Piggly Wiggly to take over Pick ’n Save

By DAVE RANK - Daily News

Sept. 7, 2014

Cars parked outside the Pick 'n Save on highway 33 on Friday afternoon in Saukville.
Photo by John Ehlke

The takeover of the Saukville Pick ’n Save grocery store by Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly will benefit the new Hartford Piggly Wiggly, which the local franchise chain will open in December.

Some equipment in Fox Bros.’ Saukville site will be transferred to the Hartford location, Fox Bros. President and owner Pat Fox said Friday.

Earlier this week, Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc., Milwaukee, notified the state it will close three area Pick ’n Save stores, including Saukville, on Nov. 5, resulting in 226 job losses.

It also was announced that Piggly Wiggly Midwest, Sheboygan, is buying the Saukville Pick ’n Save and offered the site to its franchisee, Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly.

The transaction was confirmed by Saukville Piggly Wiggly Store Director Paul Williams Friday.

Piggly Wiggly Midwest brought the possibility of moving to the Saukville Pick ’n Save building to Fox Bros.’s attention, Pat Fox said. “We’re very excited about it.”

The Pick ’n Save store in Saukville has 84 employees while the Saukville Piggly Wiggly store has about 80.

Pat Fox said Piggly Wiggly will move all of its employees into the larger store and add between 30-40 employees.

He said the Pick ’n Save employees are invited to apply at the Piggly Wiggly store. “We would hope to have the opportunity to interview them and hire as many as we can,” Fox said.

The Piggly Wiggly off highway 33 on Friday afternoon in Saukville.
Photo by John Ehlke

Employees of both Saukville food stores were informed of the changes Wednesday, Fox said.

In a written statement, Roundy’s Vice President of Investor Relations James Hyland commented, “Roundy’s signed a definitive sale agreement with Piggly Wiggly (Midwest) that we believe will provide better stewardship for this store and the community it serves. We believe that under the new ownership, this store and their employees will prosper.”

Roundy’s also is closing Pick ’n Save stores on Brown Deer Road in Milwaukee, eliminating 74 jobs, and West Greenfield Avenue in West Allis, dropping 68 jobs.

“The opening, closing and sale of stores are part of our normal course of business and we make these decisions based on results and the level of consumer demand in the market,” Hyland wrote in the corporation’s statement.

The current Saukville Piggly Wiggly is at 835 E. Green Bay Ave. with the Pick ’n Save store across the street at 810 E. Green Bay Ave.

“It’s larger and newer,” Fox said of the 810 E. Green Bay Ave. site. “It’s about 10,000 square feet bigger, 50,000-plus.”

The Pick ’n Save store opened about 10 years ago.

The new Piggly Wiggly should open in about three months.

“We’re looking at, tentatively, the middle of November,” Fox said. “We’ll need a couple of weeks to make the transition. We’re not making a lot of changes but we are making a few (to the Pick ’n Save building).”

The Hartford Piggly Wiggly, should be open no later than Dec. 10, Fox said.

The Hartford grocery store is moving into the former Rueben’s County Market, 1566 E. Sumner St., in the Hilldale Plaza. The County Market went out of business in July, putting about 25 people out of work.

Fox said the agreement for the Saukville grocery operation was a good situation for both Piggly Wiggly and Roundy’s. “It was a natural consolidation in the marketplace,” he said. “It wasn’t any master plan, but the pieces are falling into place for us,” Fox said. “It’s working out very nicely.”

Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly is an independent franchise food store chain founded in 1988 by Pat and Bob Fox in Hartland. It now has seven locations in Hartland, Oconomowoc, Richfield, Jackson, Saukville, Slinger and Hartford.

Fox Bros. is affiliated with Piggly Wiggly Midwest, Sheboygan, the corporate entity of Piggly Wiggly stores in Wisconsin and northern Illinois, which supplies more than 100 Piggly Wiggly markets in Wisconsin and northern Illinois as well as 10 Butera Market stores and two Eurofresh stores in the Chicago area.

Fox Bros. purchased the Richfield, Jackson, Saukville and Slinger from Piggly Wiggly Midwest in 2011.

Fox Bros. leased the building at 835 E. Green Bay Ave. in Saukville, Fox said, and the site owner will look for a new tenant.

Roundy’s operates 148 grocery stores and 97 pharmacies under the Pick ’n Save, Copps, Metro Market and Mariano’s names in Wisconsin and Illinois.
Too many markets

Pat Fox, president and owner of Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly, thinks there are more supermarkets in the Metropolitan Milwaukee area than can survive in a saturated marketplace.

There are too many grocery stores and too many other retail outlets that sell groceries, Fox said Friday. That likely means additional stores will be closing in the area. “This would be an example of that,” he said of Roundy’s Inc.’s plan to close three Pick ’n Save stores in Saukville, Milwaukee and West Allis. His Fox Bros. is moving its Piggly Wiggly operation into the larger Pick ’n Save store when it becomes available in November. A Google search indicated there are more than 500 food stores in Milwaukee County alone.

Meijer Inc. Grand Rapids, Michigan, is building its combined supermarket and discount stores in Sussex, Grafton, Oak Creek and Wauwatosa, which are expected to open in 2015.

Independent grocers, such as Fox Bros., must provide a high level of service and products not found in other stores to survive, Fox said.

— Dave Rank