Our story begins in Wisconsin Rapids in 1968, when Dennis (Denny) and Karen Wautlet sold everything they owned and moved back to their home town of Algoma to purchase the grocery department portion of Katch’s Department Store. Dennis was no stranger to the grocery store business, having worked as a Meat Supervisor for Hal’s Red Owl in Wisconsin Rapids for the past six years.
1969 - Denny's RED OWL MOVES TO CURRENT LOCATION
In 1969 Denny’s Red Owl moved from the basement of Katch’s to a new supermarket built directly behind on Fifth St. (It’s current site).
Dennis managed the store with 20 employees, while Karen did all the bookkeeping from their home
1990's - Denny's BECOMES SUPERVALU AND EXPANDS
A major change occurred in January of 1990, when the Red Owl Corporation was purchased by Super Valu and our new name became Denny’s SuperValu.
In 1994, an adjacent property became available, and the first addition to the store was opened. A major total store remodel was included, adding a state-of-the-art “Food Court” – the first of it’s kind in the area. Our name now became Denny’s SuperValu Foods.
More employees were added, bringing the total to 40. This expansion also brought Dennis and Karen’s daughters, Jodi, Jill and Jane, back home to work with their parents. Jodi, the oldest of the Wautlet girls, became the Bakery/Deli Manager
2007 - MAJOR EXPANSION TAKES PLACE
The next major change for Denny’s SuperValu Foods came in 2007, when they acquired the building next to the store, Old Jake’s Bakery. The building was demolished and another addition was added to the store, resulting in the store’s current size.
During this addition the store was once again given a complete remodel. Several departments were expanded including frozen, general grocery, and liquor departments. Also, a beer cave called Denny’s Den was added to the store.
2008 - JODI BECOMES NEW OWNER
When Dennis and Karen began to think about retirement, Jodi expressed an interest in purchasing the business from them. She had been learning the day-to-day operations over the past years.
On December 28, 2008, it became official, Dennis and Karen Wautlet sold their store to daughter Jodi.
Despite the change in ownership, the store continues to maintain the Denny’s SuperValu Foods name. The Denny’s name over the years has become one that is easily recognized by customers. Maintaining the Denny’s name stands as a tribute to Dennis, who spent many years building the business. During the past several years, Jodi’s family members, Mark, Brooks, and Blair have become involved in various aspects of the business.
In August of 2022, Hometown Grocers purchased Denny’s SuperValu.
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