Walt Churchill's Markets
The Churchill family opened the doors to its very first Toledo based grocery store in 1917. Two brothers, Jim and Joe, saw a need in their community for a single location where families could find the groceries they needed, without having to brave the long trip downtown. They started by driving down to the Erie Street market every morning to purchase the produce, haul it back to the store, and stock the shelves in their family run and managed market. By 1937, business had begun to grow rapidly at their single location, and Walt Churchill, Sr., affectionately known as 'The General', would buy out his father to take sole possession of the family business. A mere two years later, Walt would be stationed in Iceland to protect the country against the threat of World War Two. He was then moved to the Pacific front until his return to the states in 1945, at the conclusion of the war. Walt would maintain the local chapter of the Marine Corp reserves and served in commanding positions both locally and nationally. For his efforts both abroad and at home, was awarded the Gold star medal, and eventually become one of a very select few men in the history of the country to achieve the rank of Major General in the Marine Corps.
Though a proud and devoted military man, his duties did not deter Walt from becoming a successful businessman as well, as the chain of Churchill's shopping centers flourished under his direction, from 1937 until his eventual retirement and death in 1998. Always a man who put the customer first, The General was a grocery pioneer as much as an entrepreneur, opening up the first official 'super market' in the Toledo are with his Central avenue location. His stores we some of the first in the country to have its own dedicated parking lot, Frozen Meat Department, and, in 1971, he was on the forefront of 'One-Stop Shopping' model that has come to dominate the grocery industry since. His vision and his leadership continue to guide the principles of Churchill's markets to this day, under the steady hand and watchful eye of the third generation of successful Churchills men.
Walt Churchill Jr. assumed control of the company following his fathers passing in 1998, with the vision of maintaining his father's and grandfather's place in the Toledo grocery business. After serving a decorated and illustrious 30 year career of his own with the Marines, Walt Jr returned to help his father run the business and to help keep the company growing and evolving well into the 2000's. Despite attempted partnerships with other grocery store chains in the area, Walt Churchill always felt that no store captured the heart and soul of his father's legacy, and so he purchased the Briarfield location in 2005 and re-purchased the Perrysburg location in 2009, branding both as the Walt Churchill's Markets that you see today.
Churchill's Markets continue to maintain its strong relationship with farmers and local produce distributors, in the long tradition of buying produce from farmer's markets that started the stores nearly 100 years ago. Walt himself still makes weekly trips to local farmers and produce distributors to maintain those relationships and to ensure that only the finest local produce finds its way onto Churchill's shelves. Walt has long understood that the marketplace ought to be an enjoyable experience between store and customer, that the focus should be eliminating the sterile 'big-box' feeling by returning to the smaller, intimate speciality stores you see today. Rare and interesting items, exceptional customer service, unparalleled variety and a store that honors the growers and producers of the Midwest are hallmarks of the Churchill's experience, something you won't find anywhere else in Northwest Ohio.