Churchill opens second store in PerrysburgWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Walt Churchill recently opened a second supermarket in a former Bassett’s store in Perrysburg.
Churchill opened Walt Churchill’s Market when he bought the store from Mike Bassett. Churchill is operating the Perrysburg store with minority partner Bob Carpenter, who worked at Churchill’s former store in Sylvania.
The Perrysburg location first opened as a Churchill’s store in 1991 and operated for 10 years until his father, Walter Churchill Sr. died. That store was sold to Farmer Jack, later purchased by Bassett and operated as Bassett’s Market.
“I bought the store from Mike Bassett and put my touch on it by incorporating our own improvements,” Churchill said.
They never closed the store after purchasing it because it contained a pharmacy and they felt an obligation to their many customers and 79 employees working there.
“People are very important to customer service,” Churchill said. “We built our business by listening to what our customers want. Demanding customers make good innovators.”
The Walt Churchill’s Market in Perrysburg is a 44,000-square-foot store with a full bakery, deli, fresh meats and produce, an extensive wine section and pharmacy.
“We’re resurrecting our bakery with our own ingredients and people,” Churchill said. “No one else in Toledo has a bakery where they make things from scratch. We make things from scratch with flour from King Arthur’s mill in Vermont.”
“It’s a competitive business so we try to stay on the cutting edge,” he said.
Darlene Carmona, manager of the Perrysburg market, began working for Churchill as a cashier when the store opened in 1991. She also worked there when it was Farmer Jack and Bassett’s Market and at other locations with during the past 20 years.
“We’re here to serve our customers and become a destination of choice for people in the community,” Carmona said. “We want the store to have a personality and give customers what they want to buy, not what we want to sell them.
“It’s like my home to me, so I want to treat them well and provide the service they want,” she said. “Walt is like the grandfather of the grocery business in this area, and I learned a lot from him over the years.”
Churchill said he doesn’t have plans to expand further at this time.
“We want to focus on our two stores, making it easy to shop at Churchill’s and to eat at home,” he said.
Churchill operates his other store near Fallen Timbers in Maumee, which he reopened in 2005. Churchill’s store on Central Avenue is owned and operated by the family trust since his father died and is not connected with the two new stores.
Churchill said the company has a management profit-sharing plan that could eventually become an employee ownership program. He said he believes it’s important to have a succession plan for the business.
Bassett, Carpenter and Churchill are partners in the Bassett’s Market located in Bellevue, according to Churchill.