KENOSHA — Mark and Matt Stinebrink, the franchise owners of four regional Piggly Wiggly supermarkets, are adding Kenosha’s northside store to their family of properties.
Piggly Wiggly Midwest, in its continuing move to convert its company-owned stores to franchise operators, will close its 2801 14th Place location, affecting 59 employees.
The Sheboygan-based company made the announcement to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, also announcing that it was making it available to a franchisee.
But the decision opened the door for the Stinebrinks to add to their supermarket properties. They currently operate four supermarkets, including two in Kenosha at 7600 Pershing Blvd. and 2215 80th St., as well as stores in Delavan and Lake Geneva.
Gary Suokko, Piggly Wiggly Midwest’s chief operating officer, said the transition will be seamless to customers. The company will close the store Aug. 24, and it will re-open on Aug. 25 under the Stinebrink banner.
Suokko said it will continue to offer the same merchandise, advertised specials and services that were offered in the past.
Mark Stinebrink said he will try to hire as many of the current workers as he can. However, all of the employees at the 14th Place location will have to re-apply for their jobs.
The employee list, as reported to the DWD, includes 17 cashiers, four bakery clerks, a bakery manager, nine deli clerks, a dairy manager, an assistant grocery manager, an apprentice meat cutter, a deli manager, nine grocery clerks, a journeyman meat cutter, a meat wrapper, a meat/seafood manager, an office clerk, four produce clerks, a produce manager, a scan coordinator and five utility clerks.
The DWD said the affected employees are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local No. 1473 located in Milwaukee.
The Stinebrinks launched their first store in the region in 1974.
With 100 supermarkets in Wisconsin, Piggly Wiggly Midwest has gradually begun converting itself from operating supermarkets to being the corporate franchiser that offers distribution, branding, advertising and other services to its franchisees.
“This has been an ongoing strategy to shift to a franchiser ownership,” Suokko said.
He said 90 percent of the Piggly Wiggly stores now are independently operated.
Piggly Wiggly in the Midwest has become a virtual chain, he said: “We develop the weekly ads, and the products are shipped from Sheboygan.”
The company still operates 10 stores in the state, but plans call for them to also be sold to franchisees.