Saturday, July 13, 2024

A déjà vu for Leavenworth


Watching employees at a Les Schwab Tire Store, we always see them running. Pretty much the same goes for the habits of the previous and current, new owners of our local Dan’s Food Market. The store ownership unveils more young energy.

Officially the Koncz Family bought Dan’s Market on May 20 this year, but Jonathan Koncz worked along with the previous owners, the Worthen Family some time before then. He owns the popular local hot spot in town together with his wife Kat and their seven-year-old daughter Finley. They are a skilled, talented, and capable young team.

Despite the large Safeway Store within blocks, Dan’s Market remains an all-popular hangout, not just for the many summer tourists in Leavenworth but mainly for our resident families. Locals can be seen visiting, socializing in their deli and bakery area for meals or a good cup of coffee.

Eric and Lisa Worthen had bought the market store from their friend Dan Firth in 2011. After they decided to retire from the grocery business this year, they are very glad to have connected with the Koncz family to continue their tradition.

“Eric has been incredible in helping us out, and he is still one I can always depend on”, says Jonathan Koncz. “Eric and Lisa, along with their son Wes, enjoyed seeing their legacy continue of running a local family store.” Jonathan and his wife Kat are very active in their family business and seem to already feel comfortable running it. Even their little seven-year-old shows lots of drive and ambition for the trade. Finley has shown interest in her parents’ new business, by stocking shelves. One of her favorites is to make sure the Jell-O Cup Pudding Snacks are properly lined up and displayed. The spirited and outgoing seven-year-old is already most comfortable with shoppers and meeting new people.

Their effort and drive already shows itself within the store. Employees who had worked for the Worthen Family decided to stay and were rehired by the Koncz family. It is a lively cheerful place, no matter what time of the day.

They are most certainly no strangers to physical work. Since they both grew up, and still have family in the Spokane and Richland area, they wanted to move closer than they had been while they resided in the Bellingham area. They are both graduates of Western University. Kat had worked for general contractors with an understanding of accounting, management, and project management.

Jonathan, who began his work in the restaurant industry fresh out of college, opened a franchise of four restaurants. He later worked for eight years with Super Feet Worldwide, a company headquartered in Ferndale, WA., with an office in Canada and distribution facilities in Europe and Asia. He was active in production, shipping, logistics, supply chain, facility management and quality control.

All along he had been surrounded by friends in the grocer business. During his growing years, he got close to the Akins Family which are a third-generation family of grocers with stores located in Quincy, Ritzville, Soap Lake, and Orville. Then, much later, an introduction from the Akins to the Worthens came into place which led him to where he is now. “Both the Akins and Worthens have been great mentors to us”, says Kat. They helped us through the take-over, the transition. They assured us of our confidence to run the business, along with our previous work experience.

The Koncz family are proud of their employees. At Dan’s everyone in town seems to know each other and getting groceries becomes a bit more of a social event than just another chore. Having great staff is what helps make a good grocery store. People talk about their lives, the weather and local happenings. Our staff is very tenured,” says Jonathan.

In the past the couple have enjoyed working for charitable companies that had very committed employees and they are seeing the same at Dan’s Market. Together with their staff they want to continue and focus on making a big impact on others.

Kat is a woman who appreciates combining motherhood with being a businesswoman and working a schedule that will allow her to not miss out on family. “It has been so great to be welcomed by the community”, she says. “This has made our lives a lot easier since this was a big move and decision for us.” She is working the books and helping whenever she can.

The Koncz family, just as the Worthens had been, are all about charity and community as it has been for previous decades. It will be one to exist as a store with continuous improvement and advances to fit the necessities of customers and the future. At the same time, it is very important to them to continue the preferences their customers have loved over the years.



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