|GHQ| RETAIL SPOTLIGHT
in surrounding Sheboygan County for gourmet, perishables, artisan
bread, premium alcoholic beverages, natural, organic and local products. And thanks to Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straights, on weekends during the May to November “high season” it draws foodies from
as far away as Chicago.
“You can tell someone is from Chicago by the amount of New Glarus
beer they have in their shopping cart,” Allison says of the local brew
sold only in Wisconsin. “Every Saturday there is going to be at least one
person who fills up an entire shopping cart with New Glarus beer.” One
even bought all of the manufacturer-supplied accouterments of a New
Glarus in-store display, including an inflatable cow and cheeseheads,
because he was so infatuated with the product, Allison notes.
One visit to Woodlake Market and it is easy to see why it draws shop-
pers from near and far.
“What makes us different is that we try to focus on the customer
experience,” Allison says. “You’re not coming here to get the cheapest
can of beans. You can get a can of beans at Walmart, Pick ‘n Save or
Piggly Wiggly. We sell that, but that’s not what we’re going after. We’re
going after the customer that wants to have a unique experience walking through the store. They can walk up to any of our service cases,
point to a product and say, ‘I want that because it’s amazing.’”
At Woodlake Market, the customer experience starts in the entrance
vestibule where shoppers are in for a Brewed Awakening. That’s the
quirky name given to the store’s coffee shop, which uses coffees from
Colectivo out of Milwaukee for its house grinds.
“Brewed Awakening has been very popular, especially amongst
Kohler associates. We have a line out the door for everyone wanting to
get their coffee before work,” Allison says. Brewed Awakening’s baristas
even know customers by name and have their preferred drink ready for
them by the time they reach the counter, he says. Another novel feature is an in-store cardholder allowing Brewed Awakening customers
to leave their frequent drink punch cards in the store. TV news legend
Barbara Walters was so impressed by it that she signed up for a card
when she visited the resort last year, Allison says.
After passing Brewed Awakening, shoppers move through the sliding
automatic door into the store proper where, to their right, they encoun-
ter a mouthwatering assortment of proprietary The Art of KOHLER
Original Recipe Chocolates.
Chocolates are a relatively new business for Kohler, launched in 2007
when Herb Kohler challenged the chefs at The American Club to create a new version of his favorite candy, the chocolate turtle. “They went
through 100 different recipes before he found one that he truly enjoyed
and said ‘This is it.’ That is how KOHLER Chocolates was essentially
born,” Allison says.
Handcrafted at the Craverie Chocolatier Café down the other end
of The Shops at Woodlake, today the selection numbers more than
two dozen SKUs and includes the signature Original Butter Terrapins
(turtles), chocolate bars, candy bars, toffee bar trail mix and the latest
SIPPING AN INSPIRATION
WHILE WOODLAKE MARKET IS CHOCK FULL OF
ORIGINAL PRODUCTS, one of the more novel is its
private label Dark Chocolate Brandy, marketed under The Art
of KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates label. Introduced in
October 2016, it has become a bona fide hit and is even sold
at 40 liquor stores throughout Wisconsin.
“The inspiration is that Mr. Kohler (Kohler Co. chairman
Herb Kohler) challenged us to play with infused spirits and
see what we could come up with,” says Gerald Allison, business manager for Woodlake Market and KOHLER Original
Recipe Chocolates. “It was something he wanted to explore.
We spent probably two years experimenting with different
variations until we found the right one, and that was dark
chocolate and brandy. They complement each other so well.
Brandy in Wisconsin is a staple. It is like the state drink.”
The brandy is a two-year aged brandy sourced from
California. A local distiller in Wisconsin uses Kohler’s formula
and makes it for the company.
“It is just distinctly chocolate, which makes it unique,”
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