Ric’s Food Center opened its doors in Mt. Pleasant over 40 years ago, and continues to be a cornerstone of the community despite growing competition from low-priced national grocery chains.
Tom Baumann, current Vice President of Operations, has been with the company since the beginning. After many years as director of the Mt. Pleasant store, Baumann now oversees all three of Ric’s locations, and has some distinct insight to offer on how this local business has thrived when others have folded. Bauman credits Ric’s policy of hiring committed, long-term local employees for its persistent success in Mt. Pleasant. “We have a great staff, full of friendly and caring locals who are truly invested in this community, he says, "Many have been with us for decades.”
The company also prioritizes modern updates and convenient layouts when it comes to the design and appearance of its stores. “We make sure to change with the times,” Baumann explained. “We recently made a major investment in updating the function and appearance of our coolers, aisles, road sign, parking lot, and deli.”
Ric’s deli, alone, brings in hungry shoppers from all over mid-Michigan. The food center is known for its unique dips, classic brats, and house chicken salad. “People come from all over for our signature deli creations,” Baumann revealed. The store also offers Michigan staples like pasties, head cheese, and a wide selection of regional craft beers, meads, and hard ciders that attract shoppers.
In fact, when it comes to supporting local food sources, Ric’s Food Center is hard to beat. Baumann says the chain is proud to support other local businesses. “We do everything we can to source from local farms and suppliers,” he said. Ric’s own grocery manager and owner of Baseline Bees, Dave McCoy, produces local honey and offers it for sale in-store.
But Ric’s support of the Mt. Pleasant community doesn’t stop at employment opportunities and local food suppliers. This little-grocer-who-could gives back to the community every single chance it gets. Just this month, so far, Ric’s has teamed up with the Humane Animal Treatment Society for a pet food drive, and the Mt. Pleasant Library for a book sale where shoppers could fill an entire Ric’s grocery bag with books for the bargain price of two dollars.
Next month, Ric’s will begin its annual High Five Turkey Drive. The store will hang hand-shaped paper turkeys, bearing the names of the generous customers who donated to the cause. The funds raised will go toward providing Mt. Pleasant families with turkeys for their Thanksgiving dinners. “Every penny goes back into the community,“ Baumann explained, adding that a number of the turkeys will be donated to local soup kitchens to be prepared and served to those who are unable to cook for themselves. “We owe everything to this community,” he sais, “and I truly thank the people of Mt. Pleasant for continuing to make us their neighborhood grocery store.”