Redner's Markets top executives Ryan and Gary Redner were all smiles as they welcomed customers to their newest store – Redner's Fresh Market in the Vineyards near Lewes.
President and CEO Ryan Redner and Chief Operating Officer Gary Redner had reason to be glad, because the Nov. 17 opening is the culmination of a seven-year odyssey to get the grocery store in business. They said supply-chain issues, the COVID-19 pandemic and some unexpected delays contributed to the long process.
The store hosted an open house Nov. 16 that was attended by more than 1,000 people. The doors were officially open at 8 a.m., Nov. 17.
“We are very excited to open this store for the Lewes and Rehoboth Beach communities. Through the pandemic, we experienced some delays that were not the norm, but through it all, we have kept plugging away and finally we are ready to open our doors,” Ryan said. “Planning this store and all it has to offer has been a labor of love for our entire team.”
This is the first Redner's Fresh Market to open in Delaware. The company operates six stores in Kent and Sussex counties with a total of 44 stores, with the majority located in eastern Pennsylvania where the company was founded in 1970. Redner's also operates 21 quick shops.
“This is our southernmost store and the only one close to a beach town,” Ryan said. “We have been down here a lot and are very familiar with the area. Our Lewes store has been a long time coming.”
He said the company's current plan is to remodel older stores and convert more stores to the Fresh Market concept.
The company employs 120 people at its Lewes store and is looking to hire 20 more.
Based in Reading, Pa., the company was founded by Earl and Mary Redner, who pooled all of their money to buy two small grocery stores in Reading. For the first nine years, the stores were IGA Food franchises. On Jan. 1, 1979, the company was born as Redner's Markets. The couple's sons, Richard and Gary, took over ownership and the company expanded rapidly and converted all stores to warehouse markets by 1990.
Ryan and Gary are the second generation to take over leadership in the family business.
Redner's Markets is owned by members of the Redner family, and former and present employees who are issued stock in the company.
The new Lewes store
The 49,000-square-foot Lewes store will focus on utilizing full-service departments such as bakery, deli, service meat and seafood, produce and chef-prepared meals, said Eric White, director of marketing and communications, who has been vacationing in Rehoboth Beach since his childhood.
Daily prepared items such as fresh popcorn, infused water, sushi, marinated seafood/steaks and pressed juice are some of the featured products, along with greater variety of fresh-cut produce and ready-to-go meals.
The new store is incorporating the latest technology, including a deli kiosk where customers can place orders, type in their cellphone number and be called when their order is completed instead of waiting in line.
The store features self-checkout and employee-staffed registers, online shopping and curbside pickup services along with DoorDash and Shipt delivery options. Customers can use Redner’s Rewards to redeem on fuel purchases at the fuel kiosk located within the shopping center parking lot.