Rick Sloot has been distributing food to Red Apple Market in Kennewick for about 15 years.
He's been shopping at the 10th Avenue grocery store for a decade longer.
Red Apple Market celebrated its 30th anniversary Sunday and is planning a three-day celebration Aug. 7-9 -- an event the store's management hopes customers like Sloot attend.
Tom and Edwina Duzan opened Red Apple Market in 1984, about six years after Tom Duzan purchased Mayfair Market at the same Kennewick location in the late-1970s. The store was known as Family Grocery before 1984 when it became a Red Apple Market, operated as an independent franchise under the umbrella of Northwest Grocers.
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Beginning Aug. 7, Red Apple Market will offer customers free groceries, snacks and games as part of a three-day anniversary celebration. A parking lot barbecue is planned Aug. 8. Giveaways are expected to include a bike, T-shirts, groceries and other items.
"We're also asking for past employees, shoppers and friends of Tom and Edwina to join us," assistant manager Paul Snyder said. "We're pretty excited about it."
Tom Duzan, 71, has spent his adult life in the grocery business. He got his start while attending high school and college in northern California. And even though he's spent part of this week in the hospital recovering from a heart ailment, Tom Duzan does not plan on missing next week's celebration.
"You can't have an anniversary without the owner, right?" he said. "But I won't be parachuting in."
Tom Duzan has employed one guiding principle for success over the decades: customer service.
"I think our customer service is what sets us apart," Tom Duzan said. "You're not walking into a giant Winco or Walmart."
That customer service is one of the reasons Sloot keeps shopping at Red Apple.
"I buy a lot of my meat items here," Sloot said while unloading pallets of tortillas outside Red Apple Market on Thursday. "There's always somebody in there. You can ring a bell and get what you want."
"We go the extra mile with our customers," he said. "Our customers sign our paychecks -- not Tom or Edwina. The customers sign our paychecks."
Festivities and activities during the three-day anniversary celebration should run from about 6 a.m. when the store opens to 6 or 7 p.m., Snyder said.
-- Drew Foster: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org