Ditterich Family Farm to open grocery store; workout facility and salon in the works
By Barbie Porter
There was a buzz around Vergas as the former supermarket came down last week. People have caught wind about the businesses that will be filling the commercial spaces.
“It all evolved quickly,” said Jeff Zitzow. “We (his wife Wendy and business partners Tyler and Heather Schmid) started talking in March and purchased it in April.”
The group worked with Bhh to develop the building, as well as the exterior appearance. The plans call for 115 feet along First Avenue South and 74 feet along Main Street. The bottom portion of the building will have five storefronts and one handicapped accessible apartment.
Tyler said the driving force for taking on the project was the need for a grocery store. Finding the right person to run the store was key to the project moving forward. When DuWayne Ditterich stepped up to lead the charge, the investors quickly gave the project a green light.
The grocery store will occupy about 2,800-square feet. The Ditterich Family Farm is known in the area and beyond for producing home grown, quality meat with a focus on beef. The rural Vergas family opened a store that sells their products, and found success even though they are located in a rural area.
DuWayne said the family will lease the space and run the store in downtown Vergas. His vision for the store will include a fresh meat counter with other necessity items sold at a grocery store. The specialty items sold on their well-known food truck will also be available for purchase.
“We want to provide a good service and good prices to the local residents,” he said. “And, we want to provide an enjoyable and fun atmosphere.”
DuWayne said the working title for the store is Ditterich Mercantile. The family is aiming for a name that is vintage and allows for the store’s products to be open ended.
“This is a fun project to be a part of,” he said.
The grocery store will have an entrance along Main Avenue.
A fitness center, as well as three commercial spaces will have entrances along First Avenue South. The Schmids and Zitzows are the ones opening the fitness center, which will utilize about 1,500 square-feet. Heather said the fitness center will offer 24-hour access to its members and provide a variety of equipment.
Tyler said when the city’s Economic Development Authority took a survey of what businesses the residents wanted in town, the top two were a grocery store and fitness center.
A hair salon also reportedly committed to renting one of the commercial spaces, which will leave two available for rent. The three commercial spaces provide between 580-square-feet up to 700-square feet.
The housing study the EDA did also showed a need for additional residential rental units. That need will be served by utilizing the top floor of the building for apartments. The upper floor plan has the potential to offer six two-bedroom apartments and one, one-bedroom apartment on the top floor.
The exterior of the building will give the corner a modern look with old time charm by utilizing stone veneer, accent timbers and board and batten siding. The investors said the colors have yet to be determined.
The Schmids and Zitzows are well-established business owners. Tyler owns Franklin Fence and Jeff owns Zitzow Electric. When it comes to taking a risk on a project that is estimated to cost more than $1 million, the families explained they looked to their fathers and grandfathers for guidance. What they saw was a long linage of people willing to invest in their community to keep the town thriving and that is a piece of history they are glad to repeat.
Goodman’s SuperMarket demolition began after holiday weekend
Residents gathered along First Avenue and Main Street on Tuesday, Sept. 7 as the former supermarket in Vergas was demolished. Preparations for the big event were made over Labor Day weekend, and included fencing off the construction area. The building owners allowed locals to deconstruct as much of the building as desired before demolition began.
Even though the group are private investors, it was noted they still had to follow guidelines, such as having asbestos removed. Some was found in the flooring. Once the legwork was completed, demolition could begin. The project included removing the building and basement and then filling the hole in and properly compacting it so that building the new structure can begin.
“We hope to keep moving along as long as the weather will allow,” Tyler said.
Jeff added the hope is to have the grocery store open by next summer, followed by the fitness center and salon.
“But we have a lot of hoops to jump through yet,” Jeff said.