History of Riesbeck's
The organization known today as Riesbeck Food Markets, Inc. began as a result of a family tragedy. In 1921, Clement Riesbeck died unexpectedly. His wife, Margaret Schumacher Riesbeck, survived him along with their five children: Charles, Marguerite, Paul, Mary, and Bernard. The family relocated from Martins Ferry, Ohio, to Woodsfield, Ohio, because the Woodsfield/Monroe County area was home to the Schumacher side of the family. As a means to support her young family, “Grandma” Riesbeck opened the first “corner grocery” store in Woodsfield in 1926.
The family returned to Martins Ferry in 1928, after the oldest son Charles graduated from Woodsfield High School. Charles enjoyed considerable advancement at A&P, which operated a number of grocery stores in the Ohio Valley at the time. He may well have been the youngest A&P store manager ever at age 18. Paul also worked in the food industry with the Kroger Company.
In 1932, Grandma opened the first "Riesbeck's" on Zane Highway in Martins Ferry. This is where daughter Marguerite got involved in the grocery business. In 1934, Charles left A&P to fulfill a dream of owning his own Riesbeck’s store in Martins Ferry on Grant Avenue.
In 1936, Riesbeck Food Markets, Inc. was formally chartered as an Ohio corporation. Grandma and her five children became the founding stockholders. At the time, the company owned four stores in Martins Ferry on Zane Highway, Grant Avenue, Park Street, and Catawba. The family strived to ensure that Riesbeck’s would be the best place to work and the best place to shop.
Riesbeck’s opened several additional neighborhood grocery stores during the 1940’s. Near the turn of the decade, Riesbeck’s had stores in Yorkville, Flushing, Steubenville, Bellaire, Shadyside, Smithfield, St. Clairsville, Dillonvale, Barnesville, and Mount Pleasant, as well as the four original stores in Martins Ferry. During this time, Grandma Riesbeck, her five children, and two sons-in-law were all active employees.
The company first entered the “supermarket age” in 1958 with a new 5,000 sq. ft. store in Woodsfield. The Riesbeck family recognized the changing patterns of customers during the post-war era, so they decided to place emphasis on supermarket growth as opposed to further expansion in neighborhood grocery stores. The supermarket was not only a larger facility, but offered expanded product variety, extended store hours, and customer parking.
Riesbeck’s opened a supermarket in St. Clairsville in 1962 and one in Barnesville in 1972. The land and buildings of the company’s three supermarkets were all owned by Riesbeck Food Markets, Inc.
The transition from small stores to supermarkets caused Riesbeck’s to gradually close their neighborhood stores throughout the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Beloved company founder Margaret “Grandma” Riesbeck passed away in 1970. She left behind a strong foundation for a growing company.
Riesbeck’s entered the Cambridge, Ohio market in 1982 with the acquisition of two supermarkets previously owned by Thorofare Corporation. The company further expanded in 1985, opening its first store in West Virginia. The 30,000 sq. ft. supermarket was opened in Elm Grove.
In 1989, one of the Cambridge supermarkets was replaced with a new store located in a former discount store building. This facility had all of the traditional supermarket departments, as well as new ventures in pharmacy, floral, video, and expanded non-food areas. It was considered the flagship of Riesbeck's concept of a complete shopping facility. The Deli Department’s catering later began to thrive with the help of a delivery van.
Riesbeck's Mor For Less division was created during 1992 by converting a smaller Riesbeck’s store in Cambridge into a limited assortment supermarket. One year later, the former Busack’s in Bellaire was acquired and ultimately became the second Mor For Less location. The limited assortment format offers cost-conscious consumers an alternative to traditional supermarkets. Both of these locations — as well as the Follansbee Mor For Less — transitioned further in 2009 to become Value-Fresh Foods, maintaining some of the original Mor For Less concepts but with an expanded variety of products.
A newly constructed supermarket in St. Clairsville was designed to replace an outdated store that had been in operation since 1962. Opening in 1993, the new St. Clairsville store served as the first retail anchor for what later became known as the Plaza West shopping center. Being the largest facility operated by Riesbeck’s, the St. Clairsville store offers expanded product variety, a pharmacy with drive-thru facility, and an in-store bank operated by Citizens Bank of Martins Ferry.
During 1994, the company began renovation of the old St. Clairsville store to become the new corporate headquarters location, replacing leased office space in downtown Wheeling. In March of 1995, members of the corporate staff were relocated to the remodeled 19,000 sq. ft. location. RCO (Riesbeck Corporate Office) now provides a base of operation for approximately 75 associates, and the facility also contains a training room with abundant capacity to accommodate the company’s training needs of up to 150 individuals per event.
