Closing of Saukville Pick ‘n Save to clear way for grocery relocation
For Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly, the announced plans to relocate the Saukville grocery store into the soon-to-be-vacant Pick ‘n Save building on the north side of Highway 33 seemed like a match made in retail heaven.
“Today there are two grocery stores in this community, which is one too many for a market of this size,” Pat Fox, president of Fox Bros., said.
By moving across the street, Fox said, the store will gain a larger building and eliminate a competitor from the crowded marketplace.
The current Piggly Wiggly store at 835 E. Green Bay Ave. is about 40,000 square feet, Fox said. The Pick ‘n Save building, 810 E. Green Bay Ave., has roughly 50,000 square feet.
The transition is expected to be completed in mid-November.
“This whole thing came about when Roundy’s (owners of the Pick ‘n Save chain) and Piggly Wiggly Midwest were talking about plans for closing the Saukville store,” Fox said.
“Piggly Wiggly Midwest asked us if we would be interested in the location, and we jumped at it. It is a newer building with a lot more space. We should be able to step right in and operate.”
Piggly Wiggly Midwest, which has its corporate offices in Sheboygan, previously owned the Saukville store. It acquired the business from the Hansen family, which still owns the building where Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly is located.
Fox Bros. bought the Saukville grocery from Piggly Wiggly Midwest in 2011.
The Hartland-based Fox Bros. chain currently owns five other Piggly Wiggly stores in southeast Wisconsin. It announced plans last month to open its seventh grocery store in Hartford.
Employees at the Saukville Pick ‘n Save were told last Wednesday morning their store would be closing.
At roughly the same time, Piggly Wiggly workers were told they would be moving into the vacant store this fall.
“The plan is for Pick ‘n Save to remove their stock and equipment during the weeks leading up to the move,” Fox said.
“We intend to close the doors at our current Piggly Wiggly one night and open in the new location the following morning. There should be no down time. We don’t want to inconvenience any of our customers.”
Fox said Roundy’s allowed Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly to start interviewing employees from the current Pick ‘n Save staff last week.
“We expect to need to hire an additional 30 to 40 team members and will have openings at our other stores, if those locations are more convenient for the people who currently work at Pick ‘n Save,” he said.
“The intention is to find work for anyone who wants to be part of our team.”
Despite the new setting, Fox said, the relocated store will remain committed to in-house products, including its produce and award-winning meats.
“This move is our way of saying we are staying here and intend to remain a big part of the community,” Fox said.
One change that will be readily visible will be the elimination of the self-check grocery scanners now used at Pick ‘n Save.
“We are all about face-to-face service, and that is not going to change in the new location,” Fox said.
He said initial concerns about what will happen to the empty Piggly Wiggly store have been resolved. The store has two years remaining on its lease.
The Village of Saukville has an ordinance that requires the owners of commercial property to find new tenants before being allowed to relocate in the village.
“We have talked with the village and everything has been resolved. I think it is a non-issue now,” Fox said.
Attempts are already under way to find a tenant to move into the current Piggly Wiggly space.
“I think bringing in a new commercial business will be a good thing for the community, and frankly, good for us, too,” Fox said.
The Fox Bros. chain recently celebrated its 26th year in the grocery business by giving away 26 large-screen plasma TVs, including four to Saukville customers.
“It is something we started last year with our 25th anniversary and is just a small way of saying thanks to our loyal customers,” Fox said.