|GHQ| RETAIL SPOTLIGHT
the only grocer that they supply. That is our featured product,” Allison
says. Store officials visited the company’s plant and farm, and Allison
notes that even the floors in the barn were clean enough to eat off of.
Pork is sourced from Niman Ranch and Golden Bear Farm, a mom
and pop operator in Kiel, Wis. that feeds its pigs barley, field peas, kelp,
molasses and seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. “They are the only
non-corn fed pork producer that raises a Berkshire,” Bugni says. “They
eat a diet heavy on apples. It makes the meat sweeter.”
During the winter months, Woodlake Market sells Golden Bear
Farm pork frozen from upright cases that lead into the dairy depart-
ment, where the areas top major milk brands, like Kemps and Deans,
are eschewed in favor of local producers, like Sassy Cow, based in
Columbus, Wis., and Lamar’s and Clover Meadows, both packaged in
old-fashioned for-deposit glass bottles.
“Clover Meadows is basically the closest thing you can get to raw
milk,” Bugni says. “It is just real heavy, heavy cream, with an absolute
phenomenal f lavor. Many people who are lactose intolerant can drink it.”
The walls above the department are decorated with almost life size
two-dimensional wooden cows.
“Those cows are part of the original design of the store,” Bugni says.
“They were designed to create a fun atmosphere that was inviting, espe-
cially to the children.”
Woodlake Market had its last major remodel in 2015 when LED lighting
was installed throughout the grocery section.
“When we put in the new lighting we changed the profile of these
aisles,” Allison says. Pointing to a support pillar pole in the middle of
the liquor department he says, “This grocery aisle used to go as far as
that pole. We tore all of that out and put all of our wine and spirits over
there because we had that spread throughout the entire store. It was
confusing for our customers and we wanted to make it a single destination. We have one of the better wine and spirits selections in the area.”
Woodlake Market has become known for its selection.
“Craft spirits is such a big thing right now and we’re going to make
sure that we stay on top of it,” Allison says. “We have about 20 feet of
whiskey, the best selection in the area, which means we have a lot of
SKUs. We are being very particular in which ones we are selecting. We
try to make a point of getting unique things.”
While Woodlake Market still stocks a broad selection of grocery,
most of the assortment has been turned over to local, artisan and gour-
met products that cannot be found in competing stores.
“In our soup section, we only have four-feet of Campbell’s Soup,”
Allison notes. “We shrunk that down by eight feet. We used to have
12-feet, but it just wasn’t what our customers wanted.”
“Basically, what we did was shorten down the aisles to 40 feet and got
rid of a lot of the national brands because we are focusing more on the
specialty and local products,” Bugni says.
“One thing that has been a great success for us is that in our baby sec-
“It has been very well received,” Allison says. “We do both curbside
tion we got rid of anything that was not an organic/natural product,”
Bugni says. “We have Seventh Generation diapers and have not sold
Pampers, Luvs or Huggies in over two years. We’ve actually seen our
A new marketing effort is with Rosie, the Ithaca, N.Y.-based home
shopping service. Launched just before Thanksgiving, the partnership
is off to a good start; on a recent winter afternoon a store associate was
fulfilling four full orders that were received that day.
carryout and delivery. Delivery has been more popular, by about three
to one, but we’re getting several orders a day now.”
BRING BACK BAG
Just about every aspect of shopping at Woodlake Market is distinc-
tive—even its bags.
“One of the things we like to do is set ourselves apart in the area,”
“That’s one of Kohler Co.’s guiding principles. Business may change,
Allison says. “We used to have bags that were very chintzy and just said
‘thank you’ on them. They weren’t representative of our brand and what
we wanted to accomplish. So the Kohler communications team and us
The end result was a product from Bring Back Bag, a manufacturer
based in Oroville, Calif. “These bags are 100 percent recycled, 100 per-
cent recyclable, and 100 times reusable. We give 7-cents back each time
they are reused and we are the only store in the market with them. We
are starting to see them around the community as the reusable bag of
While the bags used at Woodlake Market may have changed, the
store’s level of quality, freshness and service will never go out of style.
customers may change, prices may change and markets may change,
but any one of our businesses are going to maintain that single level of
quality, including Woodlake Market,” Allison says.
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