Fourth-generation grocer adds local store to family
ELLSWORTH -- Jason Nilssen is being welcomed into the Our Family brand at the same time he's adding Ellsworth's supermarket to his family's grocery businesses.
Early this year, Nilssen switched the main supplier at his store in Baldwin, Wis., to Nash-Finch, which has long served the outlet here most recently known as Hinck's Economart.
The fourth generation of his family to be a grocer, he and wife Teresa recently bought the local establishment from Steve and Sue Hinck and renamed it Nilssen's Foods.
"We'll be bringing in a manager," he said, indicating Ron Gafner of New Richmond, Wis., with 41 years of experience in the industry will lead the store.
Gafner and wife Norma have five children and will be moving to Ellsworth.
Nilssen said he began employment in his father's and grandfather's store in Clear Lake, Wis., at age 12. He initially stocked shelves and mowed the lawn.
The enterprise, originally called Nilssen's Cash Store, was founded by great-grandfather Carl in 1903 and then run by a great-uncle. In 1976, Nilssen's grandfather and dad bought out the great-uncle out.
Nilssen worked at grocery stores throughout his college years in the 1990s and eventually purchased the Baldwin store.
He took over the Ellsworth store at the end of February. He said he'll add instant photo processing and a DVD rental machine. Local hours will be expanded, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. initially to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. by May, the same as in Baldwin.