Chamber salutes contributions of Vogt family

Cynthia Fleming (center), president of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, presents cards of appreciation to Todd Vogt and Karleen Vogt during a March 11 luncheon.More than 40 people attended the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce luncheon March 11 to commemorate the Vogt family for 89 years of service in the grocery business, and to welcome the new owners of the store in Hillsboro Heights.

Clint Seibel, executive director of Hillsboro Development Corp., spoke about the Vogt family and its many accomplishments.

?Vogt?s Hometown Market, better known to many of us as Vogt?s IGA, has had a long history of providing grocery services to the citizens of Hillsboro and Marion County,? he said.

Established in 1925, the first location was on East Grand where Hillsboro Dental Care now sets.

Seibel said the Frank D. Vogt family moved from Nebraska to the Lehigh area.

?The 1905 city census describes Frank D. Vogt as a creamery operator,? he said. ?In those days, every farmer milked cows and would separate the cream from the milk, which was brought into town and sold to the Vogt?s Cream Station.?

In 1925, Vogt and his grown sons opened a retail business that specialized in purchasing and shipping sweet cream. Eight years later, the business was moved across the alley and a new store front became home to F.D. Vogt Produce and Grocery.

?Many of us might remember this building as Vogt?s IGA on East Grand Street,? Seibel said.

Six sons worked at the produce and grocery: Albert, Sam, Jake, Frank, Arnold, and the youngest son, John.

After F.D. Vogt retired, three of the sons took over the business and the name was changed to Vogt Brothers IGA.

?Two of the brothers died,? Seibel said, ?leaving the store to John, the father of JoAnn (Vogt) Foyle and Jerold Vogt. The business was then named Vogt?s IGA.?

During the next several years, the grocery business continued to grow, prompting remodeling and expansion projects in the early 1940s.

Not long after, John?s children, JoAnn and Jerold, began working in the store, which lasted all through their school age years.

?JoAnn married Harvey Foyle, who many of us remember from his days as a teacher in the Hillsboro school system,? Seibel said. ?Jerold married Karleen, who joined the business as a full-time employee.?

More changes

In 1973, John Vogt died suddenly at age 53, leaving the business to his wife, Fern.

?It was at that time Jerold and Karleen purchased the business from their mother,? Seibel said. ?This has definitely been a family business through the years?parents working with their children for five generations.?

In 2003, Vogt?s IGA embarked on an ambitious expansion project, he said.

?The aging 6,500-square-foot building was a limiting factor to the growth of the business,? Seibel said.

?Teaming up with the city of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro Development Corp., the Vogt family secured the needed financing for a 15,000-square-foot building expansion costing $2.8 million.?

Name changes

That building, located in the Hillsboro Heights Addition, was renamed Vogt?s Hometown Market.

The expanded facilities required additional employees to handle all of the services, which included a deli and bakery.

?Vogt?s increased their staff by 30 percent, which totaled 40 employees,? Seibel said.

The grocery store has also been a place where students find part-time employment, giving many an opportunity to prove themselves as responsible employees.

?For many students, Vogt?s is the first employer listed on their resume,? he said.

?(The store) actively supported our community through youth sports activities ranging from sponsoring radio broadcasts for Hillsboro USD 410 and Tabor College sporting events to donating food and drinks for the after-prom party,? Seibel said.

The Vogt family also supported the Hillsboro City Recreation program by providing team uniforms, snacks, bottled water and other items.

?Jerold always displayed a servant attitude throughout his life,? Seibel said. ?Like his dad, Jerold also died young at the age of 63 while he was still active in his business.?

Final ownership

After his death, Jerold?s wife, Karleen, and their two sons, Todd and John, took over the business.

Seibel said Todd, like his father, had a strong interest in the grocery business and also has a servant heart.

?He spent many hours together with his mother, Karleen, serving the community,? he said.

Through the years, Todd worked every aspect of the business, from bag boy to stock boy to office manager.

Todd served as president of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, Seibel added.

?Vogt?s Hometown Market has been a vital part of the economic growth of Hillsboro,? Seibel said.

It was one of the first businesses to locate in the newly developed Hillsboro Heights business district along U.S. Highway 56.

?Their presence has been a key factor in attracting other businesses to the area,? Seibel said. ?Within the past 10 to 12 years, some 14 businesses have been established in this part of town.?

Saying thanks

Seibel asked that everyone thank the Vogts for serving the community for so many years.

?Vogt?s has been a place where we bought food, a place where shoppers would meet each other and share their lives, where many people have earned their livelihood and where our children got their first jobs,? he said.

Not only did the family serve the community, but Seibel said that as this era of ownership comes to a close, they also left a ?fantastic facility? for the new owners to continue.

?We are excited that Todd, a representative of the Vogt family, will continue working in the business, doing what he does so well,? he said.

?We hope Karleen will now be able to take some time for herself and do all those things she has always wanted to do.?

Cynthia Fleming, president of the Chamber, presented the Vogts with cards written by local businesses and individuals expressing gratitude.

One of the new owners, John Dryer of Heartland Foods, was welcomed during the luncheon, and talked about how his family, also in the grocery store business, is looking forward to serving the community.

Dryer thanked the Vogts for their many years of service to the Hillsboro area.

For more information about the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, call 620-947-3506.

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