By Judy Tacyn
Forty-five years ago, Ed and Helen Lauer purchased the Super Thrift grocery store at the intersection of Mountain and Tick Neck roads with a vision of establishing a family-owned and community-based grocery store to serve their Pasadena community.
The Lauers’ hard work ensured the vision would be as strong in 1974 as it is today, 45 years later, under the leadership of their daughters, Bernie Snoops and Babbie Poyer.
“I think our parents would be very happy that we’ve made it 45 years,” said Poyer, “and I think they would be very excited about where the next 45 years will take us.”
Snoops agreed, saying, “Mom and Dad would be surprised by what’s going on in the industry today, but they’d be very happy that the Lauer’s tradition continues.”
Last year, Lauer’s Supermarket & Bakery added online shopping with curb pickup — another example of the store’s impressive customer service. Poyer expects delivery to be the store’s next offering.
The addition of those services may have been hard to foresee in 1982 when Ed and Helen added a second store by purchasing the Acme Supermarket in Riviera Beach. In 1998, the original store relocated to its current Chesterfield location on Edwin Raynor Boulevard at Mountain Road. In 1999, the family acquired space once occupied by Rite Aid. The additional space brought the store to 40,000 square feet, three times the size of the original store.
Snoops and Poyer purchased the store from their parents in 2006, though they had been running the business since the late ‘90s. Snoops worked in the store since 1974, and Poyer since 1982. Together they build on the traditions of their parents to keep their focus squarely on the customer.
That service doesn’t stop at the door to Lauer’s. Snoops and Poyer estimate that Lauer’s has donated $1 million locally since 1994, with $40,000 given annually to area schools through the Lauer’s Learning Ladder program, which allows customers to donate a portion of their grocery purchase to a school of their choice.
Lauer's also participates in the Pasadena Business Association's annual Caring & Sharing Community Harvest Parade. Each November, the event serves to collect nonperishable foods that are donated to local food shelters.
The Pasadena store is also known for fresh food, just like you would make at home. “We don’t buy pre-packed meat; everything is cut right here onsite by butchers,” said Snoops. “Also, in our deli are only homemade salads.”
The homemade tradition continues in the bakery, where bakers make everything from scratch. “The bakery was our mother’s project,” Snoops added. “We hope we have kept it just the way she would want it.”
Customer service is always top priority at Lauer’s, where when shopping, the sisters say they hope everyone feels like family. Snoops said she and her sister strive to maintain a family atmosphere where customers and employees, like Betty Ann McNelly, feel welcome and appreciated. McNelly is the longest-tenured associate not related to the Lauer family. She joined the team in 1976 as a front-end manager and works part-time in accounting today.
Barbara Butt, a lifelong Pasadena resident, has been shopping at Lauer’s for nearly 40 years. She said she prefers the local grocer over the mega-stores because of the friendly, family atmosphere.
“Checkout lines are much shorter here, and everyone is very friendly,” said Butt. “Everyone says ‘hello,’ not just those at the checkout.” She also said that Lauer’s is close to her home, and if she needs something and cannot find it in the store, the employees are always willing to get it for her. “Everything I need is right here. There is no reason to go anywhere else.”
Community Contributors: Local Businesses Step Up And Give Back
Small Businesses Think Resourcefully To Keep Up In The Era Of Digital Shopping And Big-Box Stores
All In The Family: Lauer's Supermarket & Bakery
Lauer’s Supermarket & Bakery Offers A Fresh Approach
Lauer’s To Celebrate 40th Anniversary With Open House
Lauer’s Supermarket & Bakery: “Shopping Locally Is An Investment In The Community”
Despite Tough Market, Pasadena’s Independently Owned Grocery Stores Continue To Thrive
Lauer's Is A Local Icon