Festival grocery store opening nears in Tomah
The first load of groceries arrived Oct. 18 and stocking shelves started that day for the soon to be open Festival Foods.
The store will open Nov. 10 at 6 a.m., said Aaron Aspenson, store planning director for Festival Foods. Hours for the store will be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
"Things have been going well," Aspenson said last Friday, Oct. 27. "We have been busy Festivalizing the store."
Contractors have been busy with their role. Store employees, many holdovers from when Gordy's Food owned the grocery business, have been busy cleaning and prepping the store. A contractor was busy Friday striping the parking lot.
"We are hired up, but still encourage people to apply," Aspenson said.
Equipment repair and general maintenance has kept people busy, he added. The Tomah store is around 43,000 square feet. Comparatively Festival in Onalaska is 90,000 square feet. The recently opened store in Holmen is 68,000 square feet.
The Tomah store will hold true to three Festival business principles.
"We have clean stores, friendly people and quality products," Aspenson said.
The Tomah City Council has approved the liquor license for Festival. Tomah operations for Gordy's ended Sept. 12. Festival purchased the Tomah store and two Eau Claire locations from Gordy's Market in July.
Gordy's owned the Tomah store two years after purchasing the building from the Burnstad family, which began the grocery store in 1944. Festival Foods operates 28 other locations throughout the state. It purchased stores in Baraboo and Portage from Pierce’s Market in May.
People are eager for Festival to open its doors, said Tomah Chamber of Commerce president Tina Thompson.
"People have been asking nonstop questions," Thompson said. "The south side of Tomah has felt the pain of not having a grocer on that side of town."
That pain will soon be alleviated and Festival's history speaks of community involvement, Thompson adds.
"They are very active," she said.
In early October Festival donated a sizable palate of groceries to Neighbor For Neighbor Food Pantry. Kristie Hemmersbach will be the general manager of the Tomah store.