Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hometown Sad Part 2: Some History of Rittman IGA

Part one of this series can be viewed by clicking here.
I moved to Rittman in the summer of 1983 with my wife, two year old daughter, and one child on the way. There were two grocery stores in town, Wilging's Mainway Market, and Ryan's Rittman Foodliner(IGA). Times were good for the consumer in Rittman because with two grocery stores we had competition, and competition brought lower prices. That my friends, is part of what free enterprize is about.

The building that housed the IGA was also at one time a Kroger store, but alas they built a bigger store in nearby Wadsworth, so they vacated this building and the IGA came to town to serve the Rittman community. Ryans changed suppliers for a spell and for more than a year the store was a Sparkle Market, but reverted back to IGA.

Mainway Market, who also had locations in Seville and Doylestown, closed their Rittman store in 1992, leaving the IGA as the only grocery store in Rittman. Ryans sold out to Bill Alfords and Bill LeCount, and became known as Rittman IGA.

There has always been other places to shop in nearby towns. Giant Eagle took over the Kroger location in Wadsworth(Kroger left the area due to a labor dispute). Family owned Buehler's Markets has locations in Wadsworth, Orrville, and Wooster. IGA seemed to coexist well with these stores.

Enter Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart opened their Wooster store in 1992. At the time they were only competition for places like K-Mart, Sears, Woolworths etc. In 1998 the store expanded to a supercenter, now offering groceries at a tremendous discount, due to their buying power. In 2004 WalMart opened s supercenter in Wadsworth.

How can an independent survive against the world's largest employer?

Part 3; Where will we go now?

Part 4; Dreamers needed.

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