Vanderlaan’s take ownership in Grant, Croton
By Ken DeLaat
Grocery stores are big news in these parts having made frequent appearances in the local headlines of late what with the looming presence of Meijer in Fremont and Leppink’s recent opening in Newaygo.
And now an entrepreneurial young couple has purchased two stores that have served the customers of our area for 6 decades.
N3 recently caught up with the very busy Elliott and LaRissa Vanderlaan, new owners of the Gene’s Family Market stores in Grant and Croton. The couple who met while in high school at West Michigan Christian, continued the courtship through their college years before taking their vows as husband and wife.
And now they are embarking on a new journey.
A journey planned to include a long and productive partnership with their patrons as they assume their place as vital components of the respective communities they have begun to serve.
The Vanderlaan’s purchased the stores from Dan and Joe Sorden whose father Gene opened the business 60 years ago in Grant. Thirty -five years late the Croton location was added.
The duo brings an unbridled enthusiasm to their new enterprise and a commitment to becoming involved with the community. There are no major changes planned for now as they begin the process of putting their personal brand on the two entities.
The Grant store has long been a popular destination, drawing customers from near and far to take advantage of one of the few full service meat counters in the region. The reputation for exceptional customer service forged by the Sorden’s is a tradition the Vanderlaan’s plan to continue to build as the new owners of two facilities, each possessing a loyal customer base and their own unique character
Asked why they chose this area and these businesses, Elliott replied ““This is our community. We have always known we wanted to be in Grant and when I began working in the grocery business at Montague Foods I knew it was what I wanted to do.”
“I grew up in the area and my family is here,” added Larissa. “Grant has that small town feel we like.”
”It’s a place where people know each other.”
Larissa and Elliott each possess an abundance of personality and a willingness to work hard to create a successful business that will serve the community they now call home.
A community they plan on calling home for a long, long time.
“We’re where we want to be, ”Elliott reiterated while Larissa looked his way with a nod and a smile.