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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Specialty grocer The Fresh Market here is making its Wisconsin debut today in Brookfield, a town about 15 miles west of Milwaukee.
The 22,000-square-foot unit at the northwest corner of Brookfield Square mall is the third national specialty grocery chain to come to the Milwaukee area in the past year, according to local press reports. Last fall, Whole Foods built a store on Milwaukee's east side, while Trader Joe's set up shop in Glendale.
In Brookfield, Fresh Market will also encounter several independently owned gourmet grocers, according to local observers. Those stores include Grasch's, Sendik's, and Brennan's, all nearby in Brookfield.
Fresh Market's format is designed to be reminiscent of a European market. The retailer sells all its fresh meats at a full-service counter where customers can buy meats by the piece instead of pre-packed. Special selections include lamb and veal, aged Hereford beef (New York strip, $13.99 per pound), all-natural chicken, and specialty items such as pre-formed Portabella hamburgers at $2.99 each. It offers 400 different produce items, a large floral department, and a big deli that dominates the center of the store.
Classical music, soft lighting, and red tile flooring complete the experience.
Fresh Market, which is family-owned, operates 70 stores in 16 states, with more than 6,000 employees.
Many of its stores are in the Southeast in its home state of North Carolina, as well as Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, and Florida. In 2005 the chain made its first move into the Midwest, with stores in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.