Saukville grocer to open Piggly Wiggly in Port

Fox Bros. will add former Sentry to its portfolio of stores when it opens northside grocery in late August

THE EXTERIOR OF the former Sentry store on Port Washington’s north side hasn’t changed yet, but it will look new inside and out when Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly opens a Piggly Wiggly store there in August. A new, tall sign visible from the freeway will be erected by then. Press file photo
Ozaukee Press Staff

The new grocery store in the NorthPort Shopping Center on Port Washington’s north side will be operated by Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly, which owns and operates the Piggly Wiggly in Saukville.

“We’re excited to be coming to Port
Washington,” said Pat Fox, president of Fox Bros. “We’re always looking for opportunities. We believe with enough support from the community, we can make it work.”

Fox said his company was approached by Piggly Wiggly Midwest about the opportunity and, after conducting market research, decided to move ahead with the Port market, which will become the eighth store owned by Fox Bros.    

The Port store will carry the same inventory as the Saukville store, Fox said, but it will have its own unique identity.

“We’re going to try to bring some elements of Port Washington into the store,” he said.

The store, which will be in the same space formerly occupied by Sanfillippo Sentry, will be completely renovated by the time the Piggly Wiggly opens in mid to late August, Fox said.

“It’s gutted,” Gary Suokko, chief operating officer of Piggly Wiggly Midwest, said of the grocery store space last week. “We want to put it back together.We’re prepared to give that store a whole new look.”

Fox said the store will feature ceramic flooring, an LED lighting system, new shelves and refrigeration units.

“It will be like a whole new store,” he said.

The Port store will also feature a new sign intended to direct people to the market from I-43. In addition to the grocery store, the sign will advertise other shops in the  shopping center.

The Port Washington Plan Commission last week approved the sign, which exceeds the city’s height and size limits. Only commission member Tony Matera voted against the sign, saying he feared the precedent it might set.

“Looking down the road, I don’t want this to become a truck-stop exit ... a mile full of big, tall signs,” Matera said. “I think this looks nice. I think the sign does appear to be too high. I don’t want it to look like the Dells.”

But John Streetz of Doyle Signs said the height is needed for visibility from the freeway.

“In my eyes, there’s no doubt this site needs this sign,” he said. “We need something that can be seen from I-43 in both directions.”

Ald. Mike Ehrlich, a member of the commission, said the new sign reflects a number of design changes since it was first proposed, and said that because of the unique location it is justified.

“I think it’s a huge improvement over the sign that’s out there,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said, adding that if the grocery store were to leave, the sign would have to come down.

Suokko said the sign is vital to draw people to the new market.

“We can’t let it fail,” he said, noting the new store reflects an investment of at least $3 million. “We have to pull out all the stops here. It’s taking every little detail to make this work.”

Port Mayor Marty Becker, chairman of the commission, said people want a grocery store in Port and aren’t concerned about the sign.

He noted that an elderly woman came up to him while he was at work recently and told him, “We need a grocery store there.”

“She didn’t care how big the sign was,” he said. “She shook her finger at me and told me we need a grocery store.”

Fox said this week that the sign is an important component.

“People need to see where you are,” he said. “Part of what makes us successful is knowing where we are and having the ability for people to easily find us.”

Like its Saukville counterpart, the Port store will carry Fox Bros. award-winning brats and lines of premium meats, Fox said, as well as an expanded deli and liquor department.

And, he noted, Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly is a 100% employee-owned company.

“When you shop at Piggly Wiggly in Port Washington, you truly will be shopping at a locally owned business,” Fox said.

The new grocery store is expected to employ 60 to 80 workers, he said, including some familiar faces from the Sentry store.

“We welcome back anybody,” Fox said.

In addition to the Port and Saukville stores, the other Piggly Wiggly markets operated by Fox Bros. are in Hartland, Oconomowoc, Slinger, Hubertus, Jackson and Hartford.

For Fox, the opening of a Port store is like a homecoming. From about 1976 to 1980, he was an assistant store manager at the Piggly Wiggly in what is today the Port Harbor Center on the lakefront.

“I spent my formative years in Port Washington,” he said. “This is kind of like coming home.”


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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