By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – A longtime fixture for grocery shopping in the Howard-Suamico area will be changing with new ownership.
Chris Olsen, owner of Olsen’s Piggly Wiggly, sold the store to Duane Detjens on April 16.
Detjens owns Piggly Wigglys in De Pere, Kaukauna, Little Chute and Wautoma.
On Sunday, June 17, the Howard location will be known as StoneRidge Piggly Wiggly.
Olsen has been in the grocery business for the past 30 years.
His father, Chuck, owned the Olsen Foods that used to be on Velp Avenue as well as a location in De Pere. Olsen started working at the stores at the age of 15.
Chuck retired four years ago. Since then Olsen and his wife, Tami, who runs the business with him, have been contemplating selling.
“When you lose your partner it becomes a little more difficult when you’re the sole owner,” Olsen said. “I have four kids at home and we decided for my family’s sake to sell and step away from the everyday running of the business and simplify a little bit.”
Because this will be Detjens’ fifth store, customers who are regulars at Olsen’s can expect little change.
“It’s going to be pretty much business as usual. It’s still going to be a Piggly Wiggly,” Olsen said. “You’re not going to see much change there.”
He said Olsen’s employs roughly 80 people and those employees will have to reapply, but all should be back.
Olsen said he will miss the people the most.
“The hard part is you build relationships over a 30-year span,” he said. “I’ve formed relationships with the customers, the people I’ve worked with. That part I’m going to miss greatly. You know these people, you know a little about their lives, it’s difficult to walk away from that aspect.”
Chuck originally bought two stores in 1986. The Howard location moved to where it is now on Lineville Road in 2002. The father and son were partners in the grocery business for the better part of 18 years.
“It was the most difficult decision in my life doing this,” Olsen said.