A fresh place to shop for food
Piggly Wiggly opens its doors in Hartford

By Amanda Voss - Daily News

Dec. 17, 2014

An inflatable pig welcomes customers.   
John Ehlke/Daily News

HARTFORD — Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly opened last week to an overwhelming response from the community, one that co-owner Patrick Fox said he hasn’t experienced in his 41 years in the business.

Fox. Bros. Piggly Wiggly, 1566 E. Sumner St., is in the Hilldale Plaza.

“It’s exciting. It’s rocking,” co-owner Lori Fox said.

They hosted a ribbon cutting Dec. 10.

“People were waiting to come in the door — very positive,” she said. 'We were greeting them and they were saying thank you for coming, so it was backwards. Usually we’re saying thank you for coming.”

Lori said there will be a grand opening in January.

“I’ve been working in this retail industry for 41 years and have been involved in various remodels; grand openings for various stores,” Patrick Fox said. “In 41 years I have never experienced the type of reception we received here in Hartford. It’s overwhelming in a wonderful way. Such gratitude from our guests.”

Brian Hass, store director and Hartford resident, said a grocery store like Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly has been a long time coming.

Meat cutter Jesse Wankes stands behind the seafood display talking with a fellow employee at the Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly on Tuesday afternoon in Hartford.   
John Ehlke/Daily News

Patrick Fox said they like to think they’re not just another grocery store because of the level of quality they bring.

There are seven Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in Wisconsin: two in Waukesha County, one in Ozaukee County and four stores in Washington County, including Hartford.

“I think we bring a high level of quality and we’re very customer-service focused,' Patrick Fox said. 'If you ask our team members who pays their wages, they will say the customers pay their wages and the most important job is serving the customer.”

The Hartford Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly features a full-service floral department and a produce department that Lori Fox called outstanding. There is also an organic produce section.

Patrick said the meat department features award-winning brats, beef sticks and meat loaf muffins, which are six servings of meatloaf in a muffin tin.

“That was a new invention last year and we won first place at a meat contest for them,” Lori Fox said.

Patrick Fox said a large selection of fresh seafood was brought in. There is a bakery and a deli.

There is a salad bar, hot soup and rotisserie chickens for sale, too. It will have a self-serve wing bar and fried chicken, Lori Fox said.

Dona Smith of Hartford closes out her cash register at the Piggly Wiggly on Tuesday.   
John Ehlke/Daily News

There is a specialty cheese island and she said they like to focus on Wisconsin products.

“We have a lot of Fox Bros.-labeled products starting with brats, summer sausages, spices and coffee,” Patrick Fox said.

In the summer, Patrick Fox said they knew the prior tenant was going out of business and realized there was a need for a Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly in Hartford. It was also an opportunity to extend their market.

It took about eight weeks to renovate the building, which was quite the feat considering Lori said the building was gutted.

“We started off with the idea when we purchased it on Aug. 26 we wanted it to be open within four to six weeks, but as we delved into it and we thought about the marketplace we went from going to say well we’ll do this with a small financial investment to saying we’ve got to do this right, so we provide the community with a great product,” Patrick Fox said. “It went from a shave and a haircut to a hair transplant.'

Most of the refrigerated cases were replaced and the building was painted. Ceramic flooring, checkout lanes and a service desk were installed.

“We really built a brand-new grocery store,” Patrick Fox said.

He encourages residents to come to Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly in Hartford because it provides superior service, high-quality products and fair prices, which is stated in its mission statement.

“We really do try to practice that,” Patrick Fox said. “We’re about quality. We’re about service. We’re committed to supporting our communities. We’re committed to our team members because they make us successful to the people who pay their wages.”