By Anita Reding
Shelton's Supermarkets, which have been in operation in Stigler for more than seven decades and in Checotah since the late 1990s, have been sold.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, the stores became part of the Market Square grocery store family, which is owned by the Velasquez family.
In a media release issued a few days before the new owners assumed operations, Stan Shelton, who most recently operated the Stigler store, said “We are excited about this opportunity for our communities. The new owners are a family company that shares the same passion, zeal and ethics as we do in running their operation. We have developed a great relationship with them over the past years as they share the same ownership in Plains Dairy and Tri-State Bakery that we have through our warehouse in Amarillo, Texas.”
“It has been a joy to collaborate and work toward this transition,” Shelton said. “Both of our families have worked together with our stores' management teams to build an amazing bond that has truly provided a comfort with our staff that will continue to serve our communities. It is rare in the business world to find another company that shares the same excitement and devotion to its employees as we do and realize that the biggest asset to any operation is the people who are responsible for running the day-to-day operations. This type of atmosphere always provides a customer-friendly environment that leads to exceptional service and a fantastic shopping experience.”
He continued, “We want to thank the generations of customers we have had the privilege and honor to serve over the last 78 years. It is a blessing to be a part of towns that show such support. We know that our communities will continue to support these stores in the same way, just as we will by providing patronage and loyalty through our daily purchases.”
Shelton's Supermarket has been in operation in Stigler since 1946. Dick Shelton operated the market until 1976. Wes Shelton operated it from 1976 to 2005, and Stan Shelton has been at the helm since 2005.
The first store was approximately 3,500 square feet and the current Stigler store occupies approximately 23,000 square feet.
Shelton's beginnings go back to 1932 when the seven Shelton brothers opened a service station in McKey.
Dick Shelton and his wife Lorene moved to Stigler and opened Shelton's Cut-Rate Grocery Store in 1946.
Shelton's moved locations in Stigler in 1949 and again in 1961 to its current location at 208 W. Main.
The Checotah store opened in 1997 and is operated by Richard Shelton, grandson.
Tom Velasquez, partner and general manager, of Market Square, offered comments of respect and praise for the Shelton family and the stores they have operated. “We're excited about being in Stigler,” Valesquez said. “We know that we have some big shoes to fill.”
He added that Market Square is a family-owned business and the Velasquez family respects the business that the Shelton family has built.
The new owners also focused on the employees of the stores during the transition of ownership. “making all the existing employees comfortable and happy,” Velasquez said. We're keeping everyone that wants to work for us.”
Market Square management has met with all employees at least once and “assured them they are the strength of the store” because they have built relationships with the customers and live in the community.
Velasquez added that the stores in Stigler and Chectoah are well-run and major renovations are not currently planned. A new POS (Point of Sale) system was to be implemented immediately, but shoppers at the store may not notice the difference, he said.
Market Square is based in Wheeler, Texas, which is a small town, he said. The company was started in 1972 by his parents. “We're still a family-owned company, he said.
With the purchases of the Stigler and Checotah stores, the company now has 11 grocery stores he said. Five of the stores are in Texas, and the others are in Oklahoma. The company also owns and operates a store in Eufaula.
All stores operate under the Market Square banner.