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TYLER, Minn. -- Last week, Tyler Wholesale ceased business operations after 74 years, according to a Marshall Independent report. The company served as a food supplier to gas stations, convenience stores, drugstores, bars and schools in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.
Tyler Wholesale was founded in 1937 and has been run by the Dass family since 1965, when CEO Curt Dass' father purchased the company.
"Business has been very good to us and our employees," said Dass. "As our chapter closes at Tyler Wholesale, we wish the very best for any individual retailers, and right now that's the most endangered species there is in small-town USA."
Declining sales during the recession led to Dass' decision to sell the company to Henry's Foods Inc. "We had a route through Lake Benton to Butterfield. There were 10 stores generating $35,000 to $45,000 a week," he recalled. "Today, all those stores are locked up. We also lost a lot of drugstores, cafes, bars and schools. All of those businesses are locked up. When opportunity knocked, we looked at our customer list and asked, 'Where are we going to be in 10 years?'"
Dass also cited large chains' preference for a single, bigger wholesaler as a reason behind the lost business. "If they've got 40 locations in eight states, they want one wholesaler to take care of that," he said.
Ten employees lost their jobs when the company ceased operations last week, according to the report. Dass is currently repairing the company building, which was damaged during a July tornado, and preparing it for sale, as well as seeking a buyer for the business' truck fleet.