Victor’s Market Going the Extra Mile

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Diane Border is a lifelong resident of Victor, IA, a town of 880 residents located just north of I-80 at exit 205, in Iowa County. Victor’s Market is much more than a gas station and c-store. Since the town of Victor does not have a grocery store Victor’s Market carries many items specifically to save their customers having to drive the extra miles for groceries.“I guess it’s our niche,” explains Diane. “The greatest compliment is when a customer stops in and takes an item from the shelf and says thank you for having this in the store now I don’t have to go to make a trip to the grocery store.” Their niche saves customers time and money, and keeps them coming back, as well as spreading the word to others.


A key to their success is a lesson Diane learned when she started her first job at Big G in Marengo and she was not nearly as confident as she is today. Diane had been a stay-at-home mom raising 6 children. Her boss asked her why she looked at the floor and did not make eye contact with the customers or him? “Look at me, and remember to look at our customers and let them know you are glad to see them,” he said. “I have never forgotten those words and we make sure our employees know this is a rule to live by.”“I think it helps that most of our employees are local too, and some of them were co-workers when I managed the local Pronto for 10 years,” said Diane. “Gary Juhl, my manager at Pronto, taught me everything he could about the convenience store industry, I was

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eager to learn as much as I possibly could from him. I felt that the more I absorbed and understood about the business, the more effective I could be at operating the store successfully. I am so grateful to have had that mentoring and instruction.”


Diane has another Pronto memory of a time after an ice storm left most of the town without power for several days. It was another lesson learned along the way. “Watching merchandise be destroyed, not to mention the time it took to bring all the equipment back on-line, was painstaking, said Diane.” “The one item I said I would have when we bought this location was a full-store generator – it almost guarantees we will never lose power – but so worth it.”

victors market canopy close nameDiane and her husband Steve make a great team. Steve does the marketing with his previous experience of being a webmaster. Their website includes their weekly lunch schedule, local weather, and great pictures of the store taken by Steve. Plus, they have over 400 followers on Facebook. “Why not do Facebook? It is free marketing,” said Steve. “It gets the word out about what is going on and it is fun to include pictures of our customers and information on upcoming events here at the store.”



Christmas Party2Every year the town of Victor takes a day in December to celebrate the holiday season. This year the Victor’s Market wanted to be part of the festivities. “We contacted a guy who is a one-man band to come and sing back in the corner, we also did wine tasting, and we had a crowd,” said Diane as she smiled. “We won’t wait until the holidays to do it again!” The pictures and video on Facebook confirmed the day’s success.

Another example of going the extra mile is the addition of Dayton’s meat to Victor’s Market. “We go to Malcom, about 17 miles, to pick-up the meat, but it has been a great addition,” says Diane.

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“Customers stop in and want to find something for dinner and given the fact we now have meat they are able to find something to take home to complete their meal. Dayton’s have a great reputation for their meat so customers know they are getting a quality product.”

In many small towns across Iowa the c-store has become a gathering place for coffee in the morning and afternoon, in addition to the lunch crowd. At Victor‘s Market they even have a group of ladies who meet once a week for their book club. Thanks to in-store charge accounts companies are able to come and pick-up lunch for workers and know once a month they can take care of their charges. They even do credit for parents who call to let them know they are sending a child to fill up with gas – just put it on my account.

Diane has many wishes for their store – like a bigger kitchen, and a larger seating area, but, her number one wish is for another gas pump to serve their customers. At this time they only have one pump.

“I see people pull up to the pump, sit in line, then drive away after waiting – I am always afraid they won’t come back,” said Diane. “Unfortunately, the cost of adding a pump is beyond our means at this time. We just want to be able to serve this community and I know it would be a great addition.”

Victor’s Market slogan is “You Go The Extra Block – We’ll Go The Extra Mile.” If you drove through Victor the slogan would be obvious as a competitor sits just a block from their location. “It is the truth and a way of life, if there is a something we don’t have – we will get it, we will earn your business if you stop by,” said Diane. “The slogan seemed a little bold when I first said it, but it stuck with us to the point that our business is Extra Mile LLC.”

“I believe my eagerness to learn, determination, and people who believed in me more than I believed in myself, principally my husband Steve and Gary Juhl, is why I am a business owner today,” said Diane. “I am proof if you really WANT it and you work hard and learn much, you can ACHIEVE it, no matter what your circumstances may be. Sometimes the “soup of success” is made up of many different ingredients.”

Victor’s Market has it all including a 26 Degree Beer Cave, Hoagies, Salads, made-to-order Pizza, Ice Cream, and Kathy’s Pies – which are a big favorite in their market, plus a staff that will greet you with a smile. Stop by the next time you take historical Highway 6 across Iowa or jump off I-80 and take a drive into town, they are worth driving the extra miles.

Do you have a story you would like us to tell? Give the PMCI office a call and talk to Sue – she would love to tell your story.