Charles E. Benidt             April 19, 1928 - December 13, 2006

Charles E. Benidt was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 19, 1928, the oldest of six children.  He attended Lutheran grade
schools.  At age 13, Chuck, as he would be called throughout his life, began his business career by repairing bicycles for resale.  It was the beginning of World War II and rubber and steel or aluminum for bicycles were scarce.  Chuck bought broken bicycles for forty cents, used the parts to repair other bikes, and sold the repaired bikes for up to $3.00.

After graduating from Milwaukee Lutheran High School in 1946 Chuck joined the army where he served for two years.  Upon his release from military service Chuck returned to Milwaukee  and married shortly thereafter.

Chuck began working for his wife's uncle who owned a supermarket.  While working during the day, Chuck attended classes at Marquette University in the evenings.  Within ten years Chuck had helped his uncle expand the business to six supermarkets.

During those years Chuck learned, as he put it, "how not to run a business".  Wanting his own business, Chuck pooled his money with four silent partners, and in 1959 founded Town and Country Super Markets.

His first store opened in February 1960 in leased space in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  On November 1, 1961 Chuck opened a second supermarket in Hales Corners.  By adding new stores and expanding his existing stores Chuck was able to buy out his silent partners by 1975.  By 1982 Chuck was operating six conventional supermarkets in Waukesha, Hales Corners, Oconomowoc, West Allis and Cedarburg.

Chuck was a true entrepreneur.  He bought property and developed a shopping center around one of his supermarkets.  He was a student of the supermarket business.  While traveling on vacations throughout the United States Chuck visited other supermarkets always looking for new concepts to bring back to his stores.  In 1982 Chuck visited a CUB store in Minneapolis.  This marked the beginning of a new era in super-marketing for Chuck.

Capitalizing on the CUB concept Chuck bought land and built buildings.  By 1993 Chuck owned and was operating five CUB stores employing over 1,400 workers.  To concentrate on his CUB operations Chuck sold three of his conventional supermarkets to long-term employees and turned over the operations of the remaining three to his son.

Chuck constantly looked for new and better ways to operate his stores.  Throughout his life he worked very hard, teaching by example.  He never asked anyone to do something that he wouldn't do himself.  He was a tough but very fair owner.  He taught his employees the value of running their departments as though they were running their own businesses.  Each department manager was accountable to Chuck for the success and profitability of the department for which he or she was responsible.  This proved to be a very successful philosophy as many department managers went on to operate their own businesses.

In 2003 Chuck created his Foundation with the intent that, upon his death, the bulk of his estate would go to the Foundation.  He never forgot his beginnings and he always valued his parochial school education.  During his lifetime he supported after school programs and funded Lutheran missionaries in foreign countries.  He gave to agencies that sheltered abused women and children and supported those organizations that supplied food and clothing for the needy.

The Charles E. Benidt Foundation will continue working to keep his memory and his values alive.

© Charles E. Benidt Foundation, Inc.                                                                                                                                                       Founded  2003