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MOUNT WASHINGTON - Since Valu Market opened in Mount Washington nearly six years ago, many local residents came to know Dan Kelty as the face of the store. But his face was actually familiar for decades in the community.
Valu Market executives recently made the decision to move Kelty to the locally based grocery chain's Whittington Parkway location in Louisville, which houses the company's corporate office.
Valu Market president Greg Neumann said the decision to move Kelty was not made without careful consideration.
"Dan, rightly so, is very popular in the Mt Washington community and has been an outstanding person to fill the role as the face of Valu Market there," Neumann said. "His years of experience working for large companies will be invaluable to us and we have a lot we can learn from him...
In time, Dan is going to figure out what programs Derrick (Robinson, who has moved from Whittington to Mount Washington) had put in place that are working great and what areas need improving and using his fresh set of eyes and skills set, he will make a better store out of Whittington than before...
Once Dan is able to get his arms around his new store, he, (vice president James Neumann) and I have already discussed some projects that his background and experiences with other companies will be invaluable to helping us set up some programs that will help all five of our stores.
Working in the same store that James and I are based out of, it will give us the unique situation to work more closely with Dan on those initiatives in the future," Neumann said.
Kelty began his career with Valu Market when the Mount Washington store opened in 2005.
Prior to becoming the Mount Washington Valu Market store manager, Kelty managed the Mount Washington Buehler's grocery, which occupied the same facility that houses Valu Market today.
Before that, the facility was a Winn Dixie, which Kelty also managed.
All in all, Kelty spent nearly a decade and a half managing grocery stores at the location situated between Highway 44 and the Bardstown Road Bypass.
With so much time at one location, Kelty said leaving was difficult, especially after building such strong relationships with those who have shopped at the stores he's managed.
"After thirteen years you get to know your customers," he said. "I guess that was the hardest part-moving on."
Kelty said it's taking some adjustment getting used to the new location, but he's determined to do his best, just as he did in Mount Washington.
Kelty wished to thank the community for the support they've shown him, adding that without them, programs like the Crusade for Children Fishing Tournament, which Kelty began in 2002, would not have been possible and could not continue.
"Mount Washington is a great community," Kelty said.
Over the years, Valu Market has provided countless monetary and in-kind contributions to Mount Washington area schools, civic organizations, churches, community events and the community as a whole.
Neumann said the company's commitment to Mount Washington has not changed and the community can expect the same level of giving they came to know with Kelty.
As for the involvement many came to know, Neumann said Kelty still lives in Mount Washington and he expects Kelty will remain active in the community. He is currently the Second District magistrate.
Robinson, Kelty's replacement, has been with the company for 22 years. Prior to becoming the Mount Washington store manager, Robinson spent the previous six years as store manager at the Whittington Parkway location.
Robinson said that while the Mount Washington Valu Market is doing well, he hopes to make a few changes to make the store even better and improve upon the services the store provides to the community.
"I know I have big shoes to fill," he said.
Robinson resides in Louisville with his wife Merritt and their three children.
Robinson has ties to Bullitt County. He grew up in the north end and still has family in the area.
Robinson said he greatly appreciates the warm reception he has received since becoming the Mount Washington Valu Market's new store manager.