What a difference 50 years can make
Kettle Moraine Appliance to have largest showroom in the state

News Graphic Staff

Dec. 31, 2018

Smoke fills the air outside Formart Container Co. on Pioneer Road and Cardinal Avenue in Cedarburg. The Dec. 16, 1968, fire was among the largest in the city’s history. While the majority of flames were extinguished by 10:30 p.m. that day, the fire was not completely out until Dec. 19.
Submitted photo

CEDARBURG — Fifty years ago this month, volunteers with the Cedarburg Fire Department fought one of the largest fires in the community’s history. Firefighters were called at 3:10 p.m. Dec. 16, 1968, to the corner of Pioneer Road and Cardinal Avenue for a fire at the Formart Container Co. Smoke and flames were coming through the roof of the packing room, according to the book, “The Cedarburg Fire Department 1866-2016.”

The Cedarburg Fire Department dispatched 67 firefighters and seven vehicles to fight the blaze, and required assistance from the Grafton and Thiensville fire departments. Five fire hydrants were tapped, using 2,950 gallons per minute to fight the fire.

According to department history, sparks landed on the adjacent Marquardt Bus Service building. After water was sprayed on the building, the water froze and protected the building during the duration of the fire.

Eight firefighters and two others in the building sustained injuries.

Formart manufactured biodegradable plant containers. It closed in 2013.

 The sign is now on the building at Kettle Moraine Appliance, which renovated the former Formart building and will move in within the next three months.
Photo by Mark Justesen

Today the building is nearly ready to become home to the largest appliance showroom in the state.

Kettle Moraine Appliance is wrapping up a major overhaul of the 75,000-square-foot building and expects to open its new store in the next three months.

Store Manager Andy Naumann said the store will offer state-of-the art features not seen in stores anywhere in the Midwest. It will provide appliances “in every price range” for people of all budget levels.

Kettle Moraine will also begin selling bedroom furniture, including a variety of mattress lines, Naumann said.

Kettle Moraine’s first store is in West Bend. They opened a second store in Cedarburg in 2012. That location, on Washington Avenue just north of Pioneer Road, will close when the new showroom is opened.

“This showroom is just so impressive.” Naumann said.