Clintonville Econofoods marks 50 years
Founder hopes to keep store in family
By Erik Buchinger
Tadych’s Econofoods is celebrating 50 years in business.
Jim Tadych grew up in grocery stores as his father owned Fairvew Market, a small general store and market in Manitowoc. Tadych packed potatoes and helped out around the store when he was 5 years old.
“I grew in it, and I always loved the grocery store business,” Tadych said.
After Tadych returned from the Army, he realized his father’s store could not support the increasing number of family members working there. He left the business in 1968. Tadych started his first store in Brillion that year.
Econofoods is up to six operational stores including the newest location in Clintonville, which Tadych purchased in 2001.
“I always thought Clintonville market was a good market,” Tadych said. “When the opportunity became available, we jumped at it. We didn’t lose any one of the people who were at the store when we took it over. They all came on board with me.”
Tadych said his employees make Econofoods operate efficiently.
“I think it’s the people we have surrounding us like my staff,” Tadych said. “The way they handle themselves is great, and we think we’re competitive as anybody. I’m sure we’re not the cheapest on everything and we’re not the most expensive on everything. We hope to satisfy the people who come and in and shop by us. We can’t please everyone all the time, but we do our best. It’s a matter of keeping up with the times.”
Tadych said his passion for the grocery business is the reason he continues to work 50 years later.
“It’s a matter of loving what I do,” Tadych said. “I love the people I work with, and I love the people coming through the front door.”
Being able to relate to people is a big reason for the store’s success, Tadych said.
“It’s the people who surround me and how they handle themselves in our stores,” Tadych said. “I am a people person, and it’s the way I am when I get a chance to talk to them. I don’t visit all the stores all the time. I usually stay in Brillion as I don’t move around as much as I used to.”
Tadych’s role with Econofoods has lessened slightly over the years, giving way to his son.
“Right now my son more or less has taken over for me, so I’ve gotten somewhat demoted,” Tadych said with a laugh. “Instead of being president, he made me the CEO of the company, and he expects it to be around for quite a while.”
Tadych’s grandson is studying business in college. The hope is to keep the family business going.
“He has not worked at the grocery store, but when he gets out of college, hopefully he comes in with a good amount of knowledge in the industry,” Tadych said. “Maybe he’s got some ideas of things we’re not doing.”
Tadych did not know what to expect when he purchased his first store 50 years ago, but said the customers keep Econofoods going.
“I think it’s quite an accomplishment,” Tadych said. “I’m only part-time now and hobbling around with a walker, but I love my stores, my people and those who come into my store. Customers are some of the best people I know. That’s the way I have felt for the last 50 years.”