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Festival Foods Debuts In Southeast Wisconsin

Frank Abnet
Frank Abnet

Festival Foods has made its debut in southeast Wisconsin with a new 77,000-s.f. store at 3207 80th St. in Kenosha. Featuring services designed for a variety of preferences, it is the De Pere, Wis.-based company’s 18th location.

There is a “Tot Spot” in the store, where parents can drop off their children before they shop, as well as a dietitian on staff and shoppers may choose between “You Bag” and “We Bag” checkout lanes.

Frank Abnet, VP of store operations for Festival Foods, talked to The Shelby Report’s Geoff Welch during a sneak peek event at the new store on Dec. 5, the day before it officially opened.

Frank Abnet
The Tot Spot at Festival Foods in Kenosha, Wis.

The Tot Spot offers parents peace of mind as they shop the new Kenosha store. Children between 18 months and 7 years old can play in the enclosed area for up to one hour.

“We have supervisors in there who will watch your children, and then as you shop, you’re able to watch them on different TV monitors that are playing throughout the store,” Abnet said. “As you’re shopping, grabbing your produce, you can look up and see and know that your child is being well taken care of and playing with our associates there.”

A dietitian is available for personal consultations, and that interaction is important, Abnet said. Shoppers are invited to call or reach out via email.

“We want that one-to-one contact,” Abnet said. “We want to be able to set up one-to-one meetings to go through what the guests’ needs are … It’s one thing to tell a guest what they need. It’s another to take them, show them, walk them through, look at labels, tell them what to look at.”

Shoppers are given a variety of options when it’s time to checkout at Festival Foods.

Festival Foods Kenosha
Festival Foods Kenosha offers “You Bag” and “We Bag” options at checkout.

“It’s a little bit different,” Abnet said. “On the ‘We Bag’ lanes, we, as Festival associates, will bag the groceries, and on the ‘You Bag’ lanes, the guests bag their own.”

He said it’s not a matter of savings for the grocery company, but an option for shoppers who like to have their groceries packed in a specific way.

“It just allows them to do that, get it exactly the way they want and move on with their day. So it really is a service,” Abnet said. “Same with the ‘You Check’ lanes we have. We don’t do that to save labor, because we staff them all the time. It’s a matter of another service for the younger people—and actually we’re surprised that there’s a significant amount of seniors who enjoy that experience. People are independent.”

The store also offers variety when it comes to quantity.

“We’re able to help with the way that we’re buying. If there are large quantities, we can certainly help those people,” Abnet said. “We’re trying to cater to people who are shopping by the basket, shopping by the shopping cart or anybody who has any special needs that we can help them out with.”

The new store was built with energy-efficient features that also add to shoppers’ comfort, like having doors on most of the cold cases.

“That has given our shoppers a more friendly experience,” Abnet said. “We’re finding that frozen/dairy, which is typically known for being a colder section in the store, is the same temperature as the grocery aisle. Therefore, people are spending more time shopping that area rather than grabbing their product and running off to get to the warmer areas of the store.”

There also are more than 220 “light pipes,” which look like skylights.

“As the sunlight comes into the building, the fluorescent lights that we have dim, so that really helps us measure foot-candles and things like that, but it also provides a nice, clean, bright shopping experience for our guests,” Abnet said.

Festival Foods researched the Kenosha market to make sure pricing in the store is on target. The company does not offer a loyalty card program.

“We want to make sure we offer value. We have a coupon-based program where each week you’re going to find our ‘hotter’ coupons within the newspaper and those ads are available right in the store,” Abnet said. “We felt that a card is not necessary. We want to give all of our pricing to all of our guests without having to sign up for anything, and I think that’s a key for this market. We offer our prices to everyone who comes in the door.”

In the feature photo at top: Frank Abnet, VP of store operations for Festival Foods. (Find more photos here.)

About the author



An 11-year employee of The Shelby Report who writes for and about food. In previous lives, she worked at a police department in Texas and an amusement park in Arkansas. She also was a newspaper publisher for more than a decade. Not sure which of those qualified her for this job.

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