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Fresh Foods celebrates year one
March 14, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerrry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Fresh Foods owners Ben and Kerri Dishman touch base with each other before the festivities begin on Friday in celebration of one year of business operation for the Gering grocery store.

According to Ben Dishman, “It’s been a wild ride.” That’s how he described his supermarket’s first year in business.
Last Friday, Ben and Kerri Dishman of Fresh Foods brought out the cake to observe their first anniversary.

“Our first year has also been a lot of fun,” Ben said. “Things are going well because of the tremendous support we’ve received from the community and we appreciate them all.”

Kerri agreed they have so much to be thankful for. “God’s been good to us and so has the community. There have been joy and trials, but they’ve made us stronger,” she said. “We really love the valley. It’s a fantastic place to raise our kids. We’re so blessed to be here.”

Kerri said that while she has some background in retail, she learned the supermarket industry from the ground up.
“My expectations were different from Ben’s because he’s been in the grocery business for more than 20 years,” she said. “Every day this past year was a learning experience for me.”

In addition to occasionally filling in as a checker, Kerri is in charge of social media for Fresh Foods. Lunch specials, daily specials and other featured items are shared on Facebook with close to 900 people who follow them.

“It’s been fun communicating with the customers, but actually it’s more like a friend relationship,” she said. “It’s just a great way to connect with people.”
Ben said even though he’s been in the grocery business for years, owning his own business is different because the bottom line belongs to him. But he’s happy with where they are right now.
“This is the right size store for us and for the community,” Ben said. “People can come in and get what they need without walking around in what seems like miles to find everything.”

Kerri added it’s also been fun how the community is taking ownership of the store as their hometown market. “We even have people coming in from the cities and telling us they wish they had that kind of store where they lived.”

With a smaller physical space, Fresh Foods is able to order more special request items for customers, such as gluten-free and organic foods and other gourmet items.

In addition to operating a supermarket, the Dishmans are also involved in the community through their church, the public schools and other opportunities.
“We think it’s important to be involved in the community and give back where we can,” Ben said. “We plan to be here for years to come.”

Although it’s been a whirlwind first year for the Dishmans and Fresh Foods, Kerri made an important point about the journey. “What we’ve really learned is to do what you know well,” Kerri said. “That includes being kind to others and taking care of people.”
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Congratulations Kerri and Ben! We love having you here, and the grocery store!
- Andi Hale [2013-03-18 03:17:22]