by Jordan DeWald
You are welcome at City Market in Burleson, Texas. It starts with a greeting by a friendly staff as you enter a grocery store filled with everything you could want. It will not take long of being a customer to understand that you are valued and your patronage is appreciated. Walking through the specialty sections, checking out the meat counter, and seeing the selection of local vendors, you will know that quality is valued. Kurt Jaeger, the owner of City Market, has created a place where people are valued.
The history of City Market is a rich one. Many long-time residents remember the store as Bransom’s, the grocery store they went to as children. Kurt describes the original owner, and his family, with great affection: “Mr. Bransom is the finest man I’ve ever known.” Kurt bought the store from the Bransom family in 2004 after Mr. Bransom’s death. A wholesaler recommended Kurt to Mrs. Bransom, to be the one to carry on the excellence people expected from Bransom’s. Kurt describes it as simply “a God thing.”
Kurt Jaeger has always been about building relationships. He started in the grocery business by bagging groceries at Safeway at the age of sixteen and advanced in the field. After Safeway closed he spent some time working with wholesalers where he built an excellent reputation and strong relationships. One of those relationships led to him opening his own independent grocery store at the age of twenty-nine. His boss helped him to open that store in Crandall, Texas. His reputation and relationships continued to help him grow until he ultimately ended up in Burleson.
There is nothing small about this locally owned business. City Market offers the same variety as a big box store, with exceptional quality and character. Local vendors have found a home at City Market, which gives the customer unique options that also helps their neighbor. They have an excellent meat department, with butchers working seven days a week into the evening. City Market holds the designation of being the only grocery store in the surrounding area to sell Certified Angus Beef and their chicken is never frozen. They have an expanding bakery with fresh baked goods daily and offer a large selection of fresh ready-to-eat meals. Their gift selection has recently been given an upgrade by Kurt’s wife, Jill. Jill’s Decor and More offers beautiful decor items and unique gifts. With their newly expanded floral department, City Market truly has everything a customer needs from a grocery store and then some.
It is a difficult time to have an independent grocery store, as evidenced by the number of stores that have closed their doors. City Market is not only surviving, they continue to flourish. Their success is from the willingness of the City Market team to continue adapting to the needs of the community. Significant changes have faced the grocery business over the past seventeen years since Kurt opened City Market so they have had to constantly adapt. The team at City Market is continuously learning and listening. Kurt watches the trends and learns from the successes of other businesses. One of the greatest strengths of City Market is that they listen to their own customers. They welcome and ask for feedback and requests, and do their best to meet those requests. Kurt describes how buying habits have changed. For example, people as a whole are busier so they want “grab and go” type items. In response, City Market has an expansive selection of ready-to-eat and heat-and-serve meals to meet that need. They are made fresh in the back of the store each day. This allows a parent to put a comfort food meal on the table, even if they don’t have time to cook it before taking a kid to practice. Consumers are also more health-conscious and educated about the food they put in their bodies. There is less demand for quick meals with lots of preservatives so City Market has expanded its selection of perishable items and healthier selections. As more consumers want gluten-free, keto-friendly, and natural items, City Market has provided them. In addition, City Market has added online shopping with curbside pickup and delivery.
Kurt says that in this business, they have to be nimble and move fast. Being an independent grocery store makes that easier. Kurt likened it to a speed boat versus a luxury ship. At any moment a speed boat can change course whereas a luxury ship is slow to turn due to its size. The community of Burleson saw that when the pandemic of 2020 caused grocery shelves to empty, and the snow and ice of 2021 made it difficult to get deliveries. Kurt was able to be innovative and customers took notice. For example, as restaurants closed in the spring of 2020 the companies that sold to those restaurants were in trouble. Kurt used his connections to help give those suppliers business while also keeping the shelves of City Market stocked. As people were needing groceries after the storm in February of 2021, City Market utilized their Facebook page to communicate what was in stock as delivery trucks came in. City Market has become known as the grocery store to count on.
As stated earlier, relationships matter to Kurt and the team at City Market. That extends beyond their desire to welcome and serve the customers. It starts with their staff. Kurt hires many young people for their first job and he sees it as an opportunity to mentor them. Some of them may stay in the grocery business for the rest of their lives, as Kurt has. Many will move on to other jobs though and Kurt prioritizes helping shape them for success. The staff is celebrated and shown appreciation throughout the year in-store and on social media.
The community also benefits from this relationship-first attitude. Kurt describes Burleson as the best town he has ever been a part of, and he’s seen a lot in his work. It is a community that takes care of each other and exhibits kindness. Many residents would say City Market is a significant contributor to what makes Burleson special. Kurt emphatically states that he isn’t going to let anyone go hungry. City Market also generously supports the first responders, military, seniors, community events, and local non-profits. You often won’t hear about those things, because City Market does not do it for the accolades. But if you talk to many community members, business owners, and nonprofit directors, you will hear stories of how City Market took care of them. Kurt says simply that God has greatly blessed his family and City Market and all he wants to do is share that blessing.
The Jaegers lead City Market with their faith in God at the forefront of their actions, decisions, and motivation. That is evident in the kindness you experience when talking to the team, their generous nature, commitment to excellence, and their desire to serve all of the people City Market touches. Kurt says that they are blessed to be in Burleson and it is fair to say, the community of Burleson can say they are blessed to have the Jaegers and City Market.
200 E Renfro Street
Burleson, TX 76028