Mark’s Mart wins silver in Retailer of the Year

Published 12:25 am Friday, September 28, 2012

“Mark’s Mart is more than just a neighborhood grocery store,” said Andrew Slagel, Mark’s Mart employee. “It’s a store meant to serve the community. Really, it should be called ‘The Selma Store.’”

Mark’s Mart, a local grocery store that offers specialty meats, fine wine and so much more, recently received the Silver Retailer of the Year award from the Alabama Retail Association. The store competed in the $1 million to $5 million annual sales category.

The small grocery store located on County Road 44 has been in business for 74 years, but really established itself 32 years ago when Odis and Clara King purchased it and made it their priority to serve the people of Selma and Dallas County.

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“My grandfather bought this store the day after he retired,” said Jacob King, third generation Mark’s Mart employee. King said he believes the store’s success has stemmed from their dedication to provide the community with items they want.

“We’ve definitely grown with the community,” King said. “Our wine selection has grown a lot because we’ve tried to listen to the community and their input on what kind of wine they want.”

King’s father, Rodney, is the current owner of the store.

Both Rodney and Jacob, along with Slagel, attended the awards ceremony in Birmingham during the 2012 Retail Day Luncheon, and said they were amazed with the outcome.

“When they didn’t call our names first for bronze and we knew we were going to get either gold or silver, that was really exciting,” Slagel said. “We all just kind of looked at each other and couldn’t believe it.”

Mark’s Mart competed against the largest pool of finalists since the contest’s conception, King said, so they were especially honored to receive the award.

The store dedicates itself to the “meal on the grill,” philosophy, King said. Filet mignon, rib eyes, New York strips, sirloin and steak kabobs can all be purchased at the store. And all Mark’s Mart beef is certified black angus, graded from high choice to prime.

And of course, you can’t forget about the famous Mark’s Mart chicken swirl, King said, which was one of the first items invented in the store. The swirl was quickly followed by the Cajun sausage-stuffed pork chops, onion and cheese-stuffed steak burgers and crab stuffed salmon swirls.

Slagel, who has worked at the store for seven years, added that although a lot of hours are spent working at the small country store, he loves his job and serving the community.

“We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t love it,” Slagel said. “It’s a lot of fun. Nobody has a set title here, we all pitch in everywhere.”

Another great part about being a Mark’s Mart employee, King said, is knowing the community on a personal level.

“We have the most loyal customers,” King said. “People come in two and three times a day, and really they’re more than customers, they’ve become our friends. They feel like it’s their store too.”