Grocery chain to buy Vogt's

News editor

A long-rumored sale of Vogt’s Hometown Market in Hillsboro is in the works.

Heartland Foods, a seven-store chain with a store in Herington, is seeking to buy Vogt’s, Heartland Foods co-owner Paul Barnes said Monday. He said the parties agree in principle but the sale isn’t final.

“It just looks like a good opportunity for us,” Barnes said.

Vogt’s declined to comment because the deal isn’t final.

Barnes said he liked that the store was relatively new and in good shape and that it was a good geographic fit with Heartland Foods’ other stores, which are in Herington, Hill City, WaKeeney, Oakley, Scott City, and Beatrice, Neb. There are two stores in Scott City, but the chain is in the process of merging them and closing one.

He said there shouldn’t be many noticeable changes in how the store operates. If the sale goes through, it will change suppliers, however.

Running a single-location grocery store such as Vogt’s has been can be a challenge, as Greg and Mitch Carlson of Carlsons’ Grocery in Marion know.

Keeping good help is difficult, Greg Carlson said. Mitch Carlson added that keeping people shopping close to home also is tough.

Food stores have to keep prices competitive with mega-markets elsewhere, but they also have to sell items at a price that lets them pay their bills.

One advantage the Carlsons see for chain stores is the opportunity to buy in bulk and negotiate lower prices from suppliers, provided the store can then get the extra merchandise to its sister stores for less than the bulk discount.

Greg Carlson recounted a time when his store bought an entire semi-trailer load of bottled water. He got a good deal on it but worried about selling it all. It worked out well but wasn’t a sure thing.

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