For more than 60 years, Longville’s only grocery store has been owned and operated by members of the Tabaka family.
The store is currently owned by Pat Tabaka and is now managed by his daughter Lisa and daughter-in-law Mandy.
Pat’s parents John and Jean started the store back in the late 1940s, then sold in about 1965 to a Mr. and Mrs. Cole, who owned it for about 10 years.
When the Coles decided to sell in November 1975, Pat and his wife Maralyn were working in the Twin Cities — Pat, in construction and Maralyn, at Honeywell. They promptly moved back to Longville and bought the grocery.
Sadly, Maralyn, who was an integral part of Tabaka’s Family Foods for decades, died in August 2018 after a long illness.
The original store was a Red Owl affiliate, located on Longville’s Main Street (also known as County Road 5), half a block west of the intersection with Highway 84. In the early ‘80s it became a SuperValu store.
The current store was built in the winter of 1982-83 and opened in June 1983 at its present location on Highway 84.
“We have fully remodeled the store over the last two years,” says Lisa. “We installed new coolers and freezers, then new flooring, then bought new grocery carts. The next challenge will be parking lot upgrades.”
Tabaka’s Family Foods is supplied by grocery wholesaler UNFI, the successor to SuperValu. The store stocks a full line of groceries, meat, produce, bakery and other items.
And while store shelves are well stocked, sometimes it’s not possible to get every special order item that customers request — but they always try!
According to Lisa and Mandy, special orders, delivery service and personal attention are what keep customers coming back to Tabaka’s.
“They love the remodel, and some of our customers say they buy meat, produce and deli items to take back home!”
As with many stores, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the way Tabaka’s operated in 2020 and continues to operate in 2021.
“It’s a lot faster pace than normal,” Mandy reflects. “With fewer employees, it’s gotten harder ... to keep shelves full.” Business definitely increased during the pandemic, Lisa notes.
After two years of nonstop remodeling, the Tabakas don’t have any more particular changes planned.
“But we always like to find new projects!” Mandy adds.
Tabaka’s Family Foods, located at 5007 Hwy. 84 in Longville, is open seven days a week: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call (218) 363-2303.