Progressive Grocer Independent

OCT 2014

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14 | Progressive Grocer Independent | October 2014 Cover Story Lake Mills Market store," Eveland says. "I was amazed at how much we could sell. You put it on Facebook and everyone gets excited." During Progressive Grocer Independent's visit, local farms were still producing sweet corn, watermelon and cantaloupes, with pumpkins and squash just coming in. "I'm amazed at how many people stop at the board," Eveland says. Cashiers also are trained to reinforce the store's commitment to local by asking customers if they knew they were buying area produce as the items are scanned. In center store, Eveland created special "Wise Buy" shelf tags that designate items produced within the state. He used an antique owl sign as inspiration for the Wise Buys logo; the word "wise" plays a dual role, as its frst three letters also are the state's abbreviation. Wisconsin may be known as a land of beer drinkers, but it has its share of wineries, and the liquor department features a large variety of local wines as well as microbrews. "A big surprise is how much the local stuf sells over the national-brand beer," Eveland says. "Te microbrews are just incred- ible. We're really focusing on product that is local, and that's what people are responding to." Perimeter Sells While local is making the produce de- partment a top-selling department in the store, the other perimeter depart- ments, especially bakery and meat, also are attracting customer attention. Te in-store bakery makes a variety of products in-house, from cook- ies to cupcakes to special-occasion cakes. Te department also recently introduced whoopie pies, which have proved successful. Decorated cakes have given a boost to the department, and the orders are increasing every week. "We'll do whatever we possibly can to make the customer happy," Eveland says, "even if that means we have to drop everything and make a cake." Te meat depart- ment produces a number of specialty items like mushroom caps, pub burgers and house-made signature sausages. Meat Manager Jamie Sclaub, who develops his own recipes, makes 12 varieties of sausage and brats, including mushroom Swiss, jalapeño cheddar, bacon ched- dar and Italian. "Bakery, produce, deli and meat are departments we're using to distinguish ourselves," Eveland says. Tose departments' contributions to store sales have been stronger than he had anticipated. Giving Back Lake Mills Market also provides opportunities for customers to give back to their community. Every other month, the store runs a Round Up program that benefts a local charity. Customers are asked if they'd like to round up their bill to the next dol- lar and donate the diference to the designated charity. Te Round Up is programmed into the POS system. "It's an easy way for customers to help out," says Store Manager Wayne Gar- nell. "It's just a few cents, but it builds up over the month." In the eight months the store has been open, customers have raised more than $4,000 for the local food pantry, about $3,000 to build a new playground at the local school and more than $3,800 for Tomorrow's Hope, with the most successful fundraiser the more than $5,200 col- lected for the Humane Society. Te store picks one week during the drive to match all customer donations. Te A PArt of the Community Left: The store's café area has become a community draw, especially with its bingo nights every other Wednesday. Above: Locally grown is a major attraction in the produce department, which features modular units that allow the department manager to create new vignettes every week. the DrAw of Bulk Lake Mills Market customers enjoy shopping for the nuts, grains and trail mixes in the bulk food section.

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