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Terry’s Food Center faces uncertain future in 2020

January 23, 2020
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

As Terry's Food Center approaches its 50th year in business later in 2020, the ownership is looking to sell the grocery store to a local investor before the year's end or potentially close the doors if no one comes forth.

"We have come to a point in our lives that we wish to only own one grocery store," Darren Trunck, owner of Terry's Food Center said. "My wife, Sue, and I want to spend more time with the grandchildren. We feel the store could benefit from someone local to own it and it would be beneficial for the community."

Trunck Country Foods Inc, owned by Darren, will keep their business in Reinbeck running, but seek a local investor in Dysart to run the store. Trunck spoke to the Dysart City Council on Wednesday, Jan. 8 with their intention "one way or another" to be done with the store by the end of the calendar year. If an interested party is not found by June or July, Terry's will reduce their inventory and potentially begin transferring equipment over to the Reinbeck store, according to Trunck.

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"A lot of owners in the area are coming to retirement age, so many communities are looking to local investors to buy their stores rather than buying more," Trunck said. "Our desire is to sell the building, but if not we can transfer equipment to our store. We considered repurposing the building, but we decided against that. For the community's sake, we hope someone comes forward. It would be tough for the elderly to leave town."

Terry's Food Center was opened In 1970, when Terry Trunck was approached about a grocery store in Dysart for sale. Trunck was a farmer, yet grew his business as he bought the two other grocery stores in the town. In 1984, Trunck purchased and renovated the current home of Terry's Food Center. He retired in 2001, leaving the stores in his two sons' hands. Darren would take over the Dysart store in 2007, splitting time between the Dysart and Reinbeck stores. Currently, 11 to 12 people are employed in Dysart.

Katharine Olliendieck, Tama County Economic Development Director, has been involved with the situation as she views this store as a "priority" of TCED going forward.

"What we are going to try to do is look for people who may be potentially interested in ownership of the grocery store and then what we can do to help them afford the store," Ollendieck said. "We want to help them find ways to encourage patrons to come into the store and to show the store is viable. We sit far enough from a metropolitan area that a grocery store is essential to Dysart."

According to Ollendieck, if Dysart were to lose its grocery store, residents would be forced to get their groceries from Traer, Waterloo and Vinton, all of which are 12 to 30 minute drives. However, Ollendieck also noted that Dysart residents rely on Terry's as they are unable to travel for groceries.

"I fear we could lose folks in the community because we wouldn't have the services they need," Ollendieck said. "I'm a Dysart girl and I've always used the store. I strongly feel we have to do whatever we can to find a new owner. With the 50th anniversary this year, maybe it's a good time for a transition to an owner who will take care of it for the next 50 years."

For Mayor Tim Glenn, Terry's has a personal connection to his family. His son, Jace, previously worked at the store during his high school years and his daughter, Sam, currently is employed at Terry's as a checker.

"I'm really hoping we can find someone interested locally to keep the store opened," Glenn said. "We'll keep this issue on the front burner going forward. This may be something the Dysart Development Corporation can help with, but I'm not sure what the city can specifically do at this time other than to do our best to spread the word."

This is a developing story. Check back with the Dysart Reporter for updates as they are made available.



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