Since Vogt’s Hometown Market closed Feb. 2 and Heartland Foods moved into the building, the Heartland brass has had to wait a little longer than expected to begin business.
The grocery chain, which also has a store in Herington, wanted to begin business Feb. 17 in Hillsboro, but paperwork issues pushed the opening date to Friday.
“We just want to bring it up to a first-rate grocery store like it once was,” Barnes said. “They (Vogt’s) had some difficulties of whatever nature that caused things to kind of go downhill here and we want to get it back up to speed and offer a good grocery store for this community.”
Barnes said not much would change except for an alteration in the store’s chicken program in the deli, switching to Chester’s fried chicken.
“We’ll still offer fresh produce, meat — things like that,” he said.
One challenge Hearland may face in the beginning is finding new employees in certain areas.
“We have to re-hire everybody that worked here originally, then we interview for new help,” Barnes said. “We’re still looking for some full-time daytime help — checkers, cashiers, and department heads — so we’ll be limping along for a little bit at first.”
While landing new help is a priority now, Barnes says he is confident in the current staff and hopes all former customers will return to support the new store.
“If there’s anything people want to see us do differently, we’re always willing to listen to opportunities,” he said. “It might be something we could look into.”