Grocery stores, restaurants feel economic boom of Packers
Sendik’s, Pick ’n Save and Toppers prepare for Sunday’s game

By CHRIS BUCHER - Freeman Staff

Jan. 21, 2017

A chocolate cake in the shape of a block of cheese at Sendik’s Food Market, 3600 S. Moorland Road in New Berlin.

WAUKESHA — As the Green Bay Packers head down south to take on the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game Sunday, shoppers fill lines at the cash registers of grocery stores and phone lines at delivery places in search for the perfect game day food.

Grocery stores and restaurants throughout the area are prepping for the pre-game rush by increasing their staff and inventories.

At Sendik’s Food Markets, Communications Director Nicholas Bandoch said January and some months during the winter can be a “dreary” time, but with the Packers’ season continuing deep into the NFL Playoffs, that hasn’t so much been the case this year.

“This gives us something to be excited about,” Bandoch said. “People are out and about planning parties and they usually make an extra trip or two to the grocery store.”

A green and gold cheese display at Sendik’s Food Market.

Bandoch said the deli at Sendik’s stores are consistently packed with shoppers looking for a premade snack to make preparing for Packers parties easier.

“The deli is an area we pay extra attention to,” Bandoch said. “People want to spend a bit more time at their parties and are looking for graband- go items.” Sendik’s has numerous items in each of its departments decorated and geared toward the Packers, such as green- and gold-colored produce, fruit and plenty of bakery items. Bandoch added that from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday, Sendik’s stores will have an in-store special on a steak for the hours leading up to the game.

It’s much the same at Pick ’n Save stores in the area.

Roundy’s Vice President of Corporate Communications James Hyland said the company’s Pick ’n Save stores also increase the amount of employees on the job leading up to the game.

“We adjust inventories to accommodate expected sales,” Hyland said. “Labor is assigned proportional to what expected sales are at a store, so the store does have the option to increase labor if they feel it’s necessary.”

Green Bay Packers merchandise on display at Sendik’s.

Hyland said the store also has a jam-packed produce and deli section prepared for Sunday’s NFC Championship game.

“We can create pinwheel platters, cheese and sausage trays or cold cut trays,” Hyland said. “Our bakery does a great job with fun game day items. The big 12inch message cookies are a big hit as well as green and gold bite-sized brownies and bar cakes that look like players.”

Green and gold flowers on display Friday at Sendik’s.

Packers and pizza

The huge sales boost doesn’t only apply to grocery chains, as pizza restaurants tend to see a major increase due to the Packers’ playoff run.

Andrew Stern, Waukesha Toppers Pizza marketing manager, said Sundays with Packers games are already typically busy, but the fact Green Bay is one game away from a Super Bowl appearance makes business extra lucrative.

“We see a huge rise in sales during those days, especially during the game and through halftime,” Stern said. “We sell tons of pizzas and Topperstix during the game.

Green and gold vegetables on display in the produce market Friday at Sendik’s.

“With Packers fans, this is going to be a big party scenario. It could be the last game to run the table, but hopefully not.”

Stern said when he was a store’s general manager in 2011, he worked during the Packers’ Super Bowl title run and the store was “double the size” that it normally is. He expects the labor on Sunday to be similar.

Toppers is offering a few specials surrounding this weekend’s game and then the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

“We have a couple of new pizzas for the weekend. One of them is the Sausaigo, which is sausage with asiago; and another is the buffalo chicken mac and cheese,” Stern said.

Stern said the Waukesha stores are also running a few promotions, including a large two-topping pizza and triple order of Topperstix for $19.99, and as usual, large unlimited topping pizzas for $12.99.

Email: cbucher@conleynet.com