Saturday, Apr 20, 2019

Harvard’s Casey’s is first in county

Casey’s General Store opened in Harvard in October. HML PHOTO BY JAY SCHULZ

The first Casey’s General Store in McHenry County had its grand opening on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at 309 South Division St., attracting sizable interest from the community. Harvard resident Denise Evans is the manager of the new Casey’s store.

As of the two week anniversary of the grand opening, the response from the Harvard community has been very positive, Evans said.

“We have repeat customers already, which we love,” she said, “and we know them by name.”

Evans has even had to order additional products to keep up with the customer demand.

“It’s busy to the point where I’m ordering another truck of supplies because of all the business,” Evans said.

The other Casey’s general stores in Evans’s district, such as those in Rockton and Roscoe, are smaller stores because they are older. But the Casey’s in Harvard is a newer model that is about two-thirds bigger than the smaller stores, and includes additional products such as soft-serve ice cream, a slushie machine and a sub sandwich line.

It is this large variety of products and services that make Casey’s General Store a unique store unlike any other in the area, Evans said.

“We have many different pieces of Harvard under one roof,” she said. “We have subs, and make them fresh; we have pizza and make our own dough; we have doughnuts, and we make our own doughnuts from scratch. I have people tell me, ‘it’s great having everything under one roof.’ It’s a one stop shop type of deal. We offer diesel, gas, beer and eventually we’ll have alcohol.”

The large and versatile kitchen at the store enables Casey’s to provide its shoppers with a wide array of goods and services, Evans said.

“Our kitchen is a huge piece of the puzzle that is Casey’s,” she said. “It’s where we make all the fresh pizzas [from scratch], fresh doughnuts, all our different types of coffee.”

As the Casey’s in Harvard has already boomed in popularity with local customers in its first two weeks of business, it also has seen a surge of employment applications. As a Harvard resident, Evans said she is pleased to hire local workers from the community.

“I received about 50 applications in the last five days and I get at least six calls a day about employment, which is awesome,” Evans said. “Ninety-eight percent of my employees are from Harvard. Only two live elsewhere, but still within the area.”

Evans plans to hire two assistant managers from her existing pool of employees within the next two months, which will open up more store positions for which employee applicants will be considered.