Festival to buy up three Gordy’s Market locations

Festival to buy up three Gordy’s Market locations

Chris Vetter Leader-Telegram

Festival Foods officials are upbeat about the grocery store chain expanding its presence in the Chippewa Valley.

“We’ve always wanted to expand in the Eau Claire area,” spokesman Brian Stenzel said. “Just to acquire properties there is a win for us. We think it will be good for the Eau Claire community.”

Festival Foods announced Thursday that is reached an agreement to buy three of the Gordy’s Market locations, including two in Eau Claire — the stores at 2717 Birch St. and at 2615 N. Clairemont Ave. The other store Festival Foods is purchasing is in Tomah.

“We plan to close (the sale) in mid-September, and we will start implementing the Festival way of doing business as quick as possible,” he said.

Festival Foods, which began as Skogen’s IGA in 1946, had 28 stores across the state prior to Thursday’s announcement. The company opened it’s only store in Eau Claire in 2005.

“We’re always looking at different properties around the state,” Stenzel said. “It’s no secret Festival Foods continues to grow.”

Stenzel wouldn’t comment on why the company didn’t purchase any of the other 22 Gordy’s Market locations spread across northwest Wisconsin.

“The three we did buy lined up the best with our business model at this point,” he said.

Each Festival Foods store in the state has between 200 and 250 employees. It is unclear exactly how many of the workers at the three stores will be retained.

“We are always on the lookout for good people,” Stenzel said. “Any good employee is welcome at Festival Foods.”

Gordy’s Market had 26 stores, but officials announced Tuesday that the location in Hayward was closing at the end of the work day. With the sale of these three stores to Festival Foods, it leaves 22 stores in the chain. It is unclear if more stores will be closed or sold.

“Our plans for significant growth were just too aggressive,” Gordy’s CEO Jeff Schafer said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “It’s time to get back to our roots and operate a smaller organization with the highest level of service to our communities.”

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