Shorewood Pick 'n Save closure boosts business at Sendik's

This architectural rendering shows the design of the two-story Metro Market grocery store building, which is expected to be completed in January.

This architectural rendering shows the design of the two-story Metro Market grocery store building, which is expected to be completed in January.

April 29, 2015

Shorewood —The Pick 'n Save grocery store at 4145 N. Oakland Ave. closed Friday, April 24, making way for a two-story Metro Market grocery store, a four-story parking garage and a six-story mixed-use building.

Because the Metro Market isn't expected to be completed until January, Roundy's loyalists will have to either travel 3 miles south to the Pick 'n Save at 1100 East Garfield Ave. or 4 miles north to the Glendale Pick 'n Save at 6969 N. Port Washington Road for the next eight months. For those without access to any other form of transportation, Roundy's is offering a free shuttle service on Saturday mornings and Thursday afternoons.

The Saturday shuttle picks up in front of the Shorewood Public Library at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and in front of the closed Shorewood Pick 'n Save at 10:05 a.m. and 10:35 a.m. This shuttle takes shoppers to the Garfield Avenue store, where it departs at 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.

The Thursday shuttle picks up in front of the Shorewood Public Library at 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and in front of the closed Shorewood Pick 'n Save at 2:05 p.m. and 2:35 p.m. This shuttle takes shoppers to the Glendale store, where it departs at 3:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.

Max Dickman, director of real estate development at Roundy's, said he decided to start a shuttle for customers who are unable to drive to one of the other stores. Six people used the shuttle service on Saturday.

"The Shorewood store is unique in that it's a neighborhood store. It's really integrated into the downtown," he said. "We want to continue to serve our customers who are elderly or can't drive."

Surge at Sendik's

The closure of Pick 'n Save has led to a sudden spike in business for Nehring's Sendiks on Oakland, just two blocks south. The smaller neighborhood grocery store has been struggling over the last six years due to a combination of construction projects and higher density buildings, which have diverted parking to multi-level ramps.

Store owner John Nehring said the business has suffered from construction on Oakland Avenue, then construction on Capitol Drive and then — more significantly — with the construction of the LightHorse 4041 development right next door, which replaced Sendik's surface parking lot with a large parking structure.

The congestion due to the construction of LightHorse 4041, along with the switch to covered parking, has caused a 30 percent drop in business that Sendik's never recovered from.

"We had a great business for many years, and all of a sudden it was ripped away from us," he said. "It had nothing to do with us, and there was nothing we could do. It was getting a little scary, to the point where I was wondering if I could stay in Shorewood."

The trouble at Sendik's seemed to disappear this weekend, as an additional 600 displaced Pick 'n Save customers made their way into Sendik's.

"This weekend felt like old times, before we had all the construction in Shorewood," Nehring said. "We saw a lot of people we haven't seen in a long time, and it made the employees feel good to be busy again."

Grocery wars

While it may seem daunting for a small mom-and-pop grocery store to have a two-story supermarket being built in its shadow, Nehring said he is remaining optimistic about 2016. He knows as well as anybody that once customers shift their shopping habits, it's hard to get them to change back.

"I think we can keep some of those customers," Nehring said. "Once you lose some of your customers, you don't necessarily get them back. That may happen to Pick 'n Save."

Nehring has given a lot of thought to the new Metro Market, and how it will affect his business practically next door. He believes some people were attracted to Pick 'n Save's surface parking lot, but now, the new Metro Market will have a parking structure similar to Sendik's. Nehring also believes some customers may be attracted to the more intimate feel of Sendik's, as opposed to a two-story supermarket.

"If you're on the second floor and you forget a can of peas on the first floor, that's a little inconvenient," he said. "It's going to be a whole different experience than Sendik's on Oakland."

At Pick 'n Save, Dickman said the store hopes customers will return to the Shorewood Metro Market after an eight-month hiatus.

"The last thing we want to do is close a store and send business elsewhere," Dickman said. "We hope we're going to retain a lot of business, but for people who choose to walk to Sendik's, we hope they give the Metro Market a shot once we open. It's going to be the one of the nicest grocery shopping experiences in the region."

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