SHERWOOD - The new $3.5 million Dick's Family Foods store opening at 10 a.m. Wednesday ends an eight-year drought in Sherwood. The village of nearly 2,800 people hasn't had a grocery store for the better part of a decade after the lone market, TJ's Foods, shut its doors.
Dick's in Sherwood will be the first-ever branch of Dick's Family Foods in Wrightstown, a family-owned business that traces its roots back to 1908.
But even though it has a ready-made customer base, the fourth-generation owners of the business, brothers Rick and John Vanden Wymelenberg, know customers will need to be wooed to change their shopping habits.
"We're going to be bringing our A game," said John. "We're not taking anything for granted. We're the only store in town, but you have to give them what they're looking for."
"You have to earn their trust," said Rick.
Some residents may not need much courting.
"It can't come fast enough," said resident Marilyn Nettekoven, who has been driving at least 15 minutes to Darboy or Kaukauna for grocery runs. "I can hardly wait."
Former village president David Miller and current president Jim Rath lobbied the family to come to Sherwood. Not only will it bring a needed service, it will employ between 50 and 60 people. "It immediately becomes the largest employer in Sherwood," said Miller.
"When TJ's closed its doors, they started knocking on ours," said Rick. "John and I got serious about this about two years ago. But without grant money, we couldn't be here." The store was granted a $400,000 construction payback from TIF money and a land transfer for $1.
One of the biggest surprises of the new 20,000-square-foot store is that it doesn't face State 114. It instead faces the other direction, toward the newly renovated Wanick Park. Another change is the store's unusual clockwise flow. When shoppers come in the front door, they go left instead of right. "It's oriented this way for future expansion on the right side of the property," said Rick.
At the store's ribbon cutting Wednesday morning, Rick and John will be joined by their father, Dick, and members of two younger generations being groomed for the business.
"Without family, the decision to open this store wouldn't have been possible," said John. "We're an independent retailer and are blessed to have family members interested in the store."
"This is an investment in our future and in our kids' future," said Rick.
The store is at W647 Knight Drive behind The Outpost and Legacy Communications. Phone: 920-507-0080