On September 13, 2014 Lincoln—and Nebraska—lost a leader, a philanthropist and a grocery man. Russ Raybould died at age 92, but he leaves behind a lifetime of innovation and dedication to serving customers and community. Raybould started his grocery business 50 years ago with partner Clayton Burnett when they opened B&R IGA at 17th and Washington Streets in Lincoln. Later he purchased Burnett’s share of the company that became B&R Stores. The original store became a Russ’s Market, and on May 14 of this year he returned there to celebrate the 50th anniversary with his family and the Russ’s Market community.
Under Raybould’s leadership B&R Stores steadily grew to become the largest independent grocer in the region. Today the company owns six Russ’s Market Stores in Lincoln and one in Hastings. In 1984 he saw the potential of the warehouse grocery concept and launched the price conscious Super Saver brand. Today there are nine Super Saver locations in Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Columbus and Council Bluffs, Iowa. B&R Stores also operates Grand Central Apple Market in Kearney and the Save Best grocery store in Lincoln. B&R Stores employs more than 2,000 people and about half of them are part-owners in the company.
As the business grew, Raybould still enjoyed serving customers in the stores. In 1997 he was honored for his leadership and innovation in the grocery business with the IGA International Retailer of the Year Award. He also knew the importance of giving back to the communities served by B&R Stores. Raybould was an early member of the board for the Lincoln Food Bank (now the Food Bank of Lincoln), and was instrumental in starting the FoodNet program in Lincoln. Through his support of numerous worthy causes, Raybould established a culture of giving within the company.
Today, as the company celebrates the 50th anniversary of Russ’s Market stores, it looks ahead to new ways of serving customers. Recently the company opened a new state-of-the-art Russ’s Market store in Hastings, offering more services and a wider selection of specialty foods. A new, larger Super Saver store is planned for Grand Island. The Super Saver location in Lincoln’s Fallbrook neighborhood recently celebrated its first birthday.
But growth and innovation extend beyond the stores. The Russ’s Market Community Rewards program is a new approach to customer rewards cards. It offers special discounts, but it’s also a way to encourage customers to join Russ’s Market in funding organizations that improve the quality of life in our cities and towns. The annual Russ’s Market Wine and Food Experience has become the premier event of its kind and the largest fundraising event for the Lincoln Community Playhouse. Employees of B&R Stores continue to volunteer their time and talents throughout their communities.
Russ’s Market stores have seen a lot of changes over the last 50 years. More changes are coming with new technology and opportunities to grow. But through it all, the legacy of an old-fashioned grocery man who took joy in serving his customers and his community will continue to be the company’s foundation.
17th & Washington | 402-477-1238
70th & Van Dorn | 402-483-0044
66th & O | 402-466-8111
33rd & Hwy 2 | 402-420-1414
63rd & Havelock | 402-464-5804
Coddington & West A | 402-477-6236