Happy Birthday to a Knox business that WKVI has had a long relationship with. Five Star in Knox opened on this date 47 years ago today.
The first manager, and part owner, was Ben Lipke.
At one time, Five Star had seven stores, and Ben remembered opening the store here.
“I was the Manager of the LaPorte store from 1959 on and we got a lot of people coming up from the Knox area to cash checks and buy groceries on weekends which made me think that maybe they needed a store here,” remembered Lipke. “We came down and looked around and decided to open a store which is now Smith’s Farm Store.”
Ben remembered the early days and how the store built its reputation on “the best meat around.”
“The grocery business has never been an easy business. It’s very competitive when you’re a small store like we were compared to some of the big chains who had much greater buying power. It was tough. We built our business, and it still is, on our meat department. We have a fine meat department and we always did. In fact, we were one of the only stores at that time that had signs up in the store where if you were not happy with your meat at Five Star, we would double your money back. Very rarely did anybody ever take advantage of that. I can’t remember a time and there were probably a couple of times that it happened, but that’s something I never saw in any other store.”
Rod Tarnow, who has since retired was one of the early employees at the Knox store, having come down from LaPorte. Another early hire and who is still with the store is Rick Raab.
Happy Birthday, Five Star!