Peru, Nebraska – The Market Grocery of Peru, owned by D.J. and Lindy Schmidt, was awarded the Elaine Hanson Award at the Student Senate Banquet on April 16, 2023. The Elaine Hanson Award distinguishes an individual (or individuals) not enrolled or employed by the campus who show true dedication to the members of the Peru State College Community through their continued service to students and the institution.

“We were surprised, honored, and humbled to receive the award,” said Lindy. “We felt undeserving. The College was supportive of us even before we even opened, and we have tried to do as much as we can with the College; it is an important part of our business and has been a champion for our business.” 

Jayden Duff, Student Senate Sergeant at Arms, offered the following when presenting the Elaine Hanson Award at the banquet:

“Tonight, we are only honoring one family selected by Student Senate. This family has recently opened a store in Peru, which has been extremely beneficial for not only the students on Peru State’s campus, but also to the entire community of Peru. This contribution to the community has provided several people with a much more convenient option for grocery shopping and other needs and has provided people with a location to get items when the weather conditions have left them unable to leave the area. Thank you so much D.J. and Lindy for making this contribution to Peru.” 

The Market was the second grocery store opened by the Schmidts, after they opened their first one in Louisville, Nebraska, in December of 2019. They became aware of the sale of the Peru grocery store in the fall of 2021 and visited the town the first time either of them had been to Peru. They met with the potential sellers, established contacts in the city, and recognized a lot of opportunities.

“We met Peru State College President Dr. Evans and his spouse, First Lady Joanna who were very supportive prior to our opening, and who continue to be very supportive,” said Lindy. “It was apparent the College would be a supporter. There was a lot of excitement about the store.”

After purchase and renovations, the Schmidts officially opened the Market Grocery in September of 2022. They are happy to have a grocery store in Peru and are thankful for the support they have received from the community and the College.

“The city of Peru has been very welcoming,” said Lindy, “and we continue to figure out what serves the community the best. We have learned so many things, are excited, and want to continue to look for more ways to partner with the College and raise awareness of what we can offer. We love small communities. It is about being of service, providing something of value to other people, and giving them choices.” 

The Schmidt’s have a long-term vision to operate several independent grocery stores in smaller communities as they see a need for every community to have access to fresh food.

Nestled in the hills of historic southeast Nebraska, Peru State College offers a mix of innovative online and traditional classroom undergraduate and graduate programs, including online graduate degrees in education and organizational management.

Established in 1867 as Nebraska’s first college, Peru State has transformed over the past century and a half into a state-of-the-art institution offering diverse, multifaceted educational programs annually to nearly 2,000 students.