Dave Biderman retired from SUPERVALU in February 2010 after a 33 year career in the food and drug industry which started with Osco Drug in 1977. Dave recently joined the Alumni Club and provides us with the following recollections.
On July 3, 1977 Dave Biderman was hired by Jay Jensen and Gary Pavlik as a part time clerk in Normal, Illinois at Osco #413. The store management team needed to hire a person 21 years of age or older who could legally ring out liquor purchases during the evening hours. Dave had just graduated college, got married, started appraising houses in another job. Income from Osco provided money on a regular basis.
Richard Rounds, Jay and Gary kept trying to persuade Dave to join the management ranks as a trainee but he kept refusing as he was planning to sell real estate with the goal of retiring at the age of 30. Dave eventually agreed and began his management career as a trainee in Osco #870 East Moline, Illinois working with store manager Jerry Millard. He learned a lot from Jerry and really enjoyed the 9 months in the store.
Dave was then promoted to a second assistant at Osco #411 working with Duane Davis. Duane by far was the most energetic, caring, fun individual he had ever worked with. Dave has so many fond memories of Duane and his beautiful wife Darlene it would take pages to cover all of them. Dave’s one memory that stands out the most in working with Duane was how to make money for the company and oneself.
Dave was promoted to Osco #881 and worked with Vern Miller after 10 months in Galesburg, Illinois. Vern was a 'hoot' and could always beat him at golf and beer drinking. Vern had the philosphy of "we and not me”, which Dave has never forgotten that comment and used that throughout his career.
From Osco #881, Dave went to a corporate Osco assignment and became a management college recruiter. Dave and his beautiful wife had a 10 day old baby when they moved to Chicago where he was greeted with open arms. He traveled so much that year that he missed too much of his daughter’s growth and asked to go back the stores where he could continue his goal of becoming a store manager.
The Biderman family moved to the Champaign, Illinois market and worked with Bob Pierce who was the store manager at Osco #887. He worked with Bob for several months and then was moved over to Osco #412 and worked with Len Omland. He was with Len until he left to go start his own business. Dave was crushed as in his mind he lost a big supporter. Duane Davis was moved to Osco #412 so he was able to renew their friendship, work ethic and once again became very close. His wife Darlene still looked as young as ever and to Dave she looked like Duane’s daughter! Dave felt he was back on track with Duane.
Duane and Richard Rounds moved him to Osco #892 as the manager had left for another opportunity. Dave ran the store as a first assistant for 9 months hoping and assuming he would become the store manager. The business brought up Gary Volkening from Missouri to run the store. Duane came to the store to meet with Dave and explain why he was not getting the store. Dave obviously was crushed but very appreciative of Duane going out of his way to meet with him. Dave’s second daughter Sarah was born in Champaign.
Richard called Dave on his day off at the car dealership and asked him to drive over to Normal, Illinois to meet with him. Dave was pumped as he assumed he was being promoted to a store manager until Richard told Dave that he was going to move to Arkansas as a first assistant. Dave and Richard talked for a couple of hours as he continued to say 'no'. Jim Willyard was called and spoke to Dave where he continued to indicate 'no way'. Jim and Richard were going to get Tork Fuglestad on the phone when Dave changed his tune and stated 'okay'.
Dave started off at Osco #898 and was promoted store manager at Osco #418. Dave and family really enjoyed the time spent in Little Rock, Arkansas and was asked to move to Osco #411 Galesburg, Illinois. After two years, Dave and family moved back to Galesburg and started in the store the day after Thanksgiving. Dave being the merchant he was felt the need to get on the sales floor ASAP to ensure the end caps were right and the store was standing tall. One of the associates Crissy, came up to him and politely asked him to go back to the office and stay out of their way. He retreated and just watched from the office window. Dave had a blast in this store as the associates were the same as when he worked for Duane several years earlier. Dave and the store team always tried to be creative. They were the first to sell concrete statuary, sold rabbit food during Easter and gave rabbits away. Duane had sold beautiful clocks when he ran this stores and the team kept up the tradition with Larry Groff who was the department head. What a store. Tork called every week and asked what Dave was doing to drive sales. Dave told Tork it was the associates that made the difference and they were the reason we were so successful. Dave had a great time working with Ken Walker who was the District Manager. Dave always told his wife that he believed Ken liked him even though every time he came in he just shook his head. Bill Bates later became the District Manager and moved Dave to the Market Manager position in Springfield, Illinois, replacing the legendary Cal Schwandt. Dave had pretty big shoes to fill and very much enjoyed the time in Springfield. What a great group of store managers!
Springfield, Illinois led to Oak Brook, Illinois in 1990 as Dave became Human Resource Manager reporting to both Jim Willyard, VP of Central Region and Pat Johnston, VP of Human Resources. After two years, the scope of Dave's responsibilities expanded as he became HR Manager for Osco stores in three regions, Eastern, Chicagoland and Central with three secretaries: Jean Baranowski, Dorothy Carey and Margie Glikas.
In 1994, Dave was asked to move to Salt Lake City, Utah as a Director of Human Resources for American Stores Company. He ran the Administration side of the business and was promoted after two years to Vice President of HR Administration for approximately three years until the merger of Albertsons and American Stores Company. In 1999, Dave was asked to move to Boise, Idaho where he continued in the same position for several more years. Dave was asked to run HR for the Rocky Mountain Division which he did for two years. The drag of traveling Monday through Friday began to takes its toll on Dave and his family.
Dave left HR and joined the merchandising team for the Intermountain West Division of Albertsons and remained in this department until his retirement in February 2010.
Dave was retired for approximately 48 hours when he received a phone call from a startup company called Toe Juice. The plan is to take the product nationally.
Have a look at the website. If you have contacts with other retail companies and are willing, please share the name, title and phone number with Dave please do so. Dave’s email address is: Dave@toejuice.com.
Dave stated that he had quite a career, had a blast and never once had a bad day! He wanted to thank all of his friends for their help over the years.