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Frozen In Time: Amby’s Foods In Albany [VIDEO]

ALBANY — This week in our “Frozen In Time” series we stopped out to Amby’s Foods in Albany.

Amby’s was originally opened in 1974 by Amby Schneider. Schneider previously worked at a golf course in town. He started working for Gerald Thelen who owned Thelen Market.

Schneider bought the store from Thelen and moved locations in 1980. The store was among three grocery stores originally located along Main Street.

Schneider and his wife Mona employed their two sons Brian and Kurt to work in the store stocking shelves, filling ten pound bags of potatoes and doing various other odd jobs.

Brian Schneider works as the store’s manager and says the store is lucky to be around nearly 40 years after opening up shop.

“I was coming back from–I was at a concert. And, I drove into town at about 11:00 at night. There was water all over the place. I saw our dumpster floating by the four way stop,” says Brian.

On June 11th, 1984 there was a major flood that damaged nearly everything inside of of the store. The basement was filled with water up to the ceiling.

“The water receded after a couple hours. There was probably two inches of mud all over throughout the store and our basement was totally flooded,” recalls Brian.

Nearly all of the groceries and toiletries had to be thrown out. The flood caused the store to shut down for a week. Food that wasn’t damaged by the flood had to be thrown out due to its expiration date.

Community members helped remove the damaged and expired groceries from the store. Brian says, “Pretty much everything in the store was thrown…we had garbage truck after garbage truck come in.”

After the flood the store got back to business as usual. They have always bagged groceries for their customers and carried their customer’s groceries to their vehicle. The store has been slightly remodeled over the years but their operation hasn’t changed.

Kevin Soenneker has been working at Amby’s for nearly ten years. He says he knows most of his customers by name and has become familiar with some of their go to grocery items.

“You still see your 70 to 80-year-old gals and guys shopping that have been here…all their life shopping at Amby’s.”

Amby’s Foods is the only grocery store in Albany that participates in the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign. A student employee named Spencer Linn organized the effort last year which raised more than $3,000 for the charity.

Brian says it’s a tradition they plan to continue next year and for years to come.

More Frozen In Time

Ashli Gerdes, WJON News

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