A year-and-a-half after a plan to bring a second full-service grocery store into the Verona city limits created a big stir here, it seems almost forgotten.
But it hasn’t gone away.
Festival Foods, the De De De Pere-based grocery chain with 31 stores across Wisconsin, got approval in November 2017 to build a 67,867-square-foot store on the east side of the city – that’s about the same size as 115-year-old Miller and Sons Supermarket, which has spent most of
that time without equal competition. Located next to Farm and Fleet, the Festival Foods would be the second location in Dane County for the family-owned corporation.
Early in 2018, it became clear the company was expanding too quickly, confirmed Curt Mauer of Commercial Horizons, which handles Festival development plans. As a result, the company put off its expansion here by a year.
Mauer said the exterior of the building will go through the city’s review this winter to fit a “new prototype that Festival is introducing,” but he expects it to get in the ground in the spring and open the fall of 2019, and the company still plans to hire about 250 employees.
In 2017, alders heard several complaints from residents about bringing competition for Miller’s. Eventually, concerns over trees on the property, the look of the colorful facade and exemptions to the building and parking area led to two votes against the project.
But 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.