Ryan Ritter. (Image Credit: Cameron Karsten)
Town & Country (T&C) Markets, an independent family-owned and -operated grocery store chain with locations across Washington state’s Puget Sound, has promoted Ryan Ritter from executive director of operations to president and CEO. His predecessor, Bill Weymer is retiring after 13 years at the company’s helm, but he will remain on the board of directors alongside T&C family members Susan Allen, Ron Nakata and Chairman Larry Nakata. Concurrently, the company has hired retail industry expert Wendy Oliver as its new senior director of retail operations.
“We’re incredibly grateful for Bill’s leadership and Ryan’s deep understanding of our family’s priorities,” noted Allen, T&C’s executive director of brand development. “One of our most important responsibilities as a board is to ensure the company has continuity of leadership to sustain us decades into the future. This thoughtfully planned transition paves the way for our next chapters of success, growth and engagement – aligning with our values, who we’ve been and where we’re headed. I’m thrilled about the journey that lies ahead for T&C and our continued dedication to nourishing the quality of life for our guests, partners and employees.”
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Ritter has worked at Seattle-based T&C for more than a decade, integrating the company’s profound commitment to its legacy as a family-owned business with innovation and vision. Known for his effective leadership, track record of success, and dedication to creating a superior customer and employee experience, Ritter brings to his latest role an extensive background in hospitality and information technology. His earlier work accords seamlessly with T&C’s strategies and goals, and he will continue to address evolving technology and hospitality needs for future growth.
“Bill and I have been working together for over 10 years, so we’re very aligned with what we’ve been doing and where we’re going,” observed Ritter. “I’m very proud of the transition we’ve completed over the past year, charting a clear direction for where we’re headed as a company. We have a bright future as an independent, family-owned business, and I’m thrilled to carry forward Bill’s legacy of adaptation, pushing ourselves to explore new ways to serve our guests, offer unique dining experiences, and better connect with our communities.”
Weymer’s 55 years in business include 13 years at the helm of T&C Markets, guiding the company through various strategic initiatives, among them the substantial renovation of the original market location on Bainbridge Island, the purchase of the Lakemont location in 2015, and the 2022 rebrand, unifying all markets under the original Town & Country name. Weymer spent a total of 19 years with T&C, during which time he opened the original Ballard Market in 1986.
“It’s been one of the greatest privileges of my long career to work for Town & Country,” said Weymer. “I’m profoundly grateful to have served this family, our shareholders, employees, communities and the region we’re so deeply connected to. I also feel so fortunate to be a part of an amazing industry like the food business. Over the years, I’ve been enriched by the contributions of so many great people.”
Weymer and Ritter worked together closely to identify and begin executing on T&C’s next 65 years. This vision encompasses continuing investment in employee education, sustained community support and involvement, workforce diversification, and the expansion of T&C’s hospitality and in-market restaurant and foodservice offerings. Further, T&C will build on the legacy of the Nakata MiddleField Farm, which is celebrating 100 years of family ownership in 2024, to promote sustainable agriculture and nurture future farmers for a healthier food system.
Added Ritter: “Bill has been a wonderful mentor, showing that being a servant leader goes well beyond you. It’s about nurturing the family business and leaving it better than you found it. As I step into the role of CEO, I’m honored to carry the torch of Town & Country’s legacy, knowing that it’s not about me, but rather our future together.”
In his new role, Ritter’s key priorities will include adapting to changes, particularly in workforce dynamics in the wake of COVID-19. He plans to address challenges by strategically integrating technology and maintaining the service standards and connections that set T&C apart, notably in customer service and community outreach.
Meanwhile, Oliver brings to her new position more than 45 years of experience in grocery retail. Her extensive background includes leadership roles in operations, marketing and merchandising with national and regional grocery companies.
As these latest executive moves take place, T&C has assured stakeholders that they “can expect a seamless transition; a continued focus on local, sustainable products; and an unwavering dedication to serving the communities in which it operates.”