Riesbeck's entered the Zanesville, Ohio market in 1994 by acquiring the Pick’n Save supermarket on Howard Street, originally operated in a warehouse format under the banner Mr. Moneysworth Foods. The company’s expansion into this location not only extended the geographic footprint by an additional 25 miles, it also became positioned within one of the largest populated counties in eastern Ohio.
In 1996, Riesbeck's renovated the former Shadyside IGA and re-opened the store as a Village Market, the company’s first effort under this banner. On March 1, 2012, to bring this store in line with our other stores, it became part of our Value-Fresh Foods division. The store offers a variety of products, and the pharmacy continues to serve the Shadyside community.
Riesbeck’s returned to its roots and opened a Mor For Less store in Woodsfield, Ohio, in July 1998. Shoppers in Woodsfield can choose between a traditional Riesbeck’s, as well as the limited assortment format of the Mor For Less. On June 30, 2010, with the opening of the company’s first State Liquor Agency, this was converted to Eastern Row Market, a Riesbeck-owned trade name. This conversion again allows us to widen the variety and assortment offered to our customers.
In 1998, Riesbeck’s updated the corporate office’s computer network and accounting software to keep up with our business’s increased speed. Accounting and marketing software were upgraded again in 2010 to keep up with changing technology.
Riesbeck’s remodeled its Elm Grove, West Virginia location in 2000. The company redesigned the store’s front-end and added 10,000 sq. ft. to the building to allow for a larger perishable area.
Riesbeck’s also remodeled its Cambridge location in 2000 and 2001, adding 10,000 sq. ft. to the store. This allowed for expanded deli, produce, and bakery departments, as well as a pharmacy drive-thru.
In 2000, Riesbeck’s announced the ground-up construction of a 53,000 sq. ft. store in South Zanesville. The Riesbeck’s Pick’n Save store held its grand opening in October 2001. The company added a drive-thru pharmacy in 2003. On January 11, 2011, we opened our second State Liquor Agency.
Riesbeck’s opened its second store in West Virginia in Follansbee in September 2001. It follows the same format as other Mor For Less stores, with the addition of more specialty foods for the Italian heritage prevalent in the area, as well as deli grab’n go items. In 2009, this store was converted to the Value-Fresh Foods format, again allowing us to offer a larger variety and assortment to our customers, and upon completion of these upgrades, it became a Riesbeck's on February 1, 2012.
The company began renovation on the former Big Bear store in Wintersville, Ohio in April 2004. The Riesbeck’s store opened in June 2004, complete with deli, meat, and traditional supermarket departments and a full-service bakery. The store added a pharmacy in December, making it the fifth Riesbeck’s pharmacy. In order to better serve the community, the pharmacy offers monthly health fairs, as well as traditional pharmacy offerings.
In June 2005, the company announced the ground-up construction of a new, 40,000 sq. ft. facility in Bridgeport, Ohio. In June of 2006, the new store opened under the conventional Riesbeck’s banner. Serving Bridgeport and surrounding communities, this fourteenth addition to the Riesbeck family of stores offers full lines of fresh meat, deli, and produce items in addition to a drive-thru, full service pharmacy.
Unexpected opportunities surfaced during 2010 and 2011, entailing the acquisitions of the New Concord IGA and Stacey’s IGA in Toronto. After extensive remodeling, New Concord initially remained an IGA and then on August 1, 2011 began to operate as a Riesbeck’s, and Toronto opened in February of 2011, as a Riesbeck’s conventional supermarket.
Riesbeck Food Markets, Inc. has grown to consist of 16 stores and six pharmacies. The company serves customers in seven counties in Ohio and West Virginia and has over 1,200 employees. Although Riesbeck Food Markets, Inc. has an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Riesbeck family members are still actively involved in the company.
Riesbeck’s has changed a great deal since Grandma started the company long ago, but she would surely agree that Riesbeck’s continues to be the best place to work and the best place to shop.
Our Vision is a most positive food and supermarket experience for our customers in a company culture which creates a meaningful quality of life opportunity for owners, employees-associates and all stakeholders. The levels of quality, service and value provided to our customers and to one another exceed expectations.
Our Mission is to build an environment of respect and dignity throughout the company, making Riesbeck’s the best place to work and the best place to shop.