Beaver Supermarket, the oldest and last independent supermarket in Beaver County, has marked its 75th anniversary this year by providing an unusual array of services for its most vulnerable customers.
During the Covid-19 epidemic, the store began delivering groceries to the homebound who could no longer shop by themselves and had no one else to whom to turn. The personal deliveries made sure these at-risk individuals
received proper nutrition in the effort to stay healthy. Most of them were older, and had no computer skills for making online orders, so they did the next best thing – phone it in.
And to address public worries about shortages, Beaver Supermarket regularly used its social media platforms to pass along updates from wholesalers, educate about what was available in supply, and generally encourage customers not to panic.
“We’re all about staying local and helping people,” said Mark Ondrusek, who has owned the Supermarket for more than three decades. “The flexibility and trusting relationships set us apart from larger competitors.”
Ondrusek and his management team go out of their way to “do a little bit for everybody,” he says. Over the years, Beaver Supermarket quietly has helped do little things that support
the police, fire and other first responders, schools, sports teams, and a host of non-profit organizations in the Beaver Area. Curbside pickups are a staple of delivery alternatives, with orders available the same day if placed before noon.
Many of Beaver Supermarket’s managers have 20 to 25 years of experience with the store, “unheard of in this business,” he says. Overall, the store employs 45 people.
The core of the business remains stocking a wide variety of outstanding meats as well as produce and dairy foods and dry goods, among others – having the inventory of larger grocery store in a smaller, friendlier atmosphere, Ondrusek says, always at great prices.
The building is located in the center of Beaver’s heavily traveled, historic Third Street business district. Its weekly specials are heavily promoted on Beaver Supermarket’s website (https://beaversupermarket.net) and daily deals on its Facebook page which has 5,000 followers. The Facebook page also reflects Ondrusek’s personal passions, fishing and hunting, which he freely shares with the public.
The original Beaver Supermarket was founded by Abe Farkas circa 1946 as Beaver and all of America were building new lives in the aftermath of World War II. Having a larger, full-service business was a key to a better, healthier lifestyle for the community, even as old hitching posts for horses were still standing at the curb in front of the building. Farkas operated it successfully for several decades before Willie Camp purchased it and renamed the business “Value King.” Ondrusek and Dr. Corrado Baglio acquired the property in 1989 and undertook a year-long renovation.
“I’ve always wanted to own my own supermarket,” says Ondrusek, who grew up in the business. Beginning at age seven, he tagged along with his father Mike, grandfather and uncles who all owned or worked in Beaver County grocery stores and were immersed in the field. “I’ve never had another job. All of my customers have my contact information and know how to get ahold of me. It’s in my DNA. It’s personal.”