The new owner of an 80-year-old grocery store chain in the region has re-named the business to reflect fresh priorities.
The former Plumb’s Market, with locations in Muskegon, North Muskegon and Whitehall, is now called Great Lakes Fresh Market.
Menominee-based L.M. Foods assumed ownership of Plumb’s Market last month.
Tom Kuber, the owner of L.M. Foods, which is doing business as Great Lakes Fresh Market, said he selected the chain’s new name in part to emphasize its "fresh" take on bakery, deli, produce, meat and organic food selections.
The name also pays homage to its primary distributor, Great Lakes Foods, which Kuber owns as well.
L.M. Foods President Dan Gentz, who is relocating to the Muskegon area to oversee operations of Great Lakes Fresh Market, said he eventually plans to buy the chain from Kuber.
“We are excited to bring the Great Lakes Fresh Market concept to the area,” Gentz said.
Great Lakes Fresh Market is still operating in the three former Plumb’s locations, which it plans to renovate in stages during the next several months.
In addition to new external signs, new interior decor and re-designed floor plans, Great Lakes Fresh Market will update the meat, bakery, deli and produce offerings, and some locations will begin carrying a wider organic selection and specialty wines.
The market chain will offer Signature Meats, a meat selection created for independent retailers by Great Lakes Foods. Signature Meats will include pre-marinated, stuffed and flavored beef, as well as pork and poultry products. The stores will display the new offerings in modern cases with LED lighting to “decrease the impact of Great Lakes Fresh Market’s carbon footprint,” the company said.
Employee retention and training
Gentz and Kuber said Great Lakes Fresh Market retained most of the nearly 200 former Plumb’s Market employees.
The company is in the process of hiring a customer service specialist and training workers to deliver consistent customer service, which it said is a “key factor” to success in a small town.
“It was important to us to take care of the folks who have been with Plumb’s and who have been loyal to this community,” Kuber said. “Everyone has maintained their seniority, wages and benefits. They’ve worked hard, they’ve been through a lot and we’re happy to have them as part of the Great Lakes Fresh Market team.”