Schnucks ‘excited to be a part of Columbia’

Donna Wilde of Columbia is among the first in a long line of shoppers to visit Schnucks upon its opening Thursday morning inside the former Market Place. (Kermit Constantine photo)

A ribbon-cutting was held Thursday morning inside the new Schnucks in Columbia following the St. Louis grocery store chain’s recent purchase of The Market Place.

Schnucks CEO Scott Schnuck was on hand, as was former Market Place owner Joe Koppeis and various city and company officials.

Schnuck praised the Columbia store, its 101st such location, as a great addition.

“We are so excited to be a part of Columbia,” he said.

Schnuck explained that his grandmother started the first store inside a 1,000-square-foot building in North St. Louis.

“I am third generation in this business, and I know this was an emotional decision for Joe and his family,” Schnuck said of the store purchase. “Joe opened this store 25 years ago and has been involved in the grocery business since he was 13 years old.

At center, Columbia Schnucks co-manager Kathy Nordike cuts the ribbon as (from left) Jackie Hausmann from the City of Columbia, Schnucks CEO Scott Schnuck, Columbia Mayor Kevin Hutchinson, former Market Place owner Joe Koppeis, Columbia Community and Economic Development Director Paul Ellis and Columbia Schnucks manager Tom Beckerle look on. (submitted photo)

“Like him, I have made a big decision and will be stepping down as CEO, turning it over to Todd Schnuck.”

Scott Schnuck added that the Columbia location has hired 61 of the former Market Place employees, giving them “continuity and a team of familiar faces.” The remainder of Market Place’s 70 total employees were transferred to other Schnucks locations.

Tom Beckerle has been named store manager of the Columbia Schnucks, relocating from the Schnucks in Granite City. Former Market Place manager Kathy Nordike will serve as co-manager.

Koppeis, who built the approximately 47,000-square-foot facility (including the bank space) at 1000 Columbia Centre in 1989, said the decision to sell was in the best interest of his family and employees.

The agreement involves a 15-year lease with options, Koppeis said.

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