Outpost Natural Foods recently opened a store in Mequon.
Photo by Art
- From its earliest roots in 1970, the Outpost Natural Foods
cooperative chain has upheld a steadfast mission of shining
the spotlight on eco-friendly practices and supporting
businesses that create high-quality foods.
company’s fourth stand-alone store, in Mequon, not only
maintains that mission, it builds on it.
lengthy discussion process and nearly a year of construction,
Outpost staffers took the wraps off the fourth location, 7590 W.
Mequon Road, when the store opened May 12.
store marks a pivotal moment in Outpost’s 44-year history. The
cooperative begins a physical presence outside Milwaukee
Malmarowski, director of brand and store development with
Outpost, said the cooperative had eyed a Mequon location for
about 15 years.
Shoppers are first drawn to a bountiful produce section.
Photo by Art
said Mequon residents have historically been avid supporters
of Outpost and its mission by staking ownership into the
company. At last count, Malmarowski estimated about 350
Mequon residents own a piece of Outpost.
been a push-and-pull area for us,” Malmarowski said. “We’d been
looking around, and this is something that had been on the back
burner for quite a while. We’re very excited to be here.”
led a reporter on a tour of the new Mequon store just days
before the doors officially opened to customers.
store has a number of first-of-its-kind features, including an
electric car-charging station that is prominently mounted within
the parking lot.
construction, Malmarowski said significant attention went into
planning the physical features, inside and outside the store.
The company is touting the Mequon store’s abundant use of
skylight windows to cut down on energy costs.
panels have yet to be installed – officials at Mequon City Hall
will need to approve such an addition – the store was
constructed with a roof that is so-called solar-ready.
solar panels is a part of our long-range sustainable goals,”
new store features a sit-down dining area.
Photo by Art
exterior of the Outpost property also includes a bounty of
green features – and some of them could eventually go into
the local store’s produce offerings. A so-called kitchen
garden will include fresh-grown produce. The land also
includes a mint garden, raspberry bush and pear trees.
said sustainability was at the heart of the entire design
project. The parking lot is porous, a type of pavement that
enables stormwater to drain through a stone-based layer for
on-site infiltration. Rain barrels and a rain garden are also
part of the exterior features.
also pays homage to the site’s history. Numerous trees had to be
removed to make way for the construction. A few were relocated,
and those that weren’t have been reused for other purposes,
including accenting the interior of the facility.
Mequon-based company, Retailworks, played a prominent role in
planning the interior features within the new Outpost store.
Malmarowski said every detail – from the flooring to the
overhead lighting – was made methodically in an attempt at being
as green as possible.
Outpost location functions primarily as a retail space,
Malmarowski said there also is an education component. As with
the other freestanding stores, the Mequon location will feature
an education space – one that Malmarowski proudly trumpets as
the largest yet.
“A lot of
what we’re about is education,” she said. “We want to educate
people about eating better and living better.”
and other Outpost leaders say they also aim to make their stores
a place where people can congregate. In other words, the stores
are not necessarily places where people need to enter and exit
with one swift move.
this mission more evident than the in-store café within the
Mequon location. Flanked by paintings and prints from local
artists, the café features locally brewed beers and sodas, as
well as such specialties as hand-made pizzas made over a wooden
“We want to
be a community gathering space,” Malmarowski said. “We are going
to be featuring revolving art exhibits in the café.”
Outpost is a local chain, Malmarowski readily points out each
store has its own distinguishing features that are designed to
mirror the surrounding community.
store, for example, will feature a regular dose of artisan
bagels from New York-based bakers, as well as a number of kosher
meats. Both gestures are designed to appeal to the Jewish
population throughout the North Shore.
Partnerships also are a hallmark of Outpost and its mission.
Locally, Malmarowski said the cooperative will be teaming up
with leaders of the Mequon Nature Preserve for some of the
would not be able to sustain itself without partnerships from
the local produce growers and food manufacturers. The company
has long had relationships with a number of Mequon-based
companies, as evidenced by a Wall of Local Vendors display that
greets customers upon entering the store. Local partners include
the Barthel Fruit Farm.
grocery business has become increasingly competitive in recent
years – as evidenced by the entry of such retailers as Meijer,
Walmart Supercenter and Woodmans – Malmarowski said Outpost is
able to hold its own in a crowded market by staying true to its
holds membership into several cooperative organizations, and
Malmarowski said networking with other like-minded cooperatives
throughout the country has been beneficial in charting Outpost’s
“We want to
adapt beyond the hippie image,” she said. “There’s a growing
interest in what we stand for. People want to know where their
food is coming from.”