Take a trip through time at Kennedy’s

You can now take a trip through Adams County history while you scratch off items on your shopping list.

By BRYCE MARTIN | N.D. Group Editor | bmartin@countrymedia.net

You can now take a trip through Adams County history while you scratch off items on your shopping list.

Kennedy’s Fresh Foods in Hettinger finished a facelift of their grocery store last week, an endeavor that began in May, according to Kyle Kennedy, co-owner of the retailer.

The exterior Kennedy’s sign got a modern update to illuminate the shop at night, the interior walls got a fresh coat of paint and new department signs, while the highlight of the project is the collection of historical photos now hanging throughout the store, Kennedy said.

Those photos were a contribution from a collection of old photos by Loren Luckow of Hettinger.

Kennedy said the idea to pay homage to the area’s history was developed when Kennedy and his co-owners and parents, Kathy and Mike Kennedy, browsed through different design ideas from their wholesaler. Their wholesaler has a store design service and walked the Kennedys through other store designs.

“I saw another store that had some old, historical pictures,” Kennedy said.

While he wasn’t sure if the other store’s photos were local or generic photos, Kennedy said he knew to immediately call Luckow, who he considered as a sort-of local historian.

“I’m glad we got to go with the local stuff, instead of just generic, old-time pictures,” Kennedy said.

Luckow was also able to put short captions under each of his photos as to what they were and when they were captured.

“[Luckow] got me a bunch of pictures to choose from and we picked out the ones we liked the best and sent them off to the company that manufactures all the décor on the inside,” Kennedy said.

While it sounded like a simple plan, Kennedy’s plans didn’t come to fruition until five months later.

“It took a while for everything to come together,” he said.

Kennedy’s Fresh Foods has served as Hettinger’s main grocery store since it was opened Sept. 1, 2003. It is the family’s only location.

The location has remained a grocery store for years. Most recently, the store was called Hettinger SuperValu before the Kennedy family purchased the building.

There have been other minor remodeling projects throughout the years of its operation, but Kennedy said they mainly included the replacement of refrigeration units housing the store’s products.

This marked the store’s first major change in décor, he said.

“I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time, but I wanted to get all the refrigeration in the store replaced first,” he noted. “This was next in line.”

Kennedy said customers have welcomed the change and provided good feedback.

“Everybody’s kind of been going around seeing if they recognize what the picture is or if they might know somebody,” he said. “We have had a handful of people that have known people [in the photos].”

Kennedy’s favorite photo is one that closely resembles his current work: a 1949 photo during the Halverson Family’s period of ownership. Back then, it was known as Halverson’s SuperValu. While Kennedy said he wasn’t sure if it was the same building or not, the photo most attracted him because it featured clerks from that time period checking out customers.

Kennedy said the store does not have any concrete plans to make additional changes in the future, but “every time we get doing one thing, I say we’re going to be done for a while, but something always comes up that I want to do,” he said.