Hillsboro's grocery business turns 60
Except for a few years spent in college, Dale Franz has been involved in the grocery business almost all of his life.
His father, Ray Franz, opened a grocery store on Hillsboro’s Main St., where El Lorito Mexican Restaurant is now. He moved the business to its present location on W. Grand St. in 1959.
Franz joined his father’s business full time after he graduated from Emporia State University in 1989 with a degree in accounting.
He and his wife, Melanie, bought the business in 1999, changing the name to Dale’s Supermarket. In 2003, they expanded into a space formerly occupied by a clothing store at Grand and Main Sts.
Franz said he has seen many changes. When he started, families were larger, women did a lot more baking, and families ate at home most of the time.
He said pre-made meals and frozen food items have expanded “tremendously.”
“People still eat meat around here,” he said. “Meat and dairy sales are steady.”
The store also has seen changes in suppliers, including Associated Grocers, Associated Foods, and the latest, Associated Wholesale Grocers, 2½ years ago.
“There are fewer and fewer warehouses,” Franz said. “The good companies were bought out by
bigger companies, and some items disappeared or were jacked up in price.”
For the last 20 years, Franz figures he has worked 70 to 80 hours a week. Despite times when it was frustrating and tough, he said the business has been good to him and his wife.
“We’re at least making a living, and we enjoy it,” he said.
Last modified March 20, 2019