The city’s newest grocery store features fresh-squeezed juice from watermelon, celery and beets; a gelato and coffee bar; and a smoothie station.
But the Metro Market that opened Tuesday in Grandview Commons on the Far East Side also embraces the carnivore — in a big way not found in Roundy’s three other Metro Markets in the state.
A barbecue station includes smoked brisket, pulled pork and ribs. In the midst of the fresh meats department, a grill is used to cook, for free, any meat or seafood sold in the store. It can be wrapped in foil and taken home or eaten in the cafe of the 58,000-square-foot store.
If the concept is successful, more Metro Markets could be coming to other Madison neighborhoods, possibly replacing some of the city’s Copps stores, which are also owned by Roundy’s.
Metro Markets include more fresh and prepared foods and a higher level of customer service than Copps.
“We want to see how this works and how it’s received, but it’s not out of the question,” said John Boyle, group vice president of operations for Roundy’s. “Depending on how this goes, it could give us confidence to broaden it.”
A competitive market
The Madison area is considered one of the most competitive grocery markets in the Midwest, with three Woodman’s Markets, two Walmart Super Centers, three Hy-Vees, two Costcos, two Metcalfe’s and 11 Copps stores. The city’s Downtown includes a Capitol Centre Market and Fresh Madison Market. Willy Street Co-op is looking for a third location, and Onalaska-based Skogen’s Festival Foods has announced plans for a store on East Washington Avenue that will open in 2015.
The Metro Market, a modified version of Roundy’s Mariano’s Markets in the Chicago area, is expected to draw customers not only from the neighborhood and the Sentry store at 4602 Cottage Grove Road, about a mile away, but also from Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie, McFarland and other parts of Madison.
“Obviously it’s going to take something away,” said Dave Schommer, owner of the Piggly Wiggly in Cottage Grove. “We’re going to put up the best fight we can, but I think we’ll be fine.”
The Metro Market, with 275 employees, was originally proposed as a Copps and was approved by the city in late 2012 following months of debate, petitions, contentious meetings and volleys of emails among those for and against the project. Many neighborhood residents protested the plan, saying it would create too much traffic, jeopardize safety, increase noise, litter and odors and decrease the value of nearby homes.
On Tuesday, the 312-stall parking lot was almost full, and the smell of smoked and grilled meats filled the air outside the store.
“It’s going to be very good for the community,” said Tomas Thomas, who lives in the neighborhood and toured the store. “This is very nice. I’m really excited.”
Roundy’s opened its first Metro Market store in 2004 in downtown Milwaukee and added stores in Brookfield in 2010 and Mequon in 2011. A fifth store will open in 2015 in the Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood. Roundy’s, which also owns Pick ’n Save, has 24 Mariano’s in the Chicago area, 11 of which are former Dominick’s stores.
“This will become a destination store,” said Tony Kuchinsky, the 30-year-old manager of the Madison Metro Market who has 15 years of grocery experience. “There’s no one else with these offerings.”
“This will become a destination store. There’s no one else with these offerings.” — TONY KUCHINSKY, manager of the Madison Metro Market