Niemann knows its midwestern food. Niemann Foods operates more than 80 supermarkets and convenience stores mostly under the Country Market, Country Market Express, Cub Foods, and Save A Lot banners in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. Its Save-A-Lot stores offer a limited assortment of groceries at discount prices while Cub Foods and Country Market are conventional grocery stores. The regional grocery store operator is battling for market share in the Midwest with Hy-Vee and supercenter operator Wal-Mart Stores. The company also runs six pet stores and several hardware stores. The employee-owned, family-run firm was founded in 1917 by brothers Ferd and Steve Niemann and is currently run by CEO Rich Niemann.
Niemann Foods has been going upmarket in recent years, despite the downturn in the economy. The regional grocery chain has been converting some of its Cub Food stores to the Country Market banner. Country Market is an upscale grocery store that features baggers, in-store dining, take-out meals, and other amenities. Indeed, Niemann Foods continues to shrug off the continued weak economy in 2011, acquiring a pair of Save A Lot stores and IGA Grocery in Illinois. It also added three new hardware stores to its retail footprint and two new supermarkets.
Previously, in a move that doubled the number of convenience stores it operates, the company in 2009 acquired 16 Pick-A-Dilly locations from Hannibal, Missouri-based Big River Oil. Niemann continues to operate the stores under the Pick-A-Dilly banner, with Big River Oil providing fuel to the shops. Niemann Foods in 2010 expanded in its home state of Illinois by buying a pair of Jerry's IGA stores from Kirby Foods. Soon after, Niemann Foods rebranded the stores -- one in Champaign and one in Rantoul -- under the Country Market banner. – less