Retirement Brings Life-Changing Employees, Owner of Austin’s SuperFresh – Post Bulletin
AUSTIN — Jim Stiles has gratefully worked a job he loves every day for the past 42 years. Now that his retirement date is approaching, his garden center, delicatessen and bakery in Austin, SuperFresh, could close for good when he goes into lockdown for the last time.
“The store has been on sale for five years,” Stiles said. “We’ve had people interested in buying the store around Austin and even Rochester. My wife, my family and I only had to make some decisions about our retirement ourselves.”
This decision led to a firm end date of November 1, 2022.
SuperFresh, located a few blocks north of Interstate 90 at 2101 4th St. NW, has been part of the Austin and southeastern Minnesota community for more than four decades.
With the store up for sale and Stiles having set a retirement date in advance, employees Carmen Srock and Jessica Williams planned their own post-SuperFresh futures.
Srock and Williams have both worked at Super Fresh for over a decade, Srock as Garden Center Manager and Williams as part of the Deli.
Srock and Williams have always enjoyed the customer interactions with which they have been honored over the years.
“I’ve always loved working here because it gave me the opportunity to meet so many people and share gardening experiences with them,” Srock said. “It’s always been meaningful that people come back to ask me after their first visit to the garden centre.”
“Everyone seems very happy to be here when they arrive and I really appreciate the constant good energy,” Williams said. “My family has been selling maize here since it opened in the 1980s, and I always came here when I was a kid. He has always been present in my life for a very long time.
Austin resident Nancy Krouse has been shopping at SuperFresh since she moved to Austin in 1980. For Krouse, connecting with familiar faces, like Srock, at a local establishment has always kept her coming back.
“Carmen and all of the employees here are really nice and helpful and knowledgeable and you don’t get that at the big box stores,” Krouse said. “I just have a local place to buy the beautiful flowers and perennials for my garden every year. The bakery is fun, especially if you want to treat yourself. It’s a great place and we will miss it.
It’s not just Austin residents who love the store. Locals from Rochester and Albert Lea visit SuperFresh weekly, and visitors from the Twin Cities or northern Iowa come to buy local food and flowers every year.
Williams has always enjoyed introducing new customers to local foods.
“Rose Creek Honey is something I always recommend to people out of town. We make our own multigrain bread and cinnamon rolls here from scratch, and are always a sampling option for first-time visitors” , Williams said.
Srock and Williams are hopeful Stiles will find new owners before Nov. 1, but are still making preparations if that doesn’t happen.
“As much as I enjoyed helping others, nothing beat mornings by myself here in the past 10 years, soaking up the colors with the flowers,” Srock said. “This place has warmed my heart for a long time, and it’ll be sad if the store can’t continue.
“We are continuing with business as usual and enjoying every day,” Williams said. “We don’t want to count on it closing permanently, and I know there are a lot of people who would be very happy if the store was for sale to someone new.
Stiles said there are more interested parties considering buying SuperFresh, but nothing is finalized yet.
“Over the past two weeks, we’ve had more interest from people wanting to buy the store,” Stiles said. “We certainly hope that within a month or two we can reach some kind of agreement.”
Stiles opened up about what he’s enjoyed most about day-to-day work over the past 42 years, and what he’s going to start missing the most once he finally retires.
“I’ve been very lucky over the years to have great employees. Without them, it would be nothing at all. They have all been fantastic and wonderful. And the group we have now is among the best I’ve had. They’re just awesome,” Stiles said.
Until SuperFresh closes permanently on November 1, the bakery and delicatessen will continue to operate from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday . The garden center closes September 15 or when all inventory is sold.