After 20 years out of state, Rick Kuhn is enjoying his return to North Dakota. Customers at Marketplace Foods in Minot are enjoying his return too. Kuhn, Marketplace’s meat and seafood manager, can be found behind the counter or checking the content of products for sale.
The Dunseith High School graduate got his start at a Bottineau grocery store. Later he became part owner of a grocery store in Crosby. More recently he wrapped up an eight-year stay in Custer, S.D., prior to accepting his current position at Marketplace Foods at its 1930 S. Broadway location.
“I’ve pretty much done everything from the slaughterhouse to retail for a good 25 to 30 years,” said Kuhn. “My wife is from the area, family is still here and my youngest daughter is in college now. That makes us empty nesters. We just thought it was a good time to come home.”
Kuhn started his job March 1st and was house shopping at the same time. The flood of 2011 tore into Minot in June.
“I had looked at homes that are no longer there,” said Kuhn. “I’m very, very fortunate I didn’t buy something. We actually built a home in Surrey and got into that about a month ago.”
Free from the housing disruption experienced by many in the Minot area this year, Kuhn was able to fully concentrate on his new duties at Marketplace Foods. He is quite particular about the quality of meat, seafood and poultry offered for sale. His reasoning is simple customer care.
“That’s most important, absolutely essential,” said Kuhn. “Without the customer you don’t have a job and you don’t do business. It’s a pretty simple philosophy. We make sure we bring in the highest quality product and present it that way. We buy heavy to get the best deals and pass that on to our customers. It’s a busy, busy store and a good company.”
Kuhn stresses that his department won’t put anything out for sale that they wouldn’t put on their own dinner table. Special orders are welcome at anytime too. Fresh fish is ordered every Monday and Thursday and arrives in the store Tuesdays and Fridays.
“It’s amazing how quickly we can get fresh fish here and pork has come on really strong the last few years. It’s raised better and taken care of better. Poultry is just healthy and people are so much more health conscious,” noted Kuhn.
An increasing number of cooking shows can be found on various television networks today, even on the Internet. Kuhn says customers sometimes ask for items that aren’t regularly found in the meat market. In that case, said Kuhn, “we find out about it and do our best to get it for our customers.”
“Customers share their knowledge with us and that’s kind of nice,” said Kuhn. “If we can get what they want, we will.”
When it comes to cuts of beef, Kuhn calls himself “old school,” preferring meat with obvious marbling. Those cuts, said Kuhn, have a lot more flavor and can be a lot more tender than select cuts.
Cooking makes a difference too. Sometimes a good cook can make an excellent meal out of what may be considered a lesser cut of beef. Conversely, good cuts of beef may become less than satisfactory on the table if mishandled by an inexperienced cook. To help, Kuhn said his department welcomes customers’ questions about cuts and preparation.
“A lot of people have never made a certain cut, so we offer suggestions,” said Kuhn. “We have a nice, clean, bright store and offer the highest quality and service that we can.”
That is a very good, and very tasty, combination