Why a barn?
In 1973 the first Food Barn started in the small town of Allegany, surrounded by pastoral beauty and dotted by the barns of the region’s many dairy farms. Originally, the food store was to be called the “Ried’s Food Bargain Barn”. Quickly, that cumbersome name was shortened to Food Barn. This homage to its customers and surrounding community became the bright red barn silhouette that was, and continues to be, used in advertising. The barn silhouette is so recognizable that the “Barn” in our name has stuck forever. Many people also know and refer to us as “Ried’s”, and that’s OK, too.
Ried’s Food Barn on South Union Street in Olean, NY has been providing for the food and household needs of many families since 1977. But the history of this business and its predecessors has a beginning decades ago in the Village of Allegany, NY in 1949.
That is when Charles A. “Charlie” Ried entered into a partnership to form a grocery and meat market on Main Street in Allegany called “Model Market”. While Mr. Ried managed and oversaw the meat end of the business, his partner, George “Sandy” Sendlakowski, handled the groceries and dry goods. Together they served the working and farming families in and surrounding the village.
In 1953 Charlie Ried bought out his partner’s interest and steadily increased the business, expanded the food store and enhanced its reputation for freshness and quality in fresh meats, produce and grocery products. As a stockholder/member of Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, Model Market eventually became Ried’s ShopWise Market, part of a cooperative advertising group.
Although the store survived a devastating fire in 1963, it was only a matter of time before the business outgrew its small confines. In 1968 a second location, East State ShopWise, was opened by Mr. Ried on East State Street in Olean, NY. Once again, the business and its reputation continued to grow, and in 1973, Ried’s Markets, Incorporated was formed to operate a new, larger supermarket in Allegany.
The new Allegany market, Ried’s Food Barn, was opened in the then “Big N Plaza”, just a few hundred yards west of the village. Located in a 25,500 square feet space, this store replaced a Wegmans Market, which had opened and closed within two years. On opening day, November 6, 1973, business started off with a flourish. In one day the new Food Barn store generated more sales volume than the previous stores would do in weeks.
Slowly but surely Ried’s Food Barn’s reputation for excellence in freshness, quality and service to its loyal customers provided the vehicle for sales growth. The store was soon one of the busiest around. Friendly hometown service together with better pricing due to its larger size made Food Barn a popular weekly stop for many families in the area and a formidable competitor to all, including the large grocery chains.
In 1977, a second Ried’s Food Barn was opened on South Union and Green Streets in Olean. This location became available after Leo’s Market, which had been on the site for over 20 years, suffered a totally destructive fire in 1976. After nearly a year of rebuilding, on June 18, 1977, Ried’s Food Barn — Olean opened its doors. The 26,500 square foot store was an instant success, quickly becoming the busier of the two Food Barn locations.
Charles Ried retired from the business in 1986 after over 35 of service to his customers and community, leaving a legacy of high standards for freshness, quality and service which have been upheld to this day. Under his watchful eye the business grew from two employees to about 160, at its peak. Hundreds of young people enjoyed their very first work experiences in the stores, and many went on to outstanding careers in the food business as well as other industries. Some pursued their career at Ried’s Food Barn and are still part of the dedicated employee team.
Ried’s Olean Food Barn has, from the beginning, been an innovator in delivering fine products and services to its customers, employees and community. Food Barn was one of the first markets in the United States to use electronic bar-coded scanning technology at the checkout. Ried’s continues to be a leader in providing freshly prepared, wholesome ready-to-eat and heat and eat meals, and quality fresh bakery products, as well as standard groceries.
A pioneer in recycling, long before it was mainstream, Ried’s Food Barn has diverted hundreds of tons of cardboard, paper and other material from landfills. The company has consistently invested in energy-saving technology to save precious resources. Ried’s Food Barn, Ried’s Markets, Inc. and David and Ann Ried, the current owners, also frequently support local charities and community groups.
Since 1977, the owners of Ried’s Food Barn have endeavored to continuously improve the facilities and services of the food store. Six major remodels, including two physical expansions of the building have increased the size to over 35,000 square feet, including the leased Dan Horn Pharmacy. The present facility bears little resemblance to the original built in 1977. As the food business, its customers and employees have changed, so has the company, keeping it current, vibrant and relevant to today’s modern consumer.Ried’s Food Barn
111 East Green Street
Olean, NY 14760
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