Love it or hate it, Verona found out this year it will no longer be a one grocery store community.
The city gave approval in November for Festival Foods to build the city’s second full-service grocery store, on the east side, next to Farm and Fleet. It’s expected to open in 2019.
Owned by a fast-growing Onalaska-based, family-owned grocery chain, the store is expected to be about the same size as 115-year-old Miller and Sons Supermarket, which has spent most of that time without equal competition.
The 67,867-square-foot store will be the second in Dane County (among more than 28 statewide) and is expected to hire 250 or more employees.
While some residents complained to alders in casual conversations and emails about bringing competition for what they consider a beloved centerpiece of the community, the city’s government could not consider that as a factor and had its few debates over trees on the property, the look of the colorful facade and providing exemptions to the building and parking area. Those concerns led to two votes against the project.
The 28-acre Hometown Circle development it is part of has had a spot marked as a potential grocery stores since 2007, when Farm and Fleet’s parent company, Blain’s Supply, tried to get Miller’s to move there.