - are "fairly similar in terms of size, type and style to Lynn's, and geographically they are a great fit, as they are close to our distribution center [in Rapid City] and corporate offices," said Marlin Martin, general manager, Lynn's.
The retailer services mostly rural markets and operates seven other stores under the Lynn's Dakotamart banner - six in South Dakota and one in North Dakota - and one dollar store, Dollar Giant, in Rapid City. Lynn's is a customer of Nash Finch.
The Family Thrift Center store in Spearfish was converted to Lynn's Dakotamart on Nov. 27. The remaining two, in Belle Fourche and Hot Springs, will open on Jan. 8 and Jan. 15, respectively. Nash Finch continues to operate three Family Thrift Center stores in Rapid City, as well as more than 80 retail stores under five different banners, mostly in the Upper Midwest.
"This is a big step for us," Martin said. "We've added stores in the past, but one at a time. Adding three presents some challenges, but we are very fortunate to be keeping on the [Family Thrift Center] personnel who will be helping us with the transition. There will be some differences that customers will see, but they are all pretty minor changes."
Being a small, neighborhood retailer has "huge advantages," according to Martin. "We live and operate stores in our own neighborhoods. We know and understand our customers, and we can service them well because we live here too," rather than running a store from a corporate office 500 miles away, he said.
Lynn's purchased a Family Thrift Center store in Custer, S.D., in 2000, about the same time it began working with Nash Finch, Martin said.
"The acquisition by Lynn's of these stores is a win-win for both Lynn's and Nash Finch," said Brian Numainville, senior director, research and public relations, Nash Finch. "This opportunity helped an already strong, successful regional retailer continue to grow their business, returned these retail stores to local ownership, and allowed Nash Finch to be a part of that success by retaining the food distribution sales to these stores."
While Lynn's hopes to grow in the future, another three-store acquisition probably won't happen again in the near future. "Certainly we want to continue to grow our company," Martin said. However, "[the new acquisition] will fill our plate for the next couple of years. It's possible we could do some work in the dollar stores area, but we are grass-roots grocers, and our biggest objective in the next few years is to make this work and make it work well."