Thirty-five years ago, a shopping tradition began for many families in the area when Bruce’s Food Center opened.
Michael Bruce said his father decided to get out on his own after working at the Piggly Wiggly for many years.
“It started out as Bruce’s Food Center,” Bruce said. “He initially started out buying from a food company in Knoxville, and in 1982, I believe, he started buying from Mitchell Grocery, and that’s when it became Bruce’s Foodland.”
The new location on Greenhill Boulevard opened in November 1994.
Bruce said he worked for the company during high school and went to college at Jacksonville State University.
“After college, I moved back home and went to work for dad full-time,” Bruce said. “The store in Ider was bought in 1994, and I went there full-time.”
Today, the Bruce family owns six locations: Fort Payne, Ider, Rainsville, Fyffe, Section and Scottsboro.
He said many things have changed over the years, but customer support and dedication to customer service have remained the same.
“DeKalb County has always supported us, and now Jackson County,” Bruce said. “We try to run a clean store and treat people like we want to be treated. And, we have some great employees. Bill Slater was our meat cutter. He was old-school, and he was the backbone of our business for many years. He taught our current meat department supervisor, Mark Fobbus, everything he knows about it. It’s an art. There’s not many who do it anymore.”
Bruce’s Foodland is also known for its support to the community, most notably for its chicken dinner fundraiser for Camp St. Jude and for donations to Race to Embrace.
“We try to support everything we can,” Bruce said. “St. Jude is one of our major ones, as is Race to Embrace, Relay for Life and the United Givers Fund. The way we see it is the community has always supported us, so we’ll turn around and support them when we can. We try to give back as much as we can to the community because it’s been so good to us.”
He said he hopes the future of Bruce’s Foodland means growth and a continued customer service that is top notch.
“We want to continue to provide our customers with quality products,” Bruce said. “We hope to continue to grow the business and possibly add locations at some point. We are going to keep on keeping on.”