Community loses iconic businessman

Kenny Drever’s grocery store was a downtown staple

By Per Peterson

As good of a person as he was a businessman, Kenny Drever left an indelible mark on Tracy and on anyone he came in contact with.

Drever, who owned and operated Ken’s Super Valu from 1968-1989, died on Thursday, April 18, at the age of 92.

Tracy Food Pride owner Bruce Schelhaas worked for Drever at Ken’s Super Valu in the early 1970s, running the meat department.

“We go a long way back,” he said.

Schelhaas would later purchase the store after Drever sold the business to John Graf. Schelhaas said he remembers Drever as a good man, and a fun man with a huge personality.

“He was one of our best banana buyers, and he could always guess the right price, or come pretty close,” Schelhaas laughed. “Kenny and a few of our other customers had a thing — every Wednesday is our banana day and they would always try to guess the price. Ken was always pretty good. And he knew enough to weigh them on the scale, so he had a pretty good idea. It was kind of a game between all those guys.”

Being in the same business, Schelhaas has a profound respect for his former boss, who ran a grocery store at a time when competition was everywhere.

“Back in his day they had three or four stores in town,” he said. “Instead of having competition like we do from Marshall they had competition in town. He was a good operator. He was always in a jovial mood, but he kept things under control as well. He was a good businessman. He’s kind of a Tracy icon.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.