By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
Niemann Foods Inc. is acquiring four Hickman IGA stores in the Missouri communities of Bowling Green, Mexico, Vandalia and Winfield, company officials said.
Jim Hickman, president of Hickman's IGA, and Rich Niemann Jr., president and CEO of Niemann Foods, said ownership is expected to transfer on or before April 1.
"We are excited about this new acquisition for all our associate owners. It's a natural expansion in Missouri, where we see a great deal of future growth," Niemann said.
Niemann Foods officials plan to meet with Hickman associates this week to discuss the change in ownership. The stores will remain open and will continue to operate as IGAs during the transition.
"After 54 years of operating our stores, the time was right to review our operations in mid-Missouri. I am very proud of all our associates and the relationships we have built in the communities," Hickman said. "I know that the Niemann group will be a good fit for our employees and the towns we serve."
Niemann Foods will launch a major renovation of the Mexico store later this year, along with remodeling at the other locations. Sales growth is anticipated in all four Northeast Missouri communities and the surrounding areas, opening the way for more jobs at the stores, company officials said.
Jim Hickman will remain involved with the stores as a consultant. The Hickman IGAs in Paris and Perry are not part of this transaction.
Niemann Foods has expanded its presence in Missouri over the last three years, adding an Ace Hardware and County Market in Palmyra, and adding pharmacies in Palmyra, Canton and Lewistown.
Founded in 1917, Niemann Foods is headquartered in Quincy as an associate-owned company with more than 5,000 associates, with operations in Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. Niemann Foods operates 100 retail locations, including County Markets, Save A Lots, County Market Express and Pick A Dilly convenience stores, Pet Supplies Plus, and Ace Hardware stores.