Chris Donnelson started working at a local grocery store doing carry out duties when he was 16, eventually moving up the ranks to night manager. But when an opportunity came up to buy the store in nearby Morrill, he jumped at the chance to own his own store. Donnelson met with Ingrid Battershell at NBDC to work out cash flow projections for his business plan, and after getting an SBA guaranteed loan, bought D-L Foods in December 2009.
By 2011, Donnelson sales at the grocery jumped 20 % and annual sales have been steady, up more than $100,000 since he took over. With fresh cut-to-order meats, including homemade garlic sausage, and fresh produce, the store serves a rural base of fewer than 5,000 who otherwise would have to head some 20 miles away for shopping.
"We're glad to be here," Donnelson said, "and the community really supports us."
D-L Foods is a staple of local volunteer efforts, including fundraisers for the Future Farmers of America, Future Business Leaders of America, the Morrill Community Development Association and grade and middle school classes.