Joe’s Ideal Market

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Before there was Safeway, and before there was Bales Thriftway, there was Joe’s. In 1947 the store opened in the now-demolished two-story building at the southeast corner of Murray and Cornell. C&H Hardware was on one side, and Joe’s on the other. 

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Joe Smith hands the keys to new owners, Lynn Lovenguth, Rick Dasso, and Bill Mineau

A lively discussion on the local Facebook group, “You Know You’re from Beaverton When…” turned up many memories. People who lived in Marlene Village, and later in Terra Linda when that was built in the ‘60s, recall stopping in for candy, comic books, and beef jerky on their way home from school at Sunset Valley Elementary, a K-8 school located where Home Depot is now. They shopped for their mothers and “put it on the account.” 

Everyone said that Joe Smith understood what it was to be a community resource. He sponsored sports teams, employed local kids, and gave credit to families when they needed it. One neighbor recalls, “Joe Smith was a great human being. He ran his business by taking care of neighbors. Even when Safeway opened he remodeled and expanded, and held his own. They had rentable freezer space, actual butchers, and he bought local [meat and produce] from Hillsboro, Forest Grove, etc.”

Marv Schlabs, who owned Century Pharmacy at that time, says, “Even after Safeway opened their big store, the people who liked the personal service still went to Joe’s.”

Lynn Lovenguth was the butcher. In addition to cutting fresh meat, he did custom cutting of game. Another neighbor commented, “I remember the butcher counter vividly where whole cow tongues were on display!” Another remembers stuffed pork chops. Many were big fans of the beef jerky and would get that on their way home from school at Sunset Valley. 

Pacific Office Automation

Bill Mineau, who had been the store manager, along with Dasso and Lovenguth, bought the business from Joe Smith in 1970 and changed the name to Ideal Market. By that time, the store had moved into a new building north of Cornell that now houses Miller Paint and Papa John’s Pizza. Smith had been putting revenue into an escrow account so that his employees could buy him out when he was ready to retire. 

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Joe Smith and his wife, Blanche

Mineau’s daughter Suzanne started the Facebook thread. She sent us an article from the February 1976 issue of “The Oregon Independent Grocer” with a cover article about the ownership transfer. “The success of Ideal Market during the past almost thirty years can be attributed to Joe Smith’s smiling personality and friendly attitude. His fair and considerate treatment of his employees is refelcted in the friendly and cordial attitude demonstrated by these employees in dealing with their customers.” (Same as it always has been!)

The article says, “Rick Dasso has his own pickup truck and personally visits the wholesale produce row each day to select quality produce…He lives in the Canby area and also operates a small farm where he raises a great deal of vegetables for the customers of Ideal Market.” 

“Lynn Lovenguth has developed a large volume meat business which attracts customers from many miles away because they prefer to receive the expert and personal services of a qualified meat cutter. Many order sides of beef at Ideal Market to be stored in the locker plant which has also been an attraction to customers who keep their locker stocked with a variety of meat and produce items.”

The article continues, “’The business policies of Ideal Market will continue in the future, because we intend to follow to the best of our ability the sound, honest, and ethical business philosophy of Joe Smith,’ states Bill Mineau, with the unanimous endorsement of Rick and Lynn.”

The article goes on to praise the method of transfer and recommend it to other independent retailers. “This type of program should be formulated on a larger scale if independent grocers are to continue to be a factor in the food industry of America.” Ah, the good old days.