Witschey’s Market Has New Owner
RKE Corporation – an independent family owned retailer of 44 years – finalized the purchase of Witchey’s Market and officially assumed the ownership on June 18, 2019. Third generation RKE Corporation President Casey Edwards stated that the family-owned business based out of St. Marys was looking to expand, and as such were on the look-out for a grocery store that encompassed their provincial and community minded vision; after exploring the town of Middlebourne, they knew they were home. Edwards approached Bill Witschey, owner and operator of Witschey’s Market, and made him an offer to purchase and secure the Middlebourne grocery store.
When asked of his reasons for selling the Witschey’s Market in Middlebourne, Witschey specified that the calendar played a factor in his decision.
At the age of 88 years and with no successor to continue the store in Tyler County, he agreed to the official ownership transfer.
Witschey conveyed that the selling of the store was a difficult decision. He emphasized the relationship that he acquired with the community was special and that there are no words to describe his appreciation of the community’s acceptance, support, and interaction. He stated that those were some of his best memories.
Both Witschey and Edwards stated that the transition of ownership has gone very smoothly, and Edwards mentioned that the community has been very welcoming.
Edwards also addressed some of the inquiries of the local community in regards to any possible changes that may occur. He emphatically stressed the importance of their employees, their families, and those of the customers. He went as far as to say, “Customers are the boss and will be treated as such.” Edwards furthered his report by asking for patience from the community while the different programs and changes take place. He further noted that the RKE Corporation has a six month plan and a two-to-five year plan to expand, grow, and develop an even better atmosphere and more convenient practicalities that will allow a more positive experience for shoppers. One said practicality of change will be a mini-remodel of the produce department and to open up the isles a bit more for the customer’s convenience. Another note-worthy addition that will be acquired in the near future is a rotisserie chicken oven for the deli department.
Other changes that will take place in the near future include having a new sign added to the outside of the store to replace the previous Witschey’s sign. It was also mentioned that RKE Corporation uses a different price structure and visible changes may occur in relation to this. One last mentioned change was in association to open store hours. As of August 1, the new hours of operation will include Monday through Saturday from 7 A.M. to 10 P.M. and Sunday hours will change to 7 A.M. to 9 P.M.
Edwards further voiced how excited they were to partner with the local community and to grow with them. He specified how he admired Bill Witchey’s relationship with the members of the area and declared the desire for an adoption of that kind of personal association. He finalized his proclamation by saying, “We are pleased to join the Middlebourne community and look forward to serving all of our customers.”