Before Judson and Dana Naifeh pulled the trigger last summer to purchase the former Kroger building on the north side of Covington, ideas for expanding their Cash Saver grocery store business in other markets were discussed.
But Dana said her husband, who comes from a family that has been running grocery stores in Covington for more than a century, never really took any of those ideas seriously.
“Judson loves people and he loves his heritage,” Dana said Wednesday afternoon during a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by about 300 people. “There were other grocery markets that we looked at and talked about investing in. Judson never considered any of those options. Covington is where it all started. That’s where his heart was and is. We not only wanted a store we could be proud of, but one Covington could be proud of.”
The store, which relocated from its longtime location just south of the new facility, opened last month. Visitors who frequented the store when it was a Kroger will notice huge upgrades immediately. It has all the bells and whistle for a modern grocery store while not forgetting about the Naifeh tradition in Covington. Photos of Judson’s family, along with those of his parents (Joe and Sandra) and grandfather (Oney), adorn the walls.
Joe and Oney actually bought out Kroger in the 1950s when Kroger left Covington for the first time. It returned in 1986, only to leave town 34 years later.
Judson got every emotionally when speaking Wednesday about the project, particularly when thanking his parents and grandfather.
“Dana and I are just exhausted because we’ve put everything we have into this, but, dadgum, I think it looks pretty awesome to me,” Judson said, drawing applause from the large crowd. “My parents always told me you get out of a town what you put into a town.”
Wednesday would have Oney Naifeh’s 114th birthday. Judson pointed to the sky and wished his late grandfather a happy Cinco de Mayo.
Said Dana: “We truly lived and breathed every breath we had into this project. I told him this morning, ‘We survived and so did our marriage. We can do anything after this.'”