Pacemaker Countryside Markets has been in business for 65 years. The business was established by two sons of Italian immigrants. Anthony J. Dal Pra, started the Dal Pra family grocery store in 1945 and was shortly thereafter joined by his brother Ampellio Dal Pra, after World War II. They ran the businesses together until Anthony’s death in December of 1989 and Ampellio's “Pep” retirement in 1991. The businesses continued to be managed by other members of the Dal Pra family. The family has dedicated themselves to the memory of the founders by focusing on the tradition of caring service to their loyal customers.
The first store was operated in Rockford and expanded over the years. In the early 1950’s, a group of independent grocers started an advertising co-op and began to advertise together under the name Pacemaker Foods. There were seven families that ran their own stores in this group.
The store in Belvidere was opened in 1965 and has gone through several expansions. The Belvidere 1967 tornado almost completely destroyed the Belvidere location. The store was rebuilt and reopened for business in the fall of 1967.
In the early 1960’s, Anthony and Mary Dal Pra were the landlords for a small grocery store in Durand, Illinois. In 1991-1992, Durand Pacemaker was established and the grocery store operation was assumed by the Dal Pra family. In 2000, additional land was purchased and the current store was built. The old store became the store’s new parking lot. The Durand store continues to do business at that same location.
In October of 2008, Pacemaker Countryside Market opened in Poplar Grove, Illinois. In 2010, the family began to advertise under “Countryside Markets” to reflect the simple family tradition of country hospitality and service.
All three stores are full-service grocery stores with deli, bakery, meat, produce and grocery departments. All stores have beer and liquor departments as well. All stores also sell lottery tickets.