Major changes slated for iconic Haley’s Grocery

Many changes have taken place at Haley’s Grocery since it opened in 1948.

And now customers and Marshalltown area residents can expect more at the north-side family-owned business.

Store owners Stan and Leslie Groh of Marshalltown said Tuesday the business will be changing its focus to best respond to increasing customer demands for their homemade delicatessen food, barbecued meats and catering services.

“The growth in our business has been back here,” Leslie Groh said, as she pointed at the store’s deli and drive-up window. “Ever since my grandfather opened the store it has been responding to changing customer needs, and that is what we are doing now.”

That means Haley’s, 501 N. Third Ave., will be getting out of the grocery business so the Grohs can devote more time to the deli, barbecue and catering side.

This Friday marks the final day groceries will be sold.

The Grohs said the decision to drop groceries was difficult, as they understood many of their north-side neighbors liked shopping for them at the store and consequently, long-time friendships had been made.

“We know so many folks by their first name,” Leslie said, and they knew ours … we really cherished those friendships.”

The decision to change was a highly personal one for the couple, and one that took years to finalize.

Les Haley, Leslie’s grandfather opened the business in what was the former Swanson’s Meats building in 1948. The grocery business has been in her blood since 1964. Stan said he has worked at Haley’s Grocery for more than 30 years.

The store will be closed for a limited time beginning Saturday for an extensive remodeling project the Grohs hope will be finished by Nov. 30 or sooner.

“It all depends on the contractors,” Stan said. “Installing a sprinkler system upstairs and downstairs and throughout the store is a major part of the remodeling project.”

Upon reopening the store will have a new name, Haley’s Deli, Barbecue and Catering.

Store hours will be established in the near future, they said.

The store’s deli was installed in 1978 and the Grohs have seen sales grow since.

“We will still have the carry-out, drive-up service and we will still be selling the fresh salads,” Leslie said. “Customers can still call ahead and order their meal to go.”

Or they can eat in. There will be much more seating in the newly remodeled store.

“We have been gravitating toward a restaurant for some time,” Stan said.

The Grohs said they initially invested in barbecue equipment in 1998 and have seen that segment of their business increase substantially to the degree that more, and faster grilling equipment was purchased to keep up with demand.

“Again, we want to thank our many loyal customers over the years,” Stan said. “And I hope they come back to see what we have to offer when we reopen.”