January 27, 2021

End of an era

Shugar’s transitioning to Fareway grocery at the start of the year

After serving the community of Colfax for the past 26 years, Jim Shugar is retiring from the grocery business. Fareway Stores, Inc. has agreed to purchase Shugar’s, the company announced Dec. 10.

“Kim and I, and our daughter Jenny, are so happy for our great customers and the community that has supported us for the past 26 years. We feel confident leaving them in Fareway’s care,” Shugar said.

The Iowa-based grocery chain previously purchased an Adel location from Shugar, a transaction that formed a positive relationship for both parties.

“We are excited to announce our plans to expand in the Central Iowa area,” Fareway President and CEO Reynolds W. Cramer said. “While residents of Colfax may be familiar with our stores, we look forward to serving them locally and becoming an integral part of their community. We would like to thank Jim for the opportunity to carry-on this family-owned business.”

A third-generation, family-owned grocery store, Shugar’s was founded in 1936. Shugar took over the Colfax store, located at 28 E. Howard St., in 1994 and became an integral part of the community right from the start.

“About 20 some years ago we formed a development group and I was president of it for about 10 years until we bought Adel,” Shugar said. “A lot of the things that are happening now we were starting back then. I think it is a joint effort right now, we have a really good council, mayor, city administrator and Colfax Main Street and it is a win-win all the way around.”

When the news broke of the sale, Shugar said the response was “overwhelmingly positive.” Only a few days old, he has already spoke and shared memories with many of his long time customers.

“There have already been a lot of tears from some of the older clientele that have shopped with us for so long,” Shugar said. “That will be the hard part, the part we will miss. We have a lot of good customers.”

Shugar made the decision to step back after finding himself busier than ever. Being able to hand over the reins while business is still going strong is important for his life’s work.

“From our end, there are so many small town groceries that have closed, even my home town where our original store was that my father sold ... that one is now going under. We’ve been successful or we wouldn’t be here 26 years later and because of that we have made a lot of great relationships,” Shugar said. “We just decided that we have done this for so long that now would be a good time to go out while the store is in really good shape and business is good.”

Having Fareway, an established company who Shugar already has a history with, step in and agree to continue the grocery store is nothing but a positive for Shugar.

“That’s what I wanted, too .. I wanted to find somebody as good or hopefully better to lead the community since they have been so good to us. I couldn’t have asked for a better company coming in, we are really confident in the job they are going to do,” Shugar said.

City leaders are also excited to see the business exchange hands in such a smooth way and continue serving citizens at its downtown location.

“The City of Colfax is beyond excited to welcome Fareway to our community. Fareway will provide a world class grocery experience in our community for the foreseeable future,” Colfax City Administrator Wade Wagoner said. “We are so proud they have chosen to remain in our historic downtown and be the bellwether anchor for the district.”

Fareway must still complete its necessary due diligence before the transaction will close. It will also interview existing Shugar’s employees in the coming days and anticipates the store being closed beginning in early January for a brief period and reopening as soon as possible.

While starting to look at his final days at the helm of the grocery store, Shugar reflected on his first time driving in to Colfax and where he is leaving the community.

“The difference between, 26 years ago when we came to town and I can still remember what it looked like and driving out when we leave at the end of the month, it is just going to be amazing the difference,” Shugar said.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